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Actually, I find GWTW to be a big bore, except in a few spots. It shows, I think that may be due to the hodgepodge of styles caused by too many directors having a hand. I don't mind slow -- a few of my favorite films -- Anthony Adverse, The Dead, The Group -- are films that have been eschewed here because they are "slow," or because "nothing happens," though of course plenty happens in AA. 

 

I saw a stage production of an Ibsen play a few years ago -- it's called Emperor and Galilean and is about Julian the Apostate. It's a nine-hour play and was edited down to 3 1/2 hours. I loved it but wished it hadn't been cut. It got mixed reviews, although one critic called it an "unendurable bore." It starred Andrew Scott and Ian McDiarmud (of Star Wars fame).

I should clarify-- I don't mind slower, character-driven pieces. Merchant-Ivory's A ROOM WITH A VIEW is like this, and I don't mind it-- because there are a lot of other things going on with the cinematography and mise-en-scene that keep me involved as a viewer. So it retains its interest. 

 

But something about ANTHONY ADVERSE just drags for me, and I wish it didn't. I feel the slowness of the story, whereas I do not feel that in a Merchant-Ivory production. Again, if AA had been in Technicolor and had different editing and staging, I might have found it more compelling. 

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I should clarify-- I don't mind slower, character-driven pieces. Merchant-Ivory's A ROOM WITH A VIEW is like this, and I don't mind it-- because there are a lot of other things going on with the cinematography and mise-en-scene that keep me involved as a viewer. So it retains its interest. 

 

But something about ANTHONY ADVERSE just drags for me, and I wish it didn't. I feel the slowness of the story, whereas I do not feel that in a Merchant-Ivory production. Again, if AA had been in Technicolor and had different editing and staging, I might have found it more compelling. 

I like all those Merchant-Ivory films and A Room with a View and Maurice are my favorites. Though I enjoy them, a few of the others just don't work for me -- like Howard's End and The Europeans. One of Forster's famous lines (from Howard's End) is "Only connect."  Several of the Merchant-Ivory films just don't connect. I love Forster's novels. My favorite -- The Longest Journey -- is the only one that hasn't been filmed. I'm actually glad that David Lean and not Merchant-Ivory made A Passage to India, a film that definitely connects for me, though it doesn't for everyone. A great film -- Lean's best.

 

(Anthony Adverse certainly connects for me).

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I like all those Merchant-Ivory films and A Room with a View and Maurice are my favorites. Though I enjoy them, a few of the others just don't work for me -- like Howard's End and The Europeans. One of Forster's famous lines (from Howard's End) is "Only connect."  Several of the Merchant-Ivory films just don't connect. I love Forster's novels. My favorite -- The Longest Journey -- is the only one that hasn't been filmed. I'm actually glad that David Lean and not Merchant-Ivory made A Passage to India, a film that definitely connects for me, though it doesn't for everyone. A great film -- Lean's best.

 

(Anthony Adverse certainly connects for me).

Yeah, most of the time it is a subjective thing. And it depends on the frame of mind the viewer is in when watching. 

 

Obviously, there are different films (and filmmaking styles) for different audiences.

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1938 - 64 films seen

 

 

1. THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD

2. BRINGING UP BABY

3. ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES

4. PYGMALION

5. YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU

6. LA BETE HUMAINE

7. THREE COMRADES

8. TEST PILOT

9. JEZEBEL

10. FOUR DAUGHTERS

 

Runner-ups: THE LADY VANISHES, MERRILY WE LIVE, A SLIGHT CASE OF MURDER, VIVACIOUS LADY, and I AM THE LAW.

 

 

Another weak year for me. I had trouble choosing my ten favorites, let alone the runner-ups. FOUR DAUGHTERS is probably my most unlikely choice, but I got drawn into the sappy sentimentality.

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For 1938 - 58 films seen

 

1.  The Adventures of Robin Hood

2.  Angels With Dirty Faces

3.  Pygmalion

4.  The Lady Vanishes

5.  You Can't take It With You

6.  Alexander Nevsky

7.  The Citadel

8.  Algiers

9.  Bringing Up Baby

10. Jezebel

 

Here are some from my runner up list: The Dawn Patroi, Of Human Hearts, Le Bete Humaine, Mollenard and The Challenge.

 

Not the greatest crop of films considering what we would see in just one year's time.

 

I have yet to see I am the Law but have a copy which I am saving for an Eddie Robinson festival.

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My current choices for performances for 1938 are:

 

Best Actor

 

James Cagney, Angels With Dirty Faces

 

Best Actress

 

Wendy Hiller, Pygmalion

 

Best Supporting Actor

 

Robert Morley, Marie Antoinette

 

Best Supporting Actress

 

Fay Bainter, Jezebel

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Bogie, I've been wanting to see ALEXANDER NEVSKY for a long time, just never managed to get around to it. I don't know MOLLENARD or THE CHALLENGE. Both ALGIERS and THE DAWN PATROL were almost runner-ups for me.

 

Alexander Nevsky has one of the best film scores of all time.  Mollenard is another Harry Baur film and The Challenge is great if you like the Alpine mountaineering films which I am a fan.  It features Luis Trenker who was probably the King of that genre.

I envy you for the good films you have to look forward to seeing for the first time.  I recall the feeling I had when I was at a Revue showing of Room Service and it hit me that this was the last "new" Marx Brothers film that I would ever see for the first time.  That was a glass half-empty feeling.

Not that I have seen 'everything' either.  That is why I like reading other people's top tens and recommendations as I am always on the hunt to see 'new' films.

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Top, out of your '38 choices, I haven't heard of EN KVINNAS ANSIKTE, A MAN TO REMEMBER, or MY LUCKY STAR. I also haven't seen BLUEBEARD'S EIGHTH WIFE, PORT OF SHADOWS, ROOM SERVICE, or SIDEWALKS OF LONDON.

A restored copy of EN KVINNAS ANSIKTE can be found on Amazon Prime and is a good example of the work Ingrid Bergman did in the 30s before she achieved fame in Hollywood. The film was remade by MGM a few years later with Joan Crawford, and Crawford isn't bad, but I don't think Ingrid's performance can really be topped. Plus the outdoor sequences with the sleigh racing through the snow are absolutely spectacular-- staged much better than MGM's obvious in-studio rear-projection version.

 

The farce ROOM SERVICE was redone as a musical by the same studio (RKO) a few years later-- as STEP LIVELY, with Frank Sinatra. So maybe you've seen the second version? TCM occasionally plays both titles. 

 

BLUEBEARD'S EIGHTH WIFE has never aired on TCM, and it's one of Ernst Lubitsch's best (if you ask me!).

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I've got quite a few errands to run tomorrow morning to finalize my Christmas obligations, so I won't be posting until later than usual. If you want, we can go ahead and post 1939's list today as well, and save tomorrow afternoon for end-of-the-decade lists.

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I've got quite a few errands to run tomorrow morning to finalize my Christmas obligations, so I won't be posting until later than usual. If you want, we can go ahead and post 1939's list today as well, and save tomorrow afternoon for end-of-the-decade lists.

Great. I will go ahead and post my 1939 list which I already prepared. Then I can spend the rest of the day putting my end-of-the-decade list together (I am assuming that we will be taking the number one film from each year and ranking them against the other number ones from the same decade).

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Great. I will go ahead and post my 1939 list which I already prepared. Then I can spend the rest of the day putting my end-of-the-decade list together (I am assuming that we will be taking the number one film from each year and ranking them against the other number ones from the same decade).

Not necessarily. If you want to rank your number one choices, that's fine. I was just going to pick my personal ten faves of the decade. Some years may be left out of my list. Also, I'm listing my ten favorite male and ten favorite female stars of the decade, and maybe some thoughts on the decade in general.

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1939 - 74 films seen

 

 

1. THE ROARING TWENTIES

2. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON

3. STAGECOACH

4. GONE WITH THE WIND

5. THE WIZARD OF OZ

6. GUNGA DIN

7. ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS

8. THE RULES OF THE GAME

9. DESTRY RIDES AGAIN

10. THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

 

Runner-ups: OF MICE AND MEN, SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, BEAU GESTE, DARK VICTORY, and EACH DAWN I DIE.

 

 

THE ROARING TWENTIES is a controversial choice for tops of 1939, I know, but it's my favorite. I think it's the perfect culmination of the entire 30's gangster cycle. I have a love/hate relationship with GONE WITH THE WIND, but I can't deny it's status as the peak of studio-era filmmaking. WIZARD OF OZ is one of the few children's movies I can tolerate, perhaps because I acted in an amateur theatrical version as the Tin Woodsman. And STAGECOACH is one of the greatest, archetypal Westerns ever made.

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Not necessarily. If you want to rank your number one choices, that's fine. I was just going to pick my personal ten faves of the decade. Some years may be left out of my list. Also, I'm listing my ten favorite male and ten favorite female stars of the decade, and maybe some thoughts on the decade in general.

Yes. I realised after I made my earlier post that it's possible a number two choice on a given year could be stronger than a number one choice from another year in the decade. So I am going to have to sort through my choices carefully, though I will try to cover as many years in the decade as possible.

 

I like your idea of listing what you consider to be the top stars of the decade. That's interesting.

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For 1939 - 83 films seen

 

1.  The Wizard of Oz

2.  Gone With the Wind

3.  Of Mice and Men

4.  Stagecoach

5.  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

6.  Goodbye Mr. Chips

7.  The Four Feathers

8.  Destry Rides Again

9.  Gunga Din

10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Here are just some from my runner up list: The Stars Look Down, Ninotchka, Rules of the Game, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Only Angels Have Wings and Beau Geste.

 

This time I've seen all of the films on your list, Lawrence.  Son of Frankenstein is a favourite too.

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My current choices for performances for 1939 are:

 

Best Actor

 

Robert Donat, Goodbye, Mr. Chips

 

Best Actress

 

Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind

 

Best Supporting Actor

 

Claude Rains, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

 

Best Supporting Actress

 

Hattie McDaniel, Gone With the Wind

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1939 - 74 films seen

 

 

1. THE ROARING TWENTIES

2. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON

3. STAGECOACH

4. GONE WITH THE WIND

5. THE WIZARD OF OZ

6. GUNGA DIN

7. ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS

8. THE RULES OF THE GAME

9. DESTRY RIDES AGAIN

10. THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

 

Runner-ups: OF MICE AND MEN, SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, BEAU GESTE, DARK VICTORY, and EACH DAWN I DIE.

 

 

THE ROARING TWENTIES is a controversial choice for tops of 1939, I know, but it's my favorite. I think it's the perfect culmination of the entire 30's gangster cycle. I have a love/hate relationship with GONE WITH THE WIND, but I can't deny it's status as the peak of studio-era filmmaking. WIZARD OF OZ is one of the few children's movies I can tolerate, perhaps because I acted in an amateur theatrical version as the Tin Woodsman. And STAGECOACH is one of the greatest, archetypal Westerns ever made.

I think your comment about GWTW is an honest one. It's not my number one choice either, and I felt sacrilegious ranking it a bit lower. The stereotypes about southern whites (especially the Irish) and the way the slaves are depicted (glamorized almost) is all quite problematic for me. Plus I don't think overall the film holds up as well as a solid piece of entertainment as some fans would like. It's showing its age in my opinion and is increasingly dated.

 

THE WIZARD OF OZ is on my top ten but it is not in the top five. I think it deviates too much from Baum's original stories to be totally authentic. 

 

I have never seen BEAU GESTE but would like to when I get the chance. I like EACH DAWN I DIE, DESTRY RIDES AGAIN and DARK VICTORY though none of them make my list. There really were too many excellent choices to pick from in '39.

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My list:


1. OF MICE AND MEN
2. THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
3. GONE WITH THE WIND
4. DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK
5. WUTHERING HEIGHTS
6. THE WIZARD OF OZ
7. JESSE JAMES
8. LOVE AFFAIR
9. MIDNIGHT
10. GOLDEN BOY and YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (tie)

Honorable Mentions: THEY SHALL HAVE MUSIC; THE ROARING TWENTIES; DODGE CITY; FIVE CAME BACK; THE RULES OF THE GAME; and INTERMEZZO. 

 

I think the best performers of 1939 were: Charles Laughton; Claudette Colbert; Henry Fonda; Vivien Leigh; Judy Garland; and Burgess Meredith.

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For 1939 - 83 films seen

 

1.  The Wizard of Oz

2.  Gone With the Wind

3.  Of Mice and Men

4.  Stagecoach

5.  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

6.  Goodbye Mr. Chips

7.  The Four Feathers

8.  Destry Rides Again

9.  Gunga Din

10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Here are just some from my runner up list: The Stars Look Down, Ninotchka, Rules of the Game, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Only Angels Have Wings and Beau Geste.

 

This time I've seen all of the films on your list, Lawrence.  Son of Frankenstein is a favourite too.

As big of a fan of both Rathbone and Holmes as I am, I have never seen ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. I don't know THE STARS LOOK DOWN. MR. CHIPS, FOUR FEATHERS, and NINOTCHKA are all great too, imho.

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Screen%2Bshot%2B2015-12-18%2Bat%2B6.08.5

 

My list:

 

1. OF MICE AND MEN

2. THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

3. GONE WITH THE WIND

4. DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK

5. WUTHERING HEIGHTS

6. THE WIZARD OF OZ

7. JESSE JAMES

8. LOVE AFFAIR

9. MIDNIGHT

10. GOLDEN BOY and YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (tie)Honorable Mentions: THEY SHALL HAVE MUSIC; THE ROARING TWENTIES; DODGE CITY; FIVE CAME BACK; THE RULES OF THE GAME; and INTERMEZZO. 

 

I think the best performers of 1939 were: Charles Laughton; Claudette Colbert; Henry Fonda; Vivien Leigh; Judy Garland; and Burgess Meredith.

Top, I actually saw all of these, except THEY SHALL HAVE MUSIC. Good choices!

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Top, I actually saw all of these, except THEY SHALL HAVE MUSIC. Good choices!

Thanks. I probably should have added THE FOUR FEATHERS as an honorable mention because it is quite good and I do like watching it.

 

Another one that deserves a shout-out is HONEYMOON IN BALI, a charming rom-com from Paramount starring Fred MacMurray & Madeleine Carroll. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeymoon_in_Bali

 

THEY SHALL HAVE MUSIC was producer Sam Goldwyn's big film of '39. The musical sequences are beautifully presented.

 

I think FIVE CAME BACK is the best B-film of the 30s. 

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I just went ahead and prepared my end-of-the-decade review of film in the 1930s. I will post it in the morning.

 

What I ended up doing was ranking my number ones for each year, because they were all strong films. And then instead of focusing on the actors again, I did a section called Notable Directors, plus a section called Most Creative Studios. At the end, I listed what I felt were the strongest genres or sub-genres of the decade. That way I could cover slightly new ground that I hadn't really commented on in the yearly posts. 

 

Make sense..?

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1939 Favorites

 

I like to limit my list to ten, but I've added two groups of two similar films.

 

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes/Hound of the Baskervilles

The start of the great Rathbone/Bruce collaboration. "Oh Watson, the needle!"

 

Beau Geste/Gunga Din

Two films with great male trios, plus Sam Jaffe schlepping along with the water and being heroic.

 

Drums Along the Mohawk

One of John Ford's great movies, with all his themes intact: importance of community, homes threatened, a dance, etc. This film features my favorite Edna May Oliver performance.

 

Juarez

The parts/scenes are greater than the whole in this movie, but what parts! 

 

The Light that Failed

A somber, low-key, wonderful film. My favorite movie of 1939.

 

The Little Princess

My favorite Shirley Temple movie. As a sometime South East Londoner, I can't resist her performance, with Arthur Treacher, of "Wot Cher! Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road."

 

Only Angels Have Wings

One of Hawks' best, with a gay subtext plain as day.

 

The Roaring Twenties

"He used to be a big shot." Bravo Gladys and the whole cast! Big, entertaining, and even profound.

 

Stanley and Livingstone

Romance, adventure, and a socko courtroom-type finale.

 

Wuthering Heights

Justifiably won the New York Film Critics' Best Film Award over that bloated, sloppy movie about the South. 

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