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xxmass

1939

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Hi all, 1939 what a year for films. My friends have always said that I was born to late, being born in 1950. I agreed of course and never forgave my parents. I think my love affair for film began the first day my parents bought our first tv set, even though it was a 12 inch screen. I used to sit and watch the million dollar movie on channel 9 in New york. The million dollar movie would show the same film over and over each day for a week. Films like Babes In Arms, Mr Smith Goes To Washington, and Love Affair just to name a few. Later on I was able to see The Wizard Of Oz, and of course the grand daddy of them all Gone With The Wind. Do you agree, disagree? Please let me know what you all think. I'll be looking for all post replys. As always, Larry / Xxmass

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Yes, 1939 was the golden year for Hollywood (and the year my late mother and my mother-in-law was born). There's even a book out on the subject (the films, that is) and a documentary about it on the Dark Victory DVD. In addition, there's Stagecoach, The Roaring Twenties, Goodbye Mr Chips, Destry Rides Again, Only Angels Have Wings, Drums Along the Mohawk, Ninotchka, Bachelor Mother, Made for Each Other, Dodge City, The Women, Gunga Din, Intermezzo...scores of great films, even On Borrowed Time, one of my favourite Lionel Barrymore pictures.

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That reference to the Million Dollar Movie really brings back happy memories. I, too, was introduced to great movies as a little kid lying on the floor of the den, glued to the television every night, watching the same movie over and over. I grew up in L.A. and this is the first time I realized the rest of the country was seeing the same broadcast. I wonder how many of us on this board may have had the same experience?

Here's another question for anyone else who grew up in L.A. in the 60s. Do you recall those afternoon movies hosted by a man (don't recall the name) who would introduce the film? I really enjoyed those guilty pleasures on days I would feign illness to stay home. I think they were on channel 9 or 11 back then. Anybody know what I'm talking about?

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I remember Million Dollar Movies on WWOR channel 9 in New York. I Think the guy that introduced the movies was Claude Kirchner (1916-1993) the ringmaster of Terry toon circus,along with "Clowny" his puppet who always called "Claude" skinny bones. Claude was a ventriloquist(not a good one) who provided the voice for "Clowny"

ps: Million Dollar Movie started with "Taras Song" from "Gone With The Wind"

 

vallo

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It wasn't in the 60s, but I remember in 70s and maybe 80s seeing an afternoon movie show on (I think) KTLA. It was hosted by Tom Hatten (sp?). Maybe he was hosting that show back in the 60s as well.

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I also recal watching "Million Dollar Movie" on WOR channel 9 growing up in Brooklyn.

Introduced by "Tara's Theme" the station would show the same movie twice a day for a week. I recall watching the movie "Caged" all week when it was shown. Also watched "King Kong" when it premiered on "Million Dollar Movie" and the ratings were so good that the caption in the Daily News read Kong Still King.

Those were the days.

 

Mongo

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Mongo,it's funny that you brought up "Caged" This is the ONE movie that should of been released on either format along time ago,AND WE'RE still WAITING...best women in prison flick-ever.

vallo

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Hi Dot, Yes 1954 was another outstanding year for movies. Example On The Waterfront, A Star Is Born, The Cain Mutiny and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers ect. But it's hard for me to compare 1939 over 1954. Now please note this is my own opinion, others may disagree. But too compare Gone with The Wind, The Wizard Of Oz, and Goodbye Mr Chips to the films of 1954, to me is apples, and Oranges. Again my opinion only. As always, Larry / Xxmass

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Yes i remember wwor channel 9 "The Million Dollar Movie"

growing up in the bronx the fordham road area & Washington Heights area i viewed such movies as:

"Royal Wedding" "King Kong" and a movie i can't remember

the title of it starred Victor Mature, Bing Crosby's

wife Kathryn and the wondeful actor Gilbert Roland

walking across Niagara falls! It also starred David Nelson i loved this movie! The whole week it was on

i watched over & over again as a child this film had

such an effect on me Victor mature was a circus owner

and what child doesn't like the circus. If anyone knows

the movie i am talking about please tell me i would love this movie on vhs just for the sentiment it brings to me.

thanks in advance lolite.

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Yes, absolutely the BEST year ever - did they make a 'bad' film that year? lol I just skimmed over this thread but I think y'all missed Of Mice and Men - another wonderful film. So add that to all the beauties that have already been discussed. What a year!!! :-)

 

Katy

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Hi Scarr1ettt, You are so right, Of Mice And Men was one I did'nt list. There were so many great films that it's hard to list them all. I also left out The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, and one of the greatest love stories of them all Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights was'nt just a great film, a great book also. What a tearjerker, and great acting. I know i'm leaving out others, but these were on the top of my own list lol. Oh one other point the greatest was Gone With The Wind. 1939 what a Movie year. As always, Larry/ Xxmass.

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Hi Loliteblue, I believe the film you were asking about with Victor Mature, and Gilbert Roland was called The Big Circus. The Million Dollar Movie showed this gem, and Mighty Joe Young many times years ago. As always, Larry /Xxmass

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I work in Los Angeles with a bunch of young actor wanna-be's who are often very ignorant of film history. When TCM spotlighted 1939 for an entire month last summer - or was it two summers ago? - I was very excited as I had been trying to collect the 22 films that I consider the best of that year. When I would bring up 1939 with my co-workers as the greatest year in Hollywood history, I was often met with blank stares. Then I would start to rattle off the list of films debuting that year. I usually broke it down to a three-tiered list. The first five that I think are the greatest -

 

Gone With The Wind

The Wizard Of Oz

Mr Smith Goes To Washington

Stagecoach

Wuthering Heights

 

Each of these films has achieved iconic status and are such cultural and social touchstones that it is imperative to be aware of them only because someone will often reference them in a non-film context.

 

The second tier of the list would include -

 

Dark Victory

Gunga Din

Goodbye, Mr Chips

Love Affair

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

All as perfect as any film could ever expect to be.

 

And then there is what makes 1939 so special - 'the depth of the bench', as they say in sports. The rest of the players that year that are just as good but just never as well regarded to the public at large sixty years later. I always include -

 

Destry Rides Again

Babes In Arms

Of Mice And Men

Beau Geste

Only Angels Have Wings

Ninotchka

Drums Along The Mohawk

The Women

Golden Boy

The Roaring Twenties

Young Mr Lincoln

Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

 

I have read that some scholars/critics/fans have also tried to make the case that 1942 was just as great a year as 1939 what with Casablanca, Now, Voyager, Yankee Doodle Dandy, To Be Or Not To Be, and - through some sort of bending of the rules - Citizen Kane (citing it was released in only New York (or LA) in late 1941 and to the rest of the country in early 1942).

In the recent past, someone wrote that 1962 was a landmark year in film that should also be thought of as the greatest in film history what with Lawrence Of Arabia, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Manchurian Candidate, among others but this list was international in scope and included many foreign films that influenced many filmmakers that followed.

 

But for my money, Hollywood was never better than in 1939. What I have always wondered is whether it would have been so great if the Production Code/Breen Office hadn't been imposed a few years earlier? Some people bemoan the impediments imposed by the "moral authorities" but I look at 1939 and see that greatness flourished. Was this because of - or in spite of - the Hollywood Production Code?

 

I happen to believe it was the former. And I am no prude.

 

Kyle in Hollywood

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