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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook : 1938


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20th Century Fox slimmed down their number of films a bit in 1938, but not by much, only dropping about 3 or 4 films. They still made 55 films in calendar year 1938, and that included one film up for Best Picture and another that won the Supporting Actress trophy. Not to mention that Shirley temple was still the biggest box office draw in America. So on we go with 1938.

Tarzan's Revenge was a bit odd for the time. It was a B movie adventure with Glenn Morris swinging through the vines, but what with Johnny Weismuller still playing the part at MGM it just seems like odd timing.

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City Girl was a crime drama with Ricardo Cortez and Phyllis Brooks

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Change of Heart put Gloria Stuart and Michael Whalen through the paces in a romantic comedy.

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Hawaiian Buckaroo was actually a western starring Smith Ballew

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Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo was the end of the line for Warner Oland. He passed away mere months after its release. The series would resume after his death.

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Happy Landing put Sonia Henie back on the ice, let Ethel Mermen take care of the belting, and also employed Caesar Romero and Don Ameche as well.

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International Settlement was one of those sweeping adventure romances with a gun runner (George Sanders) and a singer (Dolores Del Rio) falling into each other's arms.

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Shirley was still away, but Jane Withers was here to play away in the drama Checkers. Stuart Erwin and Una Merkel were around as well.

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Annabella finally made it to the US and got to co-star with William Powell in the comedy The Baroness and the Butler.

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Since Sally was Alice Faye, she ended up taking over much of the limelight in the musical Sally, Irene, and Mary. Jimmy Durante and Tony Martin were in it, just not as Irene and Mary. Gypsy Rose Lee also tagged along.

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Love on a Budget with the Jones family, who obviously spent all their money collecting nitrate stock for their very frequent films.....

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Walking Down Broadway found Claire Trevor as the most prominently featured of five showgirls.

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Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm was Shirley's first appearance of the year. Also with Randolph Scott, Gloria Stuart, Jack Hailey, William Demerest, and Bill Robinson, it remains to this day one of her most recognized titles.

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Mr Moto's Gamble was originally Charlie Chan's. Warner Oland's failing health caused this to be revamped as a film for the other series with Peter Lorre.

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Island in the Sky again found Gloria Stuart with Michael Whalen, this time with her hunting to clear his name from a crime.

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Rawhide was a Western starring Lou Gehrig, yes that Lou Gehrig.

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Victor McLaglen, Brian Donlevy, Gypsy Rose Lee (acting under her real name), and Jane Darwell were among those waging the comic Battle of Broadway.

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Four Men and a Prayer might have had George Sanders and David Niven among the men, but leading lady Loretta Young received top billing on the adventure film.

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The Jones Family, it seems, was also on a budget because they wanted to save up for A Trip to Paris. Look, guys, by this time, you probably have enough to buy a new luxury Duesenburg. Unfortunately, they forgot to pack a camera to record their trip, because I'm finding no photos for this film whatsoever. :/

 

The Ritz Brothers made what is to be considered their quintessential comedy in Kentucky Moonshine.

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Jane Withers developed amnesia in Rascals, a comedy, and was taken in by Gypsies and thieves. No tramps though. (Sorry, Cher)

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Kidnapped put Freddie Bartholomew in the center of the Robert Lewis Stevenson classic. Warner Baxter was also involved.

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Don Ameche and Robert Young were both in love with Simone Simon in the comedy Josette. Given that the two were brothers, this could put an extra spin on things.

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 One Wild Night was a comedy. June Lang starred. I'm also including a picture of the side of a marquee featuring this film.

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Loretta Young, Marjorie Weaver, and Pauline Moore schemed to woo rich men in Three Blind Mice. Joel McCrea, Stuart Erwin, and David Niven were the love interests. Fox loved making this story. They also made the same basic story in Moon Over Miami, Three Little Girls in Blue, How to Marry a Millionaire, Three Coins in the Fountain, and The Pleasure Seekers. And then after that sixth time, they retired it.

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Peter Lorre was back on the case in Mr. Moto takes a Chance.

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Always Goodbye was what they used to call a woman's weepie with Barbara Stanwyck and Herbert Marshall. This picture is far from tragic looking though.

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Victor McLaglen was imported to England for the comedy We're Going to Be Rich with Gracie Moore, Brian Donlevy, and Coral Browne.

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Smith Ballew hit the western trails again in Panamint's Bad Man.

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Passport Husband found Stuart Erwin embroiled in a crime comedy. 

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I'll Give a Million found Warner Baxter wooing Marjorie Weaver in a romance.

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Shirley Temple was Little Miss Broadway, and everything was right at the box office, and at the end of this lovely, charming film. Even Edna May Oliver softened by the end.

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Gateway was an immigration drama starring Don Ameche.

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Jane Withers was back again in Keep Smiling.

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Alexander's Ragtime Band was another charming high spirited musical with Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Don Ameche, and Ethel Merman. It was also a massive success and a Best Picture nominee. 

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Michael Whalen had Speed to Burn in a crime tale.

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Sonia Henie brushed off her skates and made her way to romance in My Lucky Star.

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The Jones Family found Safety in Numbers. And given the number of films at this point, they were safe indeed. And they found their camera again.

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Hold That Co-ed was most distinguished by the presence of John Barrymore in the comedy.

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Stuart and Whalen were becoming quite a screen team by this point. They were back in Time Out for Murder.

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Straight, Place and Show found the Ritz Brothers goofing it up with Ethel Merman. She sang at least one ditty.

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Meet the Girls!: June Lang and Lynn Bari. Hello, comedy calling.

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Five of a Kind brought back the Dionne Quintuplets one last time.

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Mysterious Mr Moto showed that even with Warner Oland gone, Fox was determined to make mysteries, with the Pette Lorre series filling in for the more famous one.

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Tyrone and Loretta reunited for Suez, although the real life person Tyrone was playing was considerably older at the time of the real life events.

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Always in Trouble found us in Withers country again. She was even at a tender age, a whiz at remembering her lines so her films were frequent (although maybe not as often as the Jones family).

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Just Around the Corner found Shirley Temple finding a way to end the entire Depression. What a wunderkind!
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Sharpshooters found Brian Donlevy in an adventure. 

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John Ford directed and William Faulkner partially wrote Submarine Patrol with Richard Greene and Nancy Kelly.

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Road Demon was a B. Strange title though. Why not just Road Hog?

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Preston Foster and Tony Martin went to the squealer, slammer, joint, big house, stir, whatever you want to call it in the comedy Up the River.

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Jones Family couldn't resist another trip for the year in Down on the Farm. Maybe they went to go find out how to milk more box office dollars.

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Thanks for Everything was a comedy with Adolphe Menjou.

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And its costar Michael Whalen was back in crime in While New York Sleeps.

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And finally, Walter Brennan won the Oscar in Kentucky, even though Loretta Young was the lead.

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On 4/1/2019 at 3:50 PM, TopBilled said:

How many of these would be considered "B" films?

Probably quite a few. Fox did plenty of them at this point although it would thin out a bit during the war years. However, they made a bit of a comeback from after the war to sometime in the early 60s. By that point, most started being groomed for major effects. One thing I didn't know the other day was that 1938 was seemingly the last year on the contract for Claire Trevor, arguably the B movie queen at that time. Of course, Stagecoach was right after that so she did fine. Ironically though, in the last 20 years of her big screen career (1963-1982), she only appeared in 4 films, and yet 3 of them (1963's The Stripper, 1967's The Cape Town Affair [ which was a remake of Pickup on South Street], and 1982's Kiss Me Goodbye) were all at her old homestead, Fox.

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39 minutes ago, CinemaInternational said:

Probably quite a few. Fox did plenty of them at this point although it would thin out a bit during the war years. However, they made a bit of a comeback from after the war to sometime in the early 60s. By that point, most started being groomed for major effects. One thing I didn't know the other day was that 1938 was seemingly the last year on the contract for Claire Trevor, arguably the B movie queen at that time. Of course, Stagecoach was right after that so she did fine. Ironically though, in the last 20 years of her big screen career (1963-1982), she only appeared in 4 films, and yet 3 of them (1963's The Stripper, 1967's The Cape Town Affair [ which was a remake of Pickup on South Street], and 1982's Kiss Me Goodbye) were all at her old homestead, Fox.

Yes, I think it's common for some of them to go back to their old stomping grounds. They return to the original home studio when they transition to character roles. It's like they remember which company got them started in the film industry, and they rely on that studio, if they still have a good relationship, to reinvent themselves. It's a form of loyalty that works both ways.

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  • 3 weeks later...

     I am really enjoying this thread. Much thanks for bringing on the board. 

While going thru the years in chronological order I didn't realize Jane Withers was in so many films as a child. I imagine these are mostly B-films which is why they aren't as widely known.

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1 hour ago, midnight08 said:

     I am really enjoying this thread. Much thanks for bringing on the board. 

While going thru the years in chronological order I didn't realize Jane Withers was in so many films as a child. I imagine these are mostly B-films which is why they aren't as widely known.

A bunch of the Jane Withers B comedies were released on DVD as part of the Fox Cinema Archives line.

TCM has rarely aired any of them.

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