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How About Those Not So Hot Films of 1939?


FItzMularkey
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Though I will be the first to admit that I think 1939 is a "magical year" in Hollywood film history, apparently there are more than  a few not-so-hot films from that year.  Recently TCM aired a movie I had never seen  --  LUCKY NIGHT starring Myrna Loy and Robert Taylor. I was excited to see this since I figured it had to be good with those 2 stars, produced by MGM.  Was I wrong!  What a ridiculous plot and, while Myrna Loy did the best she could with a stupid script, Robert Taylor's performance was really, really bad.  Though Myrna Loy seemed to have great chemistry with every leading man she ever worked with, that did not seem the case with Taylor. (Maybe why MGM never teamed them again?) I thought the ending was ridiculous  --  After Myrna decides to leave Taylor since he is such a juvenile screw-up, unbelievably they kiss and make up at the end. Why in the world would she do that when she has spent most of the movie having major doubts about him??  Of, I get it.  Must have the HAPPY ENDING. 

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2 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I recall Ice Follies of 1939 to really live up to its name.  It was a "folly" indeed. Joan Crawford and James Stewart did not make for a good pairing. 

Yes, Stewart had more chemistry with Lew Ayres than he did with Crawford. 

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7 hours ago, RoyCronin said:

Interesting that Ice Follies was chosen as the film to introduce Joan in Mommie Dearest.

 

 

I have seen many of Crawford's movies but not this one.  I would love to see it.  Sometimes bad movies can be extremely interesting and worth watching.  I didn't realize that the opening scene in Mommy Dearest is portraying this movie. Thanks for the info.  

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TCM routinely heaps praise on 1939, long ago chosen by some forgotten cabal of critics and industry supporters as Hollywood's greatest year. I think it would be fun to devote an evening or, heck, even a month, to "not so great films from Hollywood's greatest year", although the fact they have "classic" in their name probably makes it extraordinarily unlikely that they would ever acknowledge out loud that anything they're showing is maybe not so great.

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4 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

GOLDEN BOY (1939)

As a general rule, there are not many films made before 1960 that I would say I absolutely hate. I may not like them, I may find them boring, they may not do it for me – but I don’t “hate” them.

I ******* HATE GOLDEN BOY.

I just can’t with Golden Boy. As much as I love Barbara Stanwyck and William Holden, Lee J Cobb absolutely ruins this film. 

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Movies from 1939 that I rated a 5/10 or lower

  • Mad Youth
  • Devil's Island
  • A Chump at Oxford
  • Television Spy
  • Rough Riders' Round-Up
  • The Phantom Creeps
  • Paradise in Harlem
  • The Night Riders
  • The Mystery of Mr. Wong
  • Mr. Wong in Chinatown
  • Mandrake the Magician
  • In Old Caliente
  • The Ice Follies of 1939
  • I Met a Murderer
  • East Side of Heaven
  • Days of Jesse James
  • Daughter of the Tong
  • The Human Monster
  • Babes in Arms
  • The Invisible Killer
  • Escape to Paradise
  • Buried Alive
  • Torture Ship
  • Midnight Shadow
  • The Devil's Daughter
  • The Gorilla
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(take with with a grain of salt because it's wikipedia and because box office records from the era are always approximations and sometimes include re-release info, but according to wikiedia, THESE ARE THE TOP TWENTY FILMS AT THE BOX OFFICE OF 1939:)

NOTE: interesting that then, even as it is now, the TOP GROSSING FILMS are not an indicator at all of what titles from the year have endured and improved with the passing of time. THE RAINS CAME is fine, but not one of the best of the year; BABES IN ARMS has not aged well and JESSE JAMES was a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT when I first saw it a couple of years ago and while I love GONE WITH THE WIND, I can understand the feelings of anyone who doesn't

1. Gone with the Wind MGM/Selznick $198,676,459 [5]
2. Jesse James 20th Century Fox $9,460,000 [6]
3. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Columbia $9,600,000 [6]
4. The Rains Came 20th Century Fox $9,400,000 [6]
5. Babes in Arms MGM $9,240,000 [6]
6. Dodge City Warner Bros. $6,750,000 [6]
7. Goodbye, Mr. Chips MGM/Denham $3,252,000
8. The Hunchback of Notre Dame RKO $3,155,000 [7]
9. The Wizard of Oz MGM $3,017,000 [8]
10. Gunga Din RKO $2,807,000 [9]
11. Ninotchka MGM $2,279,000 [10]
12. The Women MGM $2,270,000
13. Drums Along the Mohawk 20th Century Fox $2,000,000 [11]
14. Stanley and Livingstone 20th Century Fox $8,000,000 [6]
15. Union Pacific Paramount $5,550,000 [6]
16. Another Thin Man MGM $6,090,000 [6]
17. The Old Maid Warner Bros. $6,660,000 [6]
18. Hollywood Cavalcade 20th Century Fox $4,000,000 [6]
19. Destry Rides Again Universal $2,900,000[6]
20. Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever MGM

$6,240,000 [6

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6 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

GOLDEN BOY (1939)

As a general rule, there are not many films made before 1960 that I would say I absolutely hate. I may not like them, I may find them boring, they may not do it for me – but I don’t “hate” them.

I ******* HATE GOLDEN BOY.

I'm with you on this one and I really find it hard to believe since I love Stanwyck and Holden in most other films but this one just does not make it.

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Movies from 1939 that I rated a 5/10 or lower

  • Mad Youth
  • Devil's Island
  • A Chump at Oxford
  • Television Spy
  • Rough Riders' Round-Up
  • The Phantom Creeps
  • Paradise in Harlem
  • The Night Riders
  • The Mystery of Mr. Wong
  • Mr. Wong in Chinatown
  • Mandrake the Magician
  • In Old Caliente
  • The Ice Follies of 1939
  • I Met a Murderer
  • East Side of Heaven
  • Days of Jesse James
  • Daughter of the Tong
  • The Human Monster
  • Babes in Arms
  • The Invisible Killer
  • Escape to Paradise
  • Buried Alive
  • Torture Ship
  • Midnight Shadow
  • The Devil's Daughter
  • The Gorilla

Daughter of the Tong and Television Spy??!!! Definitely a couple of films to check out just to see how bad bad can be.

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I do think there is something special about 1939, but I think 1940 is an even better year for overall output and technical innovation and 1943 and 44 are more interesting years overall.

ALTHOUGH there is a slight "factory" feel to the overall output- especially MGM's films, why they used the SAME TITLE CARD for the opening credits to all their productions that year I cannot fathom.

I'll also toss out that I used to love DARK VICTORY and now I can't make it through it for the life of me. It's quite a silly film.

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8 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I'll also toss out that I used to love DARK VICTORY and now I can't make it through it for the life of me. It's quite a silly film.

Ben's into to Dark Victory this week really nailed it as it relates to;  'a silly film' -  that the Production values and Davis's acting are of such high quality,  that the 'silliness' of how the plot and dialog are designed to pull ones' heartstrings,   is overshadowed.    Just get on the bus and don't think too much!

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, FItzMularkey said:

Daughter of the Tong and Television Spy??!!! Definitely a couple of films to check out just to see how bad bad can be.

 

19 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I KNOW, MY EYES WENT RIGHT TO THAT TITLE AS WELL!

(And all I can think of are salad tongs.)

MV5BZjQ4NTdkZmUtNmRhYS00NGQyLTkxODUtODky

Evelyn Brent as "Carney, the Illustrious One", leads a Chinese criminal gang (or tong), but they must face off against FBI hero Grant Withers.

Television Spy is a routine whodunit with a baby-faced Anthony Quinn among the cast.

15554.jpg

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43 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

 

MV5BZjQ4NTdkZmUtNmRhYS00NGQyLTkxODUtODky

Evelyn Brent as "Carney, the Illustrious One", leads a Chinese criminal gang (or tong), but they must face off against FBI hero Grant Withers.

 

How strange that DAVE O'BRIEN is not top billed, but i'm nearly positive that's him on the poster holding onto the woman who- obviously- did something to really ****-off the Producers and people in publicity so they put her on it looking like THAT, because DAMN! even if she looks that ROUGH in the movie, there's no need to broadcast it...a lip, some eyeliner, longer bangs perhaps...?

 

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48 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

MV5BZjQ4NTdkZmUtNmRhYS00NGQyLTkxODUtODky

Evelyn Brent as "Carney, the Illustrious One", leads a Chinese criminal gang (or tong), but they must face off against FBI hero Grant Withers.

 

Evelyn Brent should have sued over the photo used in the "Daughter of the Tong" poster.  Makes her look like guy with a very, very bad wig.

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49 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Ben's into to Dark Victory this week really nailed it as it relates to;  'a silly film' -  that the Production values and Davis's acting are of such high quality,  that the 'silliness' of how the plot and dialog are designed to pull ones' heartstrings,   is overshadowed.    Just get on the bus and don't think too much!

I was surprised when i posted the top box office films of the year according to wikipedia and saw that THE OLD MAID was BETTE'S highest grosser of the year and not DARK VICTORY.

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27 minutes ago, lydecker said:

Evelyn Brent should have sued over the photo used in the "Daughter of the Tong" poster.  Makes her look like guy with a very, very bad wig.

I'm imagining you're saying those words like you're scolding a dog "BAD! BAD WIG! BAD WIG! BAD BAD WIG!!!"

(And you'd be right)

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I just did one hell of a double take when I accidentally clicked on the thread Discussing the anniversary of all the 1969 films thinking it was this one.

Was just getting ready to reply to someone and ask them what the hell they were smoking that they thought MIDNIGHT COWBOY came out in 1939 when I Thankfully realized what I had done.

 

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