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I have two questions about 1939:

did the year live up to expectations for you and what were your favorites?


For me:


Top 10 movies:


1. Gone With the Wind

2. The Wizard of Oz

3. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

4. Ninotchka

5. Love Affair

6. Stagecoach

7. Dark Victory

8. Goodbye, Mr. Chips

9. Wuthering Heights

10. Beau Geste


Best Actor: James Stewart (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)

Best Actress: Vivian Leigh (Gone With the Wind)

Supporting Actor: Brian Donlevy (Beau Geste)

Supporting Actress: Claire Trevor (Stagecoach)


Titles watched: 118

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A good year, but I'm not a huge GWTW fan. Here are my top 10:


1. The Light that Failed

2. Drums Along the Mohawk

3. Stanley and Livingstone

4. The Roaring Twenties

5. Wuthering Heights

6. The Wizard of Oz

7. Gunga Din/Beau Geste

8. Stagecoach

9. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes/Hound of the Baskervilles

10. Dark Victory


Best Actor: Ronald Colman, The Light that Failed

Best Actress: Merle Oberon, Wuthering Heights

Best Supp. Actor: Sam Jaffe, Gunga Din

Best Supp. Actress: Gladys George, The Roaring Twenties;

Edna May Oliver, Drums Along the Mohawk

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1939 had way too much schmaltz and fantasy for my taste. 1950 had far more great films of a much more realistic nature, from All About Eve and The Asphalt Jungle and all the way through the rest of the alphabet. I'd take those two alone over anything made in 1939.

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I agree that this was one exceptional year, but no one ever seems to list "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" on their top ten lists. Granted, other titles are flashier and I cannot disagree with anyone's choices, but, for me, this one has to be near the top.

I was born in 1949, and for me the best year of viewing films at the movie palaces was 1960. I know that titles released that year are not considered classics, but at that age everything made a positive impression.

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I love *The Light that Failed,* I wish TCM would show it. Whenever people talk about it (which is rarely), they generally mention how the director (Wellman) didn't get along with the lead (Colman); or how wonderful Ida Lupino is as the cockney lass. But those aren't as important to me as the fact that The Light that Failed is one of the great romantic films, ever -- in E.M. Forster's definition of the word: "Romance is a figure with outstretched arms, yearning for the unobtainable."


Many people would find this film to be a bit of a downer, which perhaps it is. It does, however, have one of the funniest lines in any movie, ever!

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It also has one of my favorite opening scenes -- the boy, girl, and goat on the beach.


I'll try to give the line, though it needs context. Keep in mind that this is a very somber movie, so it comes out of nowhere.


Ronald Colman, recently back from the Sudan, is in his flat with two friends -- played by Dudley Digges and Walter Huston. Colman walks out of the room, and Huston's Scottie dog follows him.


Digges: "Women and dogs, they can't resist him. He stole one away from me once in Cairo. I haven't forgiven him yet."


Huston: "A woman or a dog?"


Digges: "Oh, it was a long time ago, I don't remember."

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1939 is certainly the most hyped year in movie history. I don't know that it's necessarily OVERhyped, but there are lots of great films from other years as well. Anyway, my personal Top 10:


1. Stagecoach

2. Wuthering Heights

3. Gone With the Wind

4. Ninotchka

5. The Wizard of Oz

6. Destry Rides Again

7. Le Jour Se Leve (Daybreak)

8. Le Regle Du Jeu (The Rules of the Game)

9. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

10. Only Angels Have Wings


Best Actor: Burgess Meredith, Of Mice and Men

Best Actress: Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind

Best Director: John Ford, Stagecoach

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For me the best single film for 1939 is *The Hunchback of Notre Dame* . So nicely filmed and a great cast , all performing very well. And Laughton is sensational , I really believe he should have gotten the best actor award. Another thing I like about 1939, the first two films featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Watson.

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Speaking of overhyped, I want to mention two 1939 supporting performances that are UNDERhyped: Gladys George in The Roaring Twenties and Edna May Oliver in Drums Along the Mohawk.


We love Edna May and ALL her performances, but I think her role as Mrs. McKellar in Drums Along the Mohawk may have been her best. She's brilliant. As is Gladys George, who not only gave a great performance in The Roaring Twenties, but gave us one of cinema's iconic lines, on the church steps, with the dead Cagney in her arms: "He used to be a big shot!"

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