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How well do you know classic MGM films of the 40s?

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1940

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During this year the studio released 49 feature films.

June had the most releases (6). Most months had three releases.

There were four series going on—Maisie, Andy Hardy, Dr. Kildare and Nick Carter.

Wallace Beery stuck to a proven formula—he only made western comedies this year, three of them.

These MGM contract players were in four or more films in 1940: Frank Morgan (5); Ann Rutherford (5); Spencer Tracy (4); Lew Ayres (4); Laraine Day (4); Billie Burke (4); John Carroll (4); and Virginia Weidler (4).

JANUARY

THE EARL OF CHICAGO with Robert Montgomery, Edward Arnold and Edmund Gwenn

THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER with James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan and Frank Morgan

CONGO MAISIE with Ann Sothern and John Carroll. The second of ten Maisie pictures.

FEBRUARY

I TAKE THIS WOMAN with Hedy Lamarr and Spencer Tracy

BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940 with Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell and George Murphy

THE MAN FROM DAKOTA with Wallace Beery and Dolores Del Rio

NORTHWEST PASSAGE with Spencer Tracy and Robert Young

MARCH

STRANGE CARGO with Joan Crawford and Clark Gable

THE GHOST COMES HOME with Frank Morgan, Billie Burke and Ann Rutherford

YOUNG TOM EDISON with Mickey Rooney, Fay Bainter and Virginia Weidler. Followed by THE EDISON MAN two months later with Spencer Tracy as the grown-up inventor.

APRIL

AND ONE WAS BEAUTIFUL with Robert Cummings and Laraine Day

DR. KILDARE’S STRANGE CASE with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore and Laraine Day. The fourth Kildare picture the studio made.

TWO GIRLS ON BROADWAY with Lana Turner, Joan Blondell and George Murphy

FORTY LITTLE MOTHERS with Eddie Cantor and Judith Anderson

MAY

20 MULE TEAM with Wallace Beery, Leo Carrillo and Anne Baxter

THE EDISON MAN with Spencer Tracy, Rita Johnson and Charles Coburn

WATERLOO BRIDGE with Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor. A remake of a Universal film.

JUNE

FLORIAN with Robert Young and Charles Coburn. Never airs on TCM.

SUSAN AND GOD with Joan Crawford, Fredric March, Ruth Hussey and John Carroll

PHANTOM RAIDERS with Walter Pidgeon, Donald Meek, Florence Rice and John Carroll. Second of three in the Nick Carter adventure series.

THE CAPTAIN IS A LADY with Charles Coburn, Billie Burke and Marjorie Main

THE MORTAL STORM with James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan and Frank Morgan

ANDY HARDY MEETS DEBUTANTE with Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Ann Rutherford and Judy Garland. The ninth Hardy picture.

JULY

SPORTING BLOOD with Robert Young, Maureen O’Sullivan and Lewis Stone

NEW MOON with Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy and Mary Boland. Film had two directors (Robert Z. Leonard and W.S. Van Dyke). Previously made by the studio in 1930 with Lawrence Tibbett and Grace Moore.

WE WHO ARE YOUNG with Lana Turner and John Shelton

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE with Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Mary Boland, Maureen O’Sullivan and Ann Rutherford

GOLD RUSH MAISIE with Ann Sothern, Lee Bowman and Virginia Weidler. The third Maisie entry.

AUGUST

I LOVE YOU AGAIN with William Powell and Myrna Loy

THE GOLDEN FLEECING with Lew Ayres and Rita Johnson

BOOM TOWN with Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert and Hedy Lamarr. Reunited Gable and Colbert who were both Oscar recipients for IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT six years earlier.

SEPTEMBER

DR. KILDARE GOES HOME with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore and Laraine Day. The fifth Kildare picture at MGM.

WYOMING with Wallace Beery, Leo Carrillo, Ann Rutherford and Marjorie Main. The first of seven Beery-Main pairings.

HAUNTED HONEYMOON with Robert Montgomery, Constance Cummings. Montgomery went to England to make it with an all-British cast; Cummings had already relocated there.

STRIKE UP THE BAND with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. One of the studio’s more profitable films in 1940.

SKY MURDER with Walter Pidgeon, Donald Meek and Kaaren Verne. The third and final Nick Carter adventure film made by MGM.

OCTOBER

DULCY with Ann Sothern, Ian Hunter, Billie Burke and Roland Young. Burke and Young were frequently cast together at a variety of studios.

THIRD FINGER, LEFT HAND with Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas and Lee Bowman

HULLABALOO with Frank Morgan, Billie Burke and Connie Gilchrist. Story spoofs Orson Welles’ famous ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast.

NOVEMBER

ESCAPE with Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, Conrad Veidt and Alla Nazimova. This was Nazimova’s first sound film and her comeback after a 15 year absence from the screen.

BITTER SWEET with Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, George Sanders and Ian Hunter

GALLANT SONS with Jackie Cooper, Bonita Granville and Ian Hunter

LITTLE NELLIE KELLY with Judy Garland, George Murphy and Charles Winninger

DR. KILDARE’S CRISIS with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore and Laraine Day. The sixth Kildare picture at Metro, and the third one released this year.

DECEMBER

GO WEST with the Marx Brothers, John Carroll and Diana Lewis. Lewis would soon marry William Powell and end her movie career.

COMRADE X with Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr

THE PHILADELPHIA STORY with Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, Roland Young and Virginia Weidler. Nominated for Best Picture. Remade by the studio as a musical in 1956. This was Hepburn’s first MGM film.

FLIGHT COMMAND with Robert Taylor, Ruth Hussey and Walter Pidgeon. The first war film MGM made after Europe had gone to war, a year before the U.S. entered the conflict. The film sought to glorify the U.S. military and was made with the cooperation of the U.S. Navy.

KEEPING COMPANY with Frank Morgan, Ann Rutherford, Virginia Weidler and Gloria DeHaven.

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Top Billed:  I believe you have just added the possibility of a TCM focus "Movies of a Year" category.  Wouldn't it be a joy to spend time watching these movies as a theme from each studio.  So along with the Star of the Month TCM would be able to spend a year focusing on a set of movies from an earlier year.  You have just programmed one year for them. 

Thanks so much for demonstrating another creative approach to the showing of classic films.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (I refuse to condescend to political correctness in this instance).  Emily

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There are times when I feel I've surely seen every MGM movie ever made from all my years of watching TCM, but looking at that list, there are only 12 films on there I'm absolutely sure I've seen, not even 25 per cent! I didn't include any Any Hardy or Dr. Kildare films in my "definitely" list, because they all kind of run together in my head. I have zero idea from the titles if they're ones I've seen before. So it may be a few more than 12, but still there's more MGM product that I haven't seen out there than I realized!

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I've seen 9 of these in full (Pride and Prejudice, The Philadelphia Story, Third Finger Left Hand, Edison the Man, Young Tom Edison, I Love You Again, Boom Town, The Shop Around the Corner, Broadway Melody of 1940), am partway through a 10th on TCM on demand (We Who Are Young), and saw much though not all of a 11th (Strange Cargo). Not too bad for someone born over 50 years after these 1940 films were released. MGM was a sensational studio, and I am very fond of their films.

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4 hours ago, Emily Dean said:

Top Billed:  I believe you have just added the possibility of a TCM focus "Movies of a Year" category.  Wouldn't it be a joy to spend time watching these movies as a theme from each studio.  So along with the Star of the Month TCM would be able to spend a year focusing on a set of movies from an earlier year.  You have just programmed one year for them. 

Thanks so much for demonstrating another creative approach to the showing of classic films.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (I refuse to condescend to political correctness in this instance).  Emily

What a great post...and Merry Christmas to you, too! 

My plan with this is to go through the 40s, and cover each year. It would certainly be interesting if TCM did a Movies of the Year focus and showed them all in order (since nearly all the MGM flicks of the 1940s are in the Turner Library). Maybe we'd get to see FLORIAN, the Robert Young picture that seems to be missing from the airwaves.

If someone asks why I picked the 40s, it's quite simple-- it happens to be my most favourite decade of the cinema. I love how the world at war changes the way pictures are made. Then it changes again post-war.

 

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On 12/19/2017 at 9:12 AM, sewhite2000 said:

There are times when I feel I've surely seen every MGM movie ever made from all my years of watching TCM, but looking at that list, there are only 12 films on there I'm absolutely sure I've seen, not even 25 per cent! I didn't include any Any Hardy or Dr. Kildare films in my "definitely" list, because they all kind of run together in my head. I have zero idea from the titles if they're ones I've seen before. So it may be a few more than 12, but still there's more MGM product that I haven't seen out there than I realized!

Well a few of them are remakes so you might have seen some of them in other versions. 

Some data--

MGM released 347 features between January 1, 1940 to December 31, 1949. 

The year 1942 had the greatest output. The year 1946 had the least output.

As previously stated, MGM had 49 releases in 1940. By my tally 489 features were released by the Hollywood studios in 1940 (including big budget indy productions released thru United Artists and a few Disney animated features released thru RKO).

Universal and Columbia released the most features in 1940 (56 each). This includes cheaply made B films.

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Don't forget the shorties, including Robert Benchley, MGM Miniatures, Carey Wilson Historical Mysteries, FitzPatrick Traveltalks, Pete Smith Specialties, Passing Parade, Crime Does Not Pay, Our Gang, 2-reel Specials and MGM Cartoons including Jasper (Tom) & The Mouse (Jerry) and Barney Bear for 1940 alone.

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46 minutes ago, Jlewis said:

Don't forget the shorties, including Robert Benchley, MGM Miniatures, Carey Wilson Historical Mysteries, FitzPatrick Traveltalks, Pete Smith Specialties, Passing Parade, Crime Does Not Pay, Our Gang, 2-reel Specials and MGM Cartoons including Jasper (Tom) & The Mouse (Jerry) and Barney Bear for 1940 alone.

Yes, I thought I'd focus on features and leave the shorties info to you, since you are the expert in that particular area. We are greatly indebted to you for all the painstaking research you've done in those threads down in the short films sub-forum!

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Regarding features versus shorts, many of us who grew up in the television era rarely saw the latter unless they featured a cartoon character (Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, Mickey Mouse), Our Gang or the Three Stooges. This has made our knowledge of Hollywood cinema history very deceptive.

As a Vox video suggested recently, many average Americans still confusingly think The Wizard Of Oz was the first color movie made for two reasons: 1.) it starts in sepiatone and 2.) it was among the few color films shown that way annually on TV from 1956 (starting on CBS even though NBC showed the most color programming in the fifties thanks to its ties with RCA) through that key year of 1966 when all three networks featured a full primetime line-up in "living color". Even the Baby Boomers get all confused with their childhood memories.

Of course, color features running over an hour date back pretty far in the decades, long before Dorothy, including quite a few shown on TV regularly such as Becky Sharp and the silent The Black Pirate. However the lack of shorts aired on TV over the years makes the overall picture even worse. All of the major studios including MGM were making both live action and animated color shorts throughout the thirties and forties in order to satisfy theater owners. Sometimes on an almost weekly basis. I think roughly half of all Warner Brothers short subjects in 1940 (live action Sports Parades, 2-reel Specials, Vitaphone Color Parade and animated Merry Melodies) were in color even though none of their features that year were. MGM mostly had the Traveltalks and cartoons that year to go with Northwest Passage since they had economized a bit compared to a bigger output in 1938-39. 20th Century Fox made fewer color shorts than MGM and Warner Brothers, but made up for it in features: five in the rainbow spectrum that year.

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I meant to point out that Connie Gilchrist made her first MGM film in 1940. It was HULLABALOO, released in October. From 1940 to 1950, she would appear in 46 pictures at Metro, not counting short films plus features on loan out to other studios during these years. Truly one of the studio's busiest, most in-demand character actresses. 

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MGM

 Screen shot 2017-12-18 at 3.03.35 PM.png

1941 

During this year the studio released 45 feature films.

August had the most releases (6).

There were several series going on—Maisie, Andy Hardy, Dr. Kildare, the Whistling series, the Thin Man, and Tarzan.

This was the year Jimmy Stewart voluntarily enlisted (before U.S. entry in the war) and the year Greta Garbo made her last picture.

These MGM contract players were in four or more films in 1941: Laraine Day (6); Marsha Hunt (5); Marjorie Main (5); Robert Sterling (5); Lionel Barrymore (4); Lana Turner (4); Mickey Rooney (4); Edward Arnold (4); Ian Hunter (4); Robert Young (4).

JANUARY

MAISIE WAS A LADY with Ann Sothern, Lew Ayres and Maureen O’Sullivan. The fourth Maisie production.

THE WILD MAN OF BORNEO with Frank Morgan, Billie Burke, Marjorie Main and Connie Gilchrist.

COME LIVE WITH ME with James Stewart, Hedy Lamarr and Ian Hunter.

FEBRUARY

BLONDE INSPIRATION with John Shelton, Virginia Grey and Albert Dekker. A non-musical directed by Busby Berkeley.

THE TRIAL OF MARY DUGAN with Laraine Day, Robert Young, Marsha Hunt and Marjorie Main. A remake of a story that the studio had filmed in 1929 with Norma Shearer. Neither version airs on TCM possibly because of rights issues. Marsha Hunt had just signed a contract with MGM and this was her first film for the studio; she would stay with the company for six years.

ANDY HARDY’S PRIVATE SECRETARY with Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Ian Hunter, Ann Rutherford and Kathryn Grayson. This was the tenth Hardy picture and Kathryn Grayson’s very first role at MGM.

FREE AND EASY with Robert Cummings, Ruth Hussey and Judith Anderson. Film had two directors. Cummings was borrowed from Universal.

MARCH

RAGE IN HEAVEN with Robert Montgomery, Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders. Bergman was borrowed from David Selznick. She reportedly feuded with the director W.S. Van Dyke who was known for his speed in making motion pictures. This is because she preferred more rehearsal time and felt multiple takes were often required to give a more successful screen performance. Bergman and Sanders would team up again for Roberto Rossellin’s JOURNEY TO ITALY in 1954.

THE PENALTY with Edward Arnold, Lionel Barrymore, Marsha Hunt, Robert Sterling and Gloria DeHaven.

THE BAD MAN with Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore, Laraine Day and Ronald Reagan. Story was previously filmed by Warners in 1930 with Walter Huston. This was one of only two MGM films that Ronald Reagan ever made; he was borrowed from Warners.

APRIL

BARNACLE BILL with Wallace Beery, Marjorie Main, Leo Carrillo, Virginia Weidler and Connie Gilchrist. Released just ten days after Beery’s previous MGM picture. Second Beery-Main pairing.

MEN OF BOYS TOWN with Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney and Bobs Watson. Sequel to 1938’s BOYS TOWN with most of the original cast reprising their earlier roles. One of the studio’s most financially successful films this year, though not quite as successful as the first one.

WASHINGTON MELODRAMA with Frank Morgan, Ann Rutherford and Lee Bowman.

ZIEGFELD GIRL with James Stewart, Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr, Lana Turner, Ian Huner and Jackie Cooper. A follow-up to 1936’s THE GREAT ZIEGFELD. Stewart’s last MGM film before voluntarily enlisting, which did not go over well with L.B. Mayer. Stewart’s next film would not occur until five years later—IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE in 1946. And he wouldn’t make his next picture for MGM until 1949.

MAY

THE PEOPLE VS. DR. KILDARE with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Laraine Day and Red Skelton. The seventh Kildare film at MGM. Skelton had a minor comic relief role in 1940’s FLIGHT COMMAND. He was signed to a long-term contract and would make 27 more films for Metro.

I’LL WAIT FOR YOU with Robert Sterling, Marsha Hunt and Virginia Weidler. A remake of 1934’s HIDE-OUT which starred Robert Montgomery, Maureen O’Sullivan and Mickey Rooney.

A WOMAN’S FACE with Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas, Conrad Veidt, Reginald Owen, Marjorie Main and Connie Gilchrist. A remake of a hit Swedish film that starred Ingrid Bergman. One of three pictures that paired Crawford and Douglas.

LOVE CRAZY with William Powell, Myrna Loy and Jack Carson. A very successful screwball comedy that made back four times its initial cost.

BILLY THE KID with Robert Taylor, Brian Donlevy, Ian Hunter and Gene Lockhart. The studio’s first Technicolor western. Previously filmed by MGM in 1930 with Johnny Mack Brown as Billy and Wallace Beery as Pat Garrett. This was MGM’s attempt to toughen up Taylor’s screen image.

JUNE

THE GET-AWAY with Robert Sterling, Donna Reed and Charles Winninger. A shot-for-shot remake (with the exact same running time) as the studio’s 1935 crime film PUBLIC HERO NO. 1 that had starred Chester Morris, Jean Arthur and Lionel Barrymore. Both pictures were based on the life of John Dillinger. This was Reed’s first Metro picture and she would remain under contract until 1947.

THE BIG STORE with the Marx Brothers, Tony Martin and Virginia Grey. The last of five films Groucho and his brothers made at MGM.

THEY MET IN BOMBAY with Clark Gable, Rosalind Russell, Peter Lorre and Reginald Owen.

JULY

BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST with Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon and Marsha Hunt. Nominated for Best Picture, it received an Oscar for art direction. The first of nine films in which Garson and Pidgeon costarred. It was also the first of five consecutive nominations that Garson received for Best Actress, a record that tied her with Bette Davis and still stands.

DOWN IN SAN DIEGO with Bonita Granville, Ray McDonald and Dan Dailey. Never airs on TCM.

AUGUST

RINGSIDE MAISIE with Ann Sothern, George Murphy and Robert Sterling. The fifth Maisie picture. Sothern and Sterling were married a short time later.

WHISTLING IN THE DARK with Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford and Conrad Veidt. The first of three Whistling films that paired Skelton and Rutherford.

DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE with Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner. Remake of Paramount’s 1932 version that had earned Fredric March an Oscar. Tracy and Turner would costar again in CASS TIMBERLANE. Tracy and March would eventually costar in INHERIT THE WIND.

LIFE BEGINS FOR ANDY HARDY with Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone and Judy Garland. This was Garland’s third and final Hardy outing and the eleventh overall in the series.

DR. KILDARE’S WEDDING DAY with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Laraine Day and Red Skelton. The eighth Kildare picture at Metro and Day’s last in this series (her character was killed off); though she and Ayres would work together again.

WHEN LADIES MEET with Joan Crawford, Robert Taylor, Greer Garson and Spring Byington. Previously made by MGM in 1933 with Myrna Loy, Robert Montgomery and Ann Harding.

SEPTEMBER

LADY BE GOOD with Eleanor Powell, Robert Young, Ann Sothern and Red Skelton. Though Powell receives top billing she is clearly playing a supporting role with a fraction of the screen time given to Sothern. Sothern and Young had made two earlier MGM pictures, including the original MAISIE film.

THE FEMININE TOUCH with Rosalind Russell, Don Ameche, Kay Francis and Van Heflin. A rare second lead for Francis who typically had starring roles. Ameche was borrowed from Fox.

OCTOBER

HONKYTONK with Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Frank Morgan and Marjorie Main. A western role for Turner. One of four pictures she made at the studio with Gable. It was a big moneymaker.

MARRIED BACHELOR with Robert Young, Ruth Hussey and Lee Bowman. Seldom airs on TCM.

THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER with Nelson Eddy, Rise Stevens and Nigel Bruce. One of Eddy’s few films without Jeanette MacDonald at the studio. Stevens’ movie debut.

SMILIN’ THROUGH with Jeanette MacDonald, Brian Aherne, Gene Raymond and Ian Hunter. A Technicolor remake of an earlier production that starred Norma Shearer. MacDonald and Raymond were married for many years until her death and this was the only picture they ever made together.

NOVEMBER

DESIGN FOR SCANDAL with Rosalind Russell, Walter Pidgeon, Edward Arnold and Lee Bowman. Russell’s last picture under contract to MGM. She moved over to Columbia where she had greater control over scripts.

SHADOW OF THE THIN MAN with William Powell, Myrna Loy, Donna Reed and Stella Adler. The fourth of six Thin Man movies. One of only three motion pictures in which famed acting coach Stella Adler appeared.

TWO-FACED WOMAN with Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Constance Bennett and Robert Sterling. Garbo’s last film. A risqué comedy directed by George Cukor that ran into censorship problems and had to be pulled from theaters and re-edited. It flopped and Garbo never made another picture. All Garbo’s Hollywood films were made at MGM from 1926 to 1941. She made 11 silent films and 15 sound films at Metro.

UNHOLY PARTNERS with Edward G. Robinson, Edward Arnold, Laraine Day and Marsha Hunt. Day’s first picture after leaving the Kildare franchise.

DECEMBER

TARZAN’S SECRET TREASURE with Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield and Reginald Owen. The fifth Tarzan picture at MGM. Released before Pearl Harbor was bombed.

JOHNNY EAGER with Robert Taylor, Edward Arnold, Lana Turner and Van Heflin. Arnold had appeared in the Fox film JOHNNY APOLLO a year earlier which had a similar story and starred Tyrone Power. Heflin earned a supporting Oscar and was quickly promoted by the studio to lead roles.

H.M. PULHAM, ESQ. with Robert Young, Hedy Lamarr, Ruth Hussey and Charles Coburn. Ava Gardner has an early uncredited role.

KATHLEEN with Shirley Temple, Herbert Marshall and Laraine Day. Temple’s first film after leaving Fox, and the only one she made at MGM. Story was originally intended as a vehicle for Virginia Weidler.

BABES ON BROADWAY with Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Fay Bainter and Virginia Weidler. Follows BABES IN ARMS and STRIKE UP THE BAND as one of the studio’s “backyard musicals."

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The ones from 1941 I've definitely seen: Men of Boys TownZiegfield GirlBilly the KidBlossoms in the DustThe Big StoreDr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeWhen Ladies MeetLady Be GoodTwo-Faced WomanJohnny Eager (which TCM always lists as a 1942 movie, and Van Heflin won his Oscar for 1942. I guess it never played in L.A. until 1942?) and H.M. Pullham, Esq. Once again, I've seen just under 25 per cent of TCM's output for the year. Some of the others I may have seen, but I just can't swear to it.

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12 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

The ones from 1941 I've definitely seen: Men of Boys TownZiegfield GirlBilly the KidBlossoms in the DustThe Big StoreDr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeWhen Ladies MeetLady Be GoodTwo-Faced WomanJohnny Eager (which TCM always lists as a 1942 movie, and Van Heflin won his Oscar for 1942. I guess it never played in L.A. until 1942?) and H.M. Pullham, Esq. Once again, I've seen just under 25 per cent of TCM's output for the year. Some of the others I may have seen, but I just can't swear to it.

BILLY THE KID was in heavy rotation on the Encore westerns channel for awhile. It's well-made. Robert Taylor would not appear in his next western at the studio until 1949.

Re: the release date of JOHNNY EAGER. I believe it premiered in L.A. during the second week of December 1941, probably to qualify it for the Oscars. But it did not go into wide release across the country until January. It's technically considered a '41 release.

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Barry Fitzgerald had a very funny supporting role in the Tarzan release of the year, cracking jokes when battling the rubber crocodiles. Usually we associate him with more prestigious fare, including two Best Pictures and the most famous John Ford epics. Yet I always had a soft spot for the Tarzans, particularly the MGMs, the 40s RKOs and, of course, Tarzan's Greatest Adventure with stoic Gordon Scott and funny villain-among-villains Sean Connery.

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Top Billed and the Films of the Forties:  I too am drawn to the films of the forties.  I believe as you do that the decade underwent such a significant transition for the American society and it is reflected in the movies made over that decade.  I guess as well, even though I was born in the middle of the decade and can remember little of it, the events in that period influenced my life most probably due to my parents' experiences.  Regardless I love the forties and wistfully think of myself either as Rosie the Riveter or in the trenches with the nurses of "So Proudly We Hail".  Thanks too TB for keeping the topics on the boards educational and sophisticated.  Emily

 

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1 hour ago, Emily Dean said:

Top Billed and the Films of the Forties:  I too am drawn to the films of the forties.  I believe as you do that the decade underwent such a significant transition for the American society and it is reflected in the movies made over that decade.  I guess as well, even though I was born in the middle of the decade and can remember little of it, the events in that period influenced my life most probably due to my parents' experiences.  Regardless I love the forties and wistfully think of myself either as Rosie the Riveter or in the trenches with the nurses of "So Proudly We Hail".  Thanks too TB for keeping the topics on the boards educational and sophisticated.  Emily

 

Thank you. So eloquently worded! I also love SO PROUDLY WE HAIL (if I do a thread on Paramount classics of the 1940s, I will certainly include it).

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I think I saw a greater number of films from MGM in 1941 than any other year in the 40s: 14, namely Andy Hardy's Private Secretary, Rage in Heaven, Ziegfeld Girl, A Woman's Face, Love Crazy, They Met in Bombay, Blossoms in the Dust, When Ladies Meet, Lady Be Good, The Feminine Touch, Design for Scandal, Shadow of the Thin Man, Two-Faced Woman, and Johnny Eager. I also know that I saw part of Dr. Jeckell and Mr. Hyde and think I saw part of Babes on Broadway.

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On ‎12‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 6:27 PM, TopBilled said:

1940

 Screen shot 2017-12-18 at 3.03.35 PM.png

During this year the studio released 49 feature films.

June had the most releases (6). Most months had three releases.

There were four series going on—Maisie, Andy Hardy, Dr. Kildare and Nick Carter.

Wallace Beery stuck to a proven formula—he only made western comedies this year, three of them.

These MGM contract players were in four or more films in 1940: Frank Morgan (5); Ann Rutherford (5); Spencer Tracy (4); Lew Ayres (4); Laraine Day (4); Billie Burke (4); John Carroll (4); and Virginia Weidler (4).

JANUARY

THE EARL OF CHICAGO with Robert Montgomery, Edward Arnold and Edmund Gwenn

THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER with James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan and Frank Morgan

CONGO MAISIE with Ann Sothern and John Carroll. The second of ten Maisie pictures.

FEBRUARY

I TAKE THIS WOMAN with Hedy Lamarr and Spencer Tracy

BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940 with Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell and George Murphy

THE MAN FROM DAKOTA with Wallace Beery and Dolores Del Rio

NORTHWEST PASSAGE with Spencer Tracy and Robert Young

MARCH

STRANGE CARGO with Joan Crawford and Clark Gable

THE GHOST COMES HOME with Frank Morgan, Billie Burke and Ann Rutherford

YOUNG TOM EDISON with Mickey Rooney, Fay Bainter and Virginia Weidler. Followed by THE EDISON MAN two months later with Spencer Tracy as the grown-up inventor.

APRIL

AND ONE WAS BEAUTIFUL with Robert Cummings and Laraine Day

DR. KILDARE’S STRANGE CASE with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore and Laraine Day. The fourth Kildare picture the studio made.

TWO GIRLS ON BROADWAY with Lana Turner, Joan Blondell and George Murphy

FORTY LITTLE MOTHERS with Eddie Cantor and Judith Anderson

MAY

20 MULE TEAM with Wallace Beery, Leo Carrillo and Anne Baxter

THE EDISON MAN with Spencer Tracy, Rita Johnson and Charles Coburn

WATERLOO BRIDGE with Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor. A remake of a Universal film.

JUNE

FLORIAN with Robert Young and Charles Coburn. Never airs on TCM.

SUSAN AND GOD with Joan Crawford, Fredric March, Ruth Hussey and John Carroll

PHANTOM RAIDERS with Walter Pidgeon, Donald Meek, Florence Rice and John Carroll. Second of three in the Nick Carter adventure series.

THE CAPTAIN IS A LADY with Charles Coburn, Billie Burke and Marjorie Main

THE MORTAL STORM with James Stewart, Margaret Sullavan and Frank Morgan

ANDY HARDY MEETS DEBUTANTE with Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Ann Rutherford and Judy Garland. The ninth Hardy picture.

JULY

SPORTING BLOOD with Robert Young, Maureen O’Sullivan and Lewis Stone

NEW MOON with Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy and Mary Boland. Film had two directors (Robert Z. Leonard and W.S. Van Dyke). Previously made by the studio in 1930 with Lawrence Tibbett and Grace Moore.

WE WHO ARE YOUNG with Lana Turner and John Shelton

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE with Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Mary Boland, Maureen O’Sullivan and Ann Rutherford

GOLD RUSH MAISIE with Ann Sothern, Lee Bowman and Virginia Weidler. The third Maisie entry.

AUGUST

I LOVE YOU AGAIN with William Powell and Myrna Loy

THE GOLDEN FLEECING with Lew Ayres and Rita Johnson

BOOM TOWN with Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert and Hedy Lamarr. Reunited Gable and Colbert who were both Oscar recipients for IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT six years earlier.

SEPTEMBER

DR. KILDARE GOES HOME with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore and Laraine Day. The fifth Kildare picture at MGM.

WYOMING with Wallace Beery, Leo Carrillo, Ann Rutherford and Marjorie Main. The first of seven Beery-Main pairings.

HAUNTED HONEYMOON with Robert Montgomery, Constance Cummings. Montgomery went to England to make it with an all-British cast; Cummings had already relocated there.

STRIKE UP THE BAND with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. One of the studio’s more profitable films in 1940.

SKY MURDER with Walter Pidgeon, Donald Meek and Kaaren Verne. The third and final Nick Carter adventure film made by MGM.

OCTOBER

DULCY with Ann Sothern, Ian Hunter, Billie Burke and Roland Young. Burke and Young were frequently cast together at a variety of studios.

THIRD FINGER, LEFT HAND with Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas and Lee Bowman

HULLABALOO with Frank Morgan, Billie Burke and Connie Gilchrist. Story spoofs Orson Welles’ famous ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast.

NOVEMBER

ESCAPE with Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, Conrad Veidt and Alla Nazimova. This was Nazimova’s first sound film and her comeback after a 15 year absence from the screen.

BITTER SWEET with Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, George Sanders and Ian Hunter

GALLANT SONS with Jackie Cooper, Bonita Granville and Ian Hunter

LITTLE NELLIE KELLY with Judy Garland, George Murphy and Charles Winninger

DR. KILDARE’S CRISIS with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore and Laraine Day. The sixth Kildare picture at Metro, and the third one released this year.

DECEMBER

GO WEST with the Marx Brothers, John Carroll and Diana Lewis. Lewis would soon marry William Powell and end her movie career.

COMRADE X with Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr

THE PHILADELPHIA STORY with Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, Roland Young and Virginia Weidler. Nominated for Best Picture. Remade by the studio as a musical in 1956. This was Hepburn’s first MGM film.

FLIGHT COMMAND with Robert Taylor, Ruth Hussey and Walter Pidgeon. The first war film MGM made after Europe had gone to war, a year before the U.S. entered the conflict. The film sought to glorify the U.S. military and was made with the cooperation of the U.S. Navy.

KEEPING COMPANY with Frank Morgan, Ann Rutherford, Virginia Weidler and Gloria DeHaven.

& the had ten BP nominees for 11 years (1932-33 until 1944)

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10 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

For each year,  1940 and 1941, I have seen 17 of the MGM films listed. 

I've seen 11 of the 1940 titles, and 7 of the 1941 titles. I'm a slacker. :(

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MGM

 Screen shot 2017-12-18 at 3.03.35 PM.png

1942 

The studio released 52 feature films, the most of any year this decade. A fair number of them were B films.

December had the most releases (9).

There were several series— Maisie, Andy Hardy, Dr. Kildare/Dr. Gillespie, the Whistling series and Tarzan.

This was the year Lew Ayres had his contract terminated when he declared himself a conscientious objector. Norma Shearer made her last two motion pictures. Keenan Wynn made his first one. Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn teamed up. And the studio dabbled in B westerns.

These MGM contract players were in four or more films in 1942: Donna Reed (6); Marsha Hunt (5); Marjorie Main (5); Connie Gilchrist (5); Reginald Owen (5); Lee Bowman (4); Rags Ragland (4); Ann Ayars (4); Guy Kibbee (4); Red Skelton (4); Ann Rutherford (4).

JANUARY

JOE SMITH, AMERICAN with Robert Young, Marsha Hunt and Darryl Hickman. The studio’s first war propaganda film released after Pearl Harbor, but it had actually been filmed in October and November, before the attack took place. 

WOMAN OF THE YEAR with Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Fay Bainter and Reginald Owen. The first Tracy-Hepburn collaboration. Director George Stevens had worked with Hepburn two previous times at RKO when they made ALICE ADAMS and QUALITY STREET.

NAZI AGENT with Conrad Veidt and Ann Ayars. Another war propaganda film that was started before the attack on Pearl Harbor but finished a week afterward.

THE VANISHING VIRGINIAN with Frank Morgan, Kathryn Grayson and Spring Byington. Grayson’s first lead role at the studio.

MR. AND MRS. NORTH with Grace Allen, William Post Jr. and Paul Kelly. One of two films that Allen headlined without husband George Burns. The concept was retooled for a weekly television series a decade later with Richard Denning and Pamela Britton.

A YANK ON THE BURMA ROAD with Laraine Day, Barry Nelson and Keye Luke. Seldom airs on TCM.

THE BUGLE SOUNDS with Wallace Beery, Marjorie Main, Lewis Stone and Donna Reed. The third Beery-Main pairing.

FEBRUARY

DR. KILDARE’S VICTORY with Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Ann Ayars and Robert Sterling. The ninth and final Kildare film at MGM, though Barrymore’s character would be spun off for more installments.

THE COURTSHIP OF ANDY HARDY with Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Ann Rutherford and Donna Reed. The twelfth Hardy picture and one of the most successful, making eight times its initial cost.

BORN TO SING with Virginia Weidler, Ray McDonald and Rags Ragland. This teen morale booster was intended for Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Rooney’s father Joe Yule has a small role. It seldom airs on TCM.

MARCH

THIS TIME FOR KEEPS with Ann Rutherford, Robert Sterling, Guy Kibbee and Virginia Weidler. Title was reused for an unrelated Esther Williams movie in 1947.

APRIL

KID GLOVE KILLER with Van Heflin, Marsha Hunt and Lee Bowman. This B crime flick was Fred Zinnemann’s first feature as director.

FINGERS AT THE WINDOW with Lew Ayres, Laraine Day and Basil Rathbone. This was Lew Ayres’ last film at Metro. His contract was terminated when he voiced opposition to the war effort and was interned as a conscientious objector. He would not make another film until 1946, when he costarred with Olivia de Havilland in Universal’s psychological thriller THE DARK MIRROR.

WE WERE DANCING with Norma Shearer, Melvyn Douglas, Lee Bowman and Marjorie Main. Based on a Noel Coward play. Shearer’s penultimate film.

RIO RITA with Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Kathryn Grayson and John Carroll. A remake of RKO’s 1929 hit musical that starred Bebe Daniels, John Boles and the comedy duo Wheeler & Woolsey. This was a big hit for MGM, and it was the first of three that Abbott & Costello made on loan out from Universal.

MOKEY with Donna Reed, Dan Dailey and Bobby (Robert) Blake. Seldom airs on TCM.

MAY

SUNDAY PUNCH with William Lundigan, Dan Dailey, Guy Kibbee and Connie Gilchrist.

TORTILLA FLAT with Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, John Garfield, Frank Morgan and Connie Gilchrist. Based on the John Steinbeck novel. Garfield was borrowed from Warners. Morgan was nominated as Best Supporting Actor.

PACIFIC RENDEZVOUS with Lee Bowman and Jean Rogers.

GRAND CENTRAL MURDER with Van Heflin, Virginia Grey and Connie Gilchrist. A pseudo-sequel to KID GLOVE KILLER. Stephen McNally, billed as Horace McNally, had a supporting role; it was his movie debut.

TARZAN’S NEW YORK ADVENTURE with Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan and Johnny Sheffield. MGM’s sixth and final Tarzan picture with Weissmuller and O’Sullivan. The franchise moved over to RKO with Weissmuller. O’Sullivan would not make another film until 1948’s THE BIG CLOCK.

SHIP AHOY with Eleanor Powell, Red Skelton and Bert Lahr.

JUNE

MRS. MINIVER with Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright and May Whitty. Six Oscars including Best Picture; Best Director William Wyler; Best Actress Greer Garson; and Best Supporting Actress Teresa Wright. Garson and Richard Ney, who played her son in the film, were married a short time later. A sequel called THE MINIVER STORY was produced in 1950 but without Ney and no mention of his character, since he and Garson had been divorced by that time.

THE AFFAIRS OF MARTHA with Marsha Hunt, Richard Calrson, Virginia Weidler, Marjorie Main and Spring Byington. Main and Byington were reported as having had a long-term relationship. They also costarred in HEAVEN CAN WAIT and in two episodes of December Bride.

APACHE TRAIL with Lloyd Nolan, Donna Reed, William Lundigan, Ann Ayars and Connie Gilchrist. Reed’s first western role.

MAISIE GETS HER MAN with Ann Sothern, Red Skelton and Rags Ragland. Number six in the series.

JULY

JACKASS MAIL with Wallace Beery, Marjorie Main and Darryl Hickman. The fourth Beery-Main collaboration.

I MARRIED AN ANGEL with Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Binnie Barnes, Edward Everett Horton and Reginald Owen. The final MacDonald-Eddy screen pairing. Eddy's last movie at the studio.

CALLING DR. GILLESPIE with Lionel Barrymore, Philip Dorn and Donna Reed. Intended to star Lew Ayres as Dr. Kildare but when his contract was terminated, it became a starring vehicle for Barrymore who was joined by Dorn as Ayres’ temporary replacement. Barrymore would continue the revamped series until 1947.

HER CARDBOARD LOVER with Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor and George Sanders. Shearer’s final film. Shearer had starred in MGM’s very first production HE WHO GETS SLAPPED in 1924 and later married studio producer Irving Thalberg. Her brother Douglas Shearer, a pioneering sound designer, remained at the studio until 1968.

CROSSROADS with William Powell, Hedy Lamarr, Claire Trevor and Basil Rathbone. Early noir was very successful at the box office.

PIERRE OF THE PLAINS with John Carroll, Ruth Hussey and Bruce Cabot. The first in a series of B westerns that Metro made this year. Story had been made into a silent film in 1914.

AUGUST

THE WAR AGAINST MRS. HADLEY with Fay Bainter, Edward Arnold, Van Johnson, Spring Byington, Rags Ragland and Connie Gilchrist. Story was conceived and rushed into production after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was a hit and its premiere raised just as much in war bonds as the movie did in overall ticket sales. Bainter and Arnold reprised their roles for a special radio broadcast on the one year anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Van Johnson had his breakthrough role in this picture and became one of Metro’s most important and biggest new stars of the 1940s.

CAIRO with Jeanette MacDonald, Robert Young, Ethel Waters and Reginald Owen. A wartime musical comedy that seldom airs on TCM. It would be MacDonald’s last film at Metro until 1948.

SOMEWHERE I’LL FIND YOU with Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Robert Sterling and Reginald Owen. Keenan Wynn made his movie debut in a minor role. This was Gable’s last film before he went into the military. His next feature at the studio would not hit screens until the end of 1945.

SEPTEMBER

TISH with Marjorie Main, ZaSu Pitts, Aline MacMahon, Guy Kibbee, Lee Bowman, Susan Peters and Richard Quine. Peters and Quine costarred again and were married a short time later.

THE OMAHA TRAIL with James Craig, Dean Jagger and Harry Morgan. Another Metro B western. One of Morgan’s very first films.

A YANK AT ETON with Mickey Rooney, Edmund Gwenn, Ian Hunter and Freddie Bartholomew.

OCTOBER

PANAMA HATTIE with Ann Sothern, Red Skelton, Lena Horne and Marsha Hunt. Some musical numbers were staged by Vincente Minnelli who had yet to direct his first feature at the studio.

EYES IN THE NIGHT with Edward Arnold, Ann Harding and Donna Reed. This was Harding’s first film in five years. Arnold reprised the lead role of a blind detective in a follow-up film a short time later.

FOR ME AND MY GAL with Judy Garland, George Murphy, Gene Kelly and Keenan Wynn. Kelly’s movie debut, and the first of three he did with Garland.

NOVEMBER

DR. GILLESPIE’S NEW ASSISTANT with Lionel Barrymore, Van Johnson, Susan Peters, Richard Quine and Keye Luke. The second movie with Gillespie as the lead.

SEVEN SWEETHEARTS with Kathryn Grayson, Marsha Hunt, Van Heflin and Frances Rafferty. Grayson’s real-life sister plays one of her sisters in the movie. This production has the distinction of earning more money overseas than it did in North America, which usually didn’t happen in those days. It was producer Joe Pasternak’s first film at Metro, after leaving Universal.

DECEMBER

NORTHWEST RANGERS with James Craig, William Lundigan, John Carradine, Keenan Wynn and Jack Holt. Another one of the studio’s quick B westerns.

WHITE CARGO with Hedy Lamarr, Walter Pidgeon, Frank Morgan and Richard Carlson. Film ran into censorship problems.

JOURNEY FOR MARGARET with Robert Young, Laraine Day, Fay Bainter and Margaret O’Brien. This was O’Brien’s first starring role and it was prolific studio director W.S. Van Dyke’s last film.

RANDOM HARVEST with Ronald Colman, Greer Garson and Susan Peters. Best picture nominee.

KEEPER OF THE FLAME with Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Darryl Hickman. The second Tracy-Hepburn picture. The subject matter was intensely political in nature, and the script went through several changes. But it was a hit.

REUNION IN FRANCE with Joan Crawford, John Wayne, Philip Dorn, Ann Ayars, John Carradine and Reginald Owen. Wayne was borrowed from Republic. Interestingly, Wayne and Crawford had done another picture together-- both had uncredited parts in the 1926 silent film BARDELYS THE MAGNIFICENT.

WHISTLING IN DIXIE with Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, Guy Kibbee and Rags Ragland. The second entry in the Whistling series.

ANDY HARDY’S DOUBLE LIFE with Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Ann Rutherford, Susan Peters and Esther Williams. Number 13 in the series. Rutherford’s last Hardy picture ; and Williams’ first role at MGM.

STAND BY FOR ACTION with Robert Taylor, Charles Laughton, Brian Donlevy and Walter Brennan. Taylor and Donlevy had costarred in BILLY THE KID. Taylor would work with Laughton again in 1949’s THE BRIBE.

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I've seen 10 of the 1942 titles. I have seen 82 movies total from 1942, so I've just seen more from other studios.

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9 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I've seen 10 of the 1942 titles. I have seen 82 movies total from 1942, so I've just seen more from other studios.

To my knowledge, none of the '42 releases have rights issues, and all of them have aired on TCM. Even the lesser played titles like MOKEY and PIERRE OF THE PLAINS do turn up on the channel. The Grace Allen picture is probably the most unique one-- featuring her with a husband not played by George Burns, it seems strange.

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No Technicolor feature releases (but plenty of shorts) for 1942. However, SALUTE TO THE MARINES, LASSIE COME HOME and DU BARRY WAS A LADY were pretty much all filmed in this calendar year for next year's release, while THOUSANDS CHEER started production in November.

It was also roughly around this time that many films from all the studios, especially the color ones, started having longer "shelf lives". In the 1920s up through 1941/42, many films were previewed fresh out of the editing rooms. An increasing number of popular features of this decade took longer to hit the big screen (much like today's films) due to wartime shortages in film stock (a.k.a. training films), a gradual cut down in production that also meant a need to be pickier of best scheduling and, of course, subject matter factored too. A musical set in a nostalgic time period with period costumes could easily have its release postponed since it would do reasonably well as "escapism" at any time, but a film covering at a major war or home-front event would need pushed faster before it became "old news".

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1 hour ago, Jlewis said:

No Technicolor feature releases (but plenty of shorts) for 1942. However, SALUTE TO THE MARINES, LASSIE COME HOME and DU BARRY WAS A LADY were pretty much all filmed in this calendar year for next year's release, while THOUSANDS CHEER started production in November.

It was also roughly around this time that many films from all the studios, especially the color ones, started having longer "shelf lives". In the 1920s up through 1941/42, many films were previewed fresh out of the editing rooms. An increasing number of popular features of this decade took longer to hit the big screen (much like today's films) due to wartime shortages in film stock (a.k.a. training films), a gradual cut down in production that also meant a need to be pickier of best scheduling and, of course, subject matter factored too. A musical set in a nostalgic time period with period costumes could easily have its release postponed since it would do reasonably well as "escapism" at any time, but a film covering at a major war or home-front event would need pushed faster before it became "old news".

Thanks for this informative post, Jlewis. Glad someone's keeping an eye on MGM's Technicolor releases, since I'd been overlooking some of that.

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