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Second Best Year?


overeasy
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Just some examples:

 

1940: Fantasia, The Philadelphia Story, Rebecca, The Great Dictator, The Grapes of Wrath, His Girl Friday, Pinocchio, The Shop Around the Corner, Pride and Prejudice, Foreign Correspondent, The Thief of Bagdad, The Sea Hawk, The Bank Dick, My Little Chickadee, Northwest Passage, The Letter, and Kitty Foyle.

 

1941: Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, Dumbo, Suspicion, How Green Was My Valley, Sergeant York, Sullivan's Travels, Meet John Doe, High Sierra, The Lady Eve, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, The Wolf Man, Hellzapoppin, Ball of Fire, Penny Serenade, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Devil and Daniel Webster, Tobacco Road, The Little Foxes, and The Man Who Came to Dinner.

 

1942: Casablanca, Bambi, To Be or Not to Be, The Magnificent Ambersons, Now, Voyager, Holiday Inn, The Pride of the Yankees, Mrs. Miniver, Saboteur, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Woman of the Year, This Gun for Hire, The Glass Key, Kings Row, The Talk of the Town, Across the Pacific, Road to Morocco, and Tales of Manhattan.

 

1946: The Best Years of Our Lives, It's A Wonderful Life, The Big Sleep, Notorious, The Postman Always Rings Twice, A Matter of Life and Death, Great Expectations, Gilda, Odd Man Out, My Darling Clementine, The Killers, Brief Encounter, Tomorrow is Forever, The Spiral Staircase, Nocturne, The Time of Their Lives, The Stranger, Humoresque, The Razor's Edge, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, The Yearling, Duel in the Sun, Song of the South

 

1959: North by Northwest, Ben-Hur, Some Like It Hot, Rio Bravo, Sleeping Beauty, The 400 Blows, Breathless, Anatomy of a Murder, The Mouse That Roared, Pillow Talk, On the Beach, Operation Petticoat, Black Orpheus, Imitation of Life, Hiroshima Mon Amour, The Diary of Anne Frank, Suddenly, Last Summer, The Horse Soldiers, A Summer Place, Compulsion, Porgy and Bess, The World, the Flesh and the Devil.

 

1962: To Kill a Mockingbird, Lawrence of Arabia, The Manchurian Candidate, Cape Fear, Days of Wine and Roses, Dr. No, Lolita, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Longest Day, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Miracle Worker, The Music Man, Mutiny on the Bounty, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Birdman of Alcatraz, Billy Budd, David and Lisa, and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

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A few years back, in one of the Programming Challenges, I picked two days of it for 1941:

 

1941 - Hollywood's Second Greatest Year - Month by Month Release Schedule of Classic Film After Classic Film in Just One Year

 

January 1941

6:00am High Sierra (WB, 1941) Humphrey Bogart, Ida Lupino 100 min.

7:45am Buck Privates (Univ., 1941) Abbott & Costello 85 min.

9:15am Mr. and Mrs. Smith (RKO, 1941) Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery 95 min.

 

February 1941

11:00am The Strawberry Blonde (WB, 1941) James Cagney 98 min.

12:45pm Western Union (Fox, 1941) Robert Young, Randolph Scott 96 min.

 

March 1941

2:30pm The Lady Eve (WB, 1941) Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck 95 min.

4:15pm The Sea Wolf (WB, 1941) Edward G. Robinson, John Garfield 88 min.

 

April 1941

5:45pm Ziegfeld Girl (MGM, 1941) James Stewart , Judy Garland 133 min

8:00pm The Road to Zanzibar (Par., 1941) Bob Hope, Bing Crosby 90 min.

9:45pm The Devil and Miss Jones (RKO, 1941) Jean Arthur 93 min.

11:30pm The Great Lie (WB, 1941) Bette Davis, Mary Astor 108 min.

 

May 1941

1:30am Love Crazy (MGM, 1941) William Powell, Myrna Loy 100 min.

3:30am Blood and Sand (Fox, 1941) Tyrone Power, Rita Hayworth 125 min.

 

1941 (continued)

 

June 1941

6:00am They Met in Bombay (MGM, 1941) Clark Gable, Rosalind Russell 92 min.

 

July 1941

7:45am Blossoms in the Dust (MGM, 1941) Greer Garson 98 min.

 

August 1941

9:30am Here Comes Mr. Jordan (Col., 1941) Robert Montgomery 94 min.

11:15am The Little Foxes (Goldwyn, 1941) Bette Davis 117 min.

 

September 1941

1:15pm Citizen Kane (RKO, 1941) Orson Welles 119 min.

3:15pm Sergeant York (WB, 1941) Gary Cooper 135 min.

5:45pm Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (MGM, 1941) Spencer Tracy 114 min.

 

October 1941

8:00pm The Maltese Falcon (WB, 1941) Humphrey Bogart 100 min.

 

November 1941

9:45pm Suspicion (RKO, 1941) Cary Grant 99 min.

11:30pm Shadow of the Thin Man (MGM, 1941) William Powell, Myrna Loy 97 min.

 

December 1941

1:15am How Green Was My Valley (Fox, 1941) Donald Crisp 120 min.

3:15am They Died With Their Boots On (WB, 1941) 140 min.

 

(It was fun looking at those old schedules. I forgot many of the things I came up. One of my favorities, "Veidt Night")

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Objectively speaking, I agree with FXReyman and FilmLover, it's 1941. In fact, I believe that year is the best in cinema history. That is very subjective, of course.

 

I also like Rey's choice of 1946. I believe that's an excellent year.

 

Subjectively speaking, my choice is 1950. That's the decade that features the most films in my top 250 (14 films):

 

5 Night and the City

16 In a Lonely Place

63 The Asphalt Jungle

77 Gun Crazy

86 Devil's Doorway

87 Winchester '73

132 Where the Sidewalk Ends

167 Mystery Street

170 Harvey

172 D.O.A.

185 Dial 1119

211 Rio Grande

215 Edge of Doom

228 The Furies

 

As you can see, it's film noir and westerns that dominate.

 

The other top years represented by my personal favorites:

 

1948 - 13 films

1946 - 11 films

1941 - 10 films

1952 - 10 films

1949 - 9 films

1944 - 9 films

1953 - 9 films

1958 - 9 films

1945 - 8 films

1947 - 8 films

 

Yes, I'm a "40s and 50s" guy.

 

My favorite year in the 30s is 1932 (7 films).

My favorite years in the 60s are 1968 and 1964 (5 films).

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> {quote:title=gagman66 wrote:}{quote}

> 1925 or 1927.

 

I would take 1927 or 1928, among many other years (1956), over 1939 in a quarter of a heartbeat.

 

Major works of 1928 - The Passion of Joan of Arc, The Wind, The Crowd, Show People, Street Angel, The Circus, Steamboat Bill Jr., The Cameraman, The Last Command, The Docks of New York, The Wedding March, L'Argent, October, Zvenigora, Arsenal, Storm Over Asia, 4 Devils (all right, that's a lost film, but judging from Murnau's other American films I can safely assume it's great.)

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That was one hell of a post, mon frer (and this is a great thread), I also agree that 1950 was one helluva year. When people ask me what my favorite classic films are (well, it doesn't happen a lot, but...) I usually say: "I can't give you specific titles, but I can tell you the years I really like" 1950 is one of them for sure.

 

I think the years 1939-46 represent Hollywood (and England's) true "golden age" of filmaking (the late 40's are interesting too, but very different in nature, tone, etc.) I think 1946 was (maybe) the most important year in cinema EVER as it represents the year where the highest percentage of the public that ever did went to the movies at least once a week (sad to see how that has changed.) I love 1943 dearly as well, as the triumverate of Casablanca ; Shadow of a Doubt and The Human Comedy represents my three favorite films of my favorite decade in Hollywood History.

 

But I agree wholeheartedly with foxeyreyman (I apologize if I spelled your name wrong, Sir) who said that _1940_ was the king of them all. I (mostly) copy and paste his list here: Fantasia, The Philadelphia Story, Rebecca, The Great Dictator, The Grapes of Wrath, His Girl Friday, Pinocchio, Pride and Prejudice, Foreign Correspondent, The Thief of Bagdad, The Sea Hawk, The Bank Dick, My Little Chickadee, The Letter, and Kitty Foyle.

 

I love and adore each one of these- quite frankly a lot more than Stagecoach (I can never get into that film! And I love John Ford!); Dark Victory (which as much as I love Bette Davis, is not my favorite); Wuthering Heights (which I have MAJOR issues with), Mr. Smith (which I stand alone in disliking) ; and numerous others from 1939, which (to me) bear the marks of the studio "Assembly Line" which they rolled off.

 

1939 was still a great year no doubt ( The Wizard of Oz will always have a place in my heart, as will the admittedly flawed Gone with the Wind ; Ninotchka is brilliant, Gunga Din is the best adventure pic of the decade; On Borrowed Time is underrated and The Women is fun as all get-out), but give me ANY ONE of those above titles from 1940 any day (or not, as I own most of them on DVD already)

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Feb 14, 2011 12:06 PM

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I also have never thought 1939 was the greatest year, although there are many fine films from that year. 1950 is one of the best. Frank didn't mention All About Eve or Sunset Boulevard, but I will, and although The Third Man came out in 1949, it wasn't Oscar-eligible until 1950.

 

Filmlover makes a great case for 1941--thanks for including the excerpt from your previous programming challenge.

 

As fxreyman points out, 1962 was an incredible year. Note to TCM programmers: 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary of 1962. Could there be a better occasion for a tribute to this great collection of films?

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> {quote:title=kingrat wrote:}{quote}

> Frank didn't mention All About Eve or Sunset Boulevard, but I will, and although The Third Man came out in 1949, it wasn't Oscar-eligible until 1950.

 

Ditto Kind Hearts and Coronets

 

We are so simpatico on 1962 (and I'm not really a "60's" guy)- I TOTALLY AGREE that TCM should salute it next year.

 

Shame that it was followed by 1963's crop, which one can (safely I think) call one of the most unimpressive in pre-1970 Hollywood history (P.S.- I really like Tom Jones . That's about it.)

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Feb 14, 2011 2:24 PM

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Based just on the lists provided by others on this thread, I feel that 1959, 1946, and 1940 are far superior to 1939. Someday I'll get off my duff and rank them from my own compilations. Since I'm a big fan of noir, my final list will probably be biased toward "40s and '50s years.

 

Edited by: finance on Feb 14, 2011 4:00 PM

 

Edited by: finance on Feb 14, 2011 4:01 PM

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Actually, I have a preference for 1974, and the following films:

 

+Murder on the Orient Express, The Godfather, Part II, Chinatown, The Conversation, Celine and Julie Go Boating, That?s Entertainment, The Enigma of Kasper Hauser, A Woman under the Influence, The Phantom of Liberty, Scenes from a Marriage, Alice in the Cities, Day for Night, Fear Eats the Soul, Arabian Knights, Lacombe, Lucien, Lancelot du Lac, California Split, Thieves like Us, Still Life, Stavisky,

The Parallax View, The Sugarland Express+

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How about 1932?

 

Grand Hotel

I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang

Red Dust

Scarface

Horse Feathers

Red Headed Woman

Million Dollar Legs

The Beast Of The City

What Price Hollywood

Shanghai Express

Tarzan The Ape Man

Trouble In Paradise

The Old Dark House

One Hour With You

Love Me Tonight

One Way Passage

If I Had A Million

 

Just to name a few...

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I have always thought that the second best year was 1962, if only for Lawrence, Mockingbird, The Miracle Worker, Sanjuro, and my personal fav Manchurian Candidate. Great year. But there is quite an argument for 1941. Then agian, that whole period in the '30s and '40s is amazing. Any random year has lots of amazing films in it. (Especially in the best song category. But I digress.)

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Without belittling the Silent period, I would say ANY given year from 1930 to 1950 could be considered the best ever, there were that many great films being churned out by the studios. So I'll go with the conventional wisdom, and just say that 1939 is first among equals. Of course, great movies continued to be released yearly after that, and the 50s and 60s have some very good years (and I try NOT to discuss anything here from the 70s forward), but since the overall quantity of releases had diminished significantly by the early 50s, on average not as many great films were coming out.

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I think the reason 1939 gets its rep is the one-two punch of Oz and Gone with the Wind - two films which transcend their time period and went on to be widely seen, even by people who aren't classic movie afficionados. The only other film I can think of that comes close to being as "accessible" as Oz and GWTW is It's a Wonderful Life. And of course, they represent the height of good-hearted fantasy in the face of the on-coming world war and rise of fascism.

 

I still sez 1940 is the best, and I think the reason it is not spoken of in quite as glowing terms as 1939 is that the inarguable "Best" film of that year is The Grapes of Wrath which is just about flawless, but not exactly a "fun" film. It also doesn't help that the "Best Picture" Rebecca - interesting and entertaining as it is in some ways- is not as good as it would have been had Selznick left Hitchcock the hell alone and let him make the damn picture his way. Besides that, things got a bit less opulent and black and white films represent many of the best titles of that year, and we all know how many people (sadly) just can't watch anything in black and white.

 

I also also throw in many critics (unfortunately) measure a year's merit by the Oscar winners, and as much as I love Ginger Rogers and as much as I do like Kitty Foyle it's nowhere near as dynamic as Vivien Leigh's work the previous year...and James Stewart's "Sorry we didn't give it to you for Mr. Smith " Best Actor Oscar for Philadelphia Story was not one of the wiser decisions of the AMPAS, ditto Walter Brennan's THIRD WIN for The Westerner .

 

Do love Jane Darwell though, my only beef is that she is a LEAD actress in Wrath - not supporting.

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Feb 16, 2011 1:27 PM

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*I* *think the reason 1939 gets its rep is the one-two punch of Oz and Gone with the Wind - two films which transcend their time period and went on to be widely seen, even by people who aren't classic movie afficionados. The only other film I can think of that comes close to being as "accessible" as Oz and GWTW is It's a Wonderful Life. And of course, they represent the height of good-hearted fantasy in the face of the on-coming world war and rise of fascism.*

 

This is in retrospect. Even then, as 1939 closed, there was a sense that it had been an exceptional year, mainly because of the triumph of GWTW, which opened at the end of the year. In 1940, the mood changed, as storm clouds of the spreading world war, a recession that cut into the boxoffice earnings, led many to figure 1939 was the height of the studio system. Since so many of the other films from that year are rightly considered classics, this belief has withstood the test of time, maybe even strengthened when OZ would be come a beloved classic through yearly tv showings.

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Well of course it's in retrospect, all discussion of classic film is in retrospect- whether you like it or not. It doesn't detract from people's opinions, if anything it adds to them.

 

A good deal of people labelled 1939 the best year circa the 50th anniversary of Oz and GWTW - are we not supposed to consider their opinions because most of them weren't alive when Oz came out? I don't see why the argument isn't open to those of us who weren't standing there smiling at the GWTW premiere.

 

And I just have to throw in that Dark Victory is not that great (wobbly support from Reagan, Bogart and as always George Brent, plus the story has issues); ditto The Old Maid. Wuthering Heights misses the whole idea and feel of the novel and Oberon's performance is "off" (something I blame more on Wyler than her.) I think Jean Arthur ruins Only Angels Have Wings .

 

Edited by: JonnyGeetar on Feb 16, 2011 2:15 PM

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