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A final word about Angels With Dirty Faces is in regard to the spectacular hypocrisy of the studio which produced the film, Warner Brothers.

 

By having Rocky pretend to be a coward in order that the street kids in the film don't idolize him in death and try to emulate him the film makes his gangster character noble at the end. Remember Cagney referring to his tough guy reputation as "the last thing I've got" to Father Jerry in his prison cell at the end? Well, he throws it away to "save" the kids.

 

And so what is this selfless act of Rocky's going to do to the real life street kids who watch the film? There is a more than fair possibility that many of them will regard Rocky's screen gangster as a hero and try to emulate him. That is the exact opposite of what Pat O'Brien's Father Jerry wants to be the case in the movie.

 

Warner Brothers seemed to have far greater concern with the screen image of one of their top box office draws (Cagney) than with the real life social consequences of impressionable viewers watching him on screen - in a film that claimed to have a social conscience about street kids!!!

 

End of editorial.

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Since Lawrence requested me to list my whole list of nominees  for my other categories, I have   decided to do so.

 

Best Actress: Winner was Wendy Hiller from Pygmalian

 

Nominees included:

 

Olivia DeHaviland in The Adventures of Robin Hood

Katherine Hepburn in Holiday

Katherine Hepburn in Brining Up Baby

Ethel Merman in Alexander's Ragtime Band

Margaret Sullivan in The Shopworn Angel

Merle Oberon in The Divorce of Lady X

Shirley Temple in Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm

Myna Loy in Test Pilot

Bette Davis in Jezebel

Alice Faye in Alexander's Ragtime Band

Vivian Leigh in Sidewalks of London

Norma  Shearer in Marie Antoinette

Judy Garland in love Finds Andy Hardy

Margaret Lockwood in The Lady Vanishes

 

 

 

 

 

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My Whole List of Nominees for Best Actor:

 

*Requested by Lawrence

 

 

WIINER WAS DAVID NIVEN IN THE DAWN PATROL - no order

 

 

Walter Pidgeon in Too Hot to Handle

Basil Rathbone in The Dawn Patrol

E.G. Robinson in The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse

James Cagney in Angels With Dirty Faces

Humphrey Bogart in Angels With Dirty Faces

Henry Fonda in Jezebel

George Brent in Jezebel

Spencer Tracy in Test Pilot

Lionel Barrymore in you Can't Take it With You

Jimmy Stewart in you Can't Take it With You

Tyrone Power I Alexander's Ragtime Band

Charles Laughton in Sidewalks of London

Louis Hayward in Pygmalian

Reginald Owen in A Christmas Carol

Michael Redgrave in The Lady Vanishes

E.G. Robinson in A Slight Case of Murder

Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood

 

 

 

 

 

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By the way, the reason I was being idiotic about Monroe in ARB was that with the love of Robin Hood and Errol Flynn - and I am a fan remember- for a while it seemed like any post that did not talk about that film was being lost among the love in about the movie.

 

As Princess said, let's talk about Angels With Dirty Faces.

 

 

However, my mix up with Jean Dixon's film was indeed an error.  I am likely to make lots of mistakes when I have not slept for more than 24 hours.

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Final 1938 Category For Me: Best Supporting Actor; Basil Rathbone was the winner I chose.

 

 

Every supporting actor in The Adventures of Robin Hood was on my list

Charlie Ruggles in Bringing Up Baby

Barry Fitzgerald in Bringing Up Baby

Robert Morley in Marie Antoinette

Paul Lukas in The Lady Vanishes

"The Cricket lovers" in The lady Vaishes

Ralph Richardson in The Divorce of lady X

Barry Fitzgerald in the Dawn Patrol

Donald Crisp in Jezebel

Melville Cooper in The Dawn Patrol

Richard Cromwell in Jezebel

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Is Sidewalks of London shown with any regularity on TCM? I notice a lot of people have it listed, and I don't really know it.

Lawrence, I saw St. Martin's Lane more than 20 years ago on some local UHF TV station.

 

The only thing I can compare Charles Laughton's performance to would be the one in the Ruggles of Red Gap. But in St. Martin's he was more vulnerable and honestly pathetic. He really has a remarkable range of Versatility. His relationship on screen with Vivien Leigh was three dimensional. You just couldn't take your eyes off of them. I sure would like to see it again.

 

I've never seen it listed on VHS or dvd.

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Final 1938 Category For Me: Best Supporting Actor; Basil Rathbone was the winner I chose.

 

 

Every supporting actor in The Adventures of Robin Hood was on my list

Charlie Ruggles in Bringing Up Baby

Barry Fitzgerald in Bringing Up Baby

Robert Morley in Marie Antoinette

Paul Lukas in The Lady Vanishes

"The Cricket lovers" in The lady Vaishes

Ralph Richardson in The Divorce of lady X

Barry Fitzgerald in the Daw Patrol

Donald Crisp in Jezebel

Melville Cooper in The Dawn Patrol

Richard Cromwell in Jezebel

GPF--

I want to thank you for listing Charlie Ruggles and Barry Fitzgerald from Bringing Up Baby. It's my favorite lifelong screwball, and I had already listed Walter Catlett and Fritz Feld. I didn't think I should list anymore, but those two were really excellent.

 

Re: The Test Cricket guys--they deserve some kind of a special category don't you think?

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GPF--

I want to thank you for listing Charlie Ruggles and Barry Fitzgerald from Bringing Up Baby. It's my favorite lifelong screwball, and I had already listed Walter Catlett and Fritz Feld. I didn't think I should list anymore, but those two were really excellent.

 

Re: The Test Cricket guys--they deserve some kind of a special category don't you think?

Yes, I do.  I have to say that if it were not for Kay listing their names, I would not know them as separate.  I just call them the cricket lovers.  I never remember their names.

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A final word about Angels With Dirty Faces is in regard to the spectacular hypocrisy of the studio which produced the film, Warner Brothers.

 

By having Rocky pretend to be a coward in order that the street kids in the film don't idolize him in death and try to emulate him the film makes his gangster character noble at the end. Remember Cagney referring to his tough guy reputation as "the last thing I've got" to Father Jerry in his prison cell at the end? Well, he throws it away to "save" the kids.

 

And so what is this selfless act of Rocky's going to do to the real life street kids who watch the film? There is a more than fair possibility that many of them will regard Rocky's screen gangster as a hero and try to emulate him. That is the exact opposite of what Pat O'Brien's Father Jerry wants to be the case in the movie.

 

Warner Brothers seemed to have far greater concern with the screen image of one of their top box office draws (Cagney) than with the real life social consequences of impressionable viewers watching him on screen - in a film that claimed to have a social conscience about street kids!!!

 

End of editorial.

Tom- - I'll tell you one more thing that Cagney said in his autobiography that really made me think.

 

Being a tap dancer, I thought this was normal; but looking back on what he said maybe it wasn't--

 

Cagney said that in his retirement he never looked at any of his movies except the musicals where he tap danced.???

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The Venice Film Festival of 1938 was surrounded in controversy and many countries pulled out the following year.  Venice in 1938 saw the ‘Mussolini Cups’ go to films from fellow fascist countries Germany and Italy.   However its Best Actor Award went to Leslie Howard for Pgymalion and the Best Actress Award went to Norma Shearer for Marie Antoinette.  The next time Venice would hand out acting awards would be in 1941.

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Is Sidewalks of London shown with any regularity on TCM? I notice a lot of people have it listed, and I don't really know it.

 

I'm pretty sure that it has been on TCM but it's been a few years. Both Laughton and Leigh are a pleasure to watch in this film as a pair of street buskers, with she going on to stage stardom while he is left behind. I've seen some comments about the shelfishness of Leigh's characterization in this film being a presursor to her playing of Scarlet O'Hara the next year.

 

This is the earliest performance of Leigh that I've seen in which she really glows on screen and demonstrates a star quality.

 

index5_zpst7ibm7iw.jpg

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Tom- - I'll tell you one more thing that Cagney said in his autobiography that really made me think.

 

Being a tap dancer, I thought this was normal; but looking back on what he said maybe it wasn't--

 

Cagney said that in his retirement he never looked at any of his movies except the musicals where he tap danced.???

 

Cagney was always a song and dance man at heart. Film scholars used to be exasperated that the actor would never open up and analyze the acting process for them. His attitude when discussing the acting craft was much like that of friend Spencer Tracy - knowing your lines and not bumping into the furniture kind of thing.

 

Many years ago I was thrilled to receive a small note from Cagney in response to a fan letter of mine. Emboldened by receiving a response from the actor, I sent him a second letter, asking him, in particular, what kind of psyching up process he went through for his famous going nuts in the prison cafeteria scene in White Heat.

 

I never got a reply from the actor, and I realized afterward (long afterward) that I had asked him the exact kind of film school scholarly question that he HATED! In retrospect, I now realize that if my second letter had been one in which I asked him a question about one of his dance routines in one of his musicals I probably would have received an enthusiastic response.

 

Here, however, is the modest note that I did receive from Cagney in 1969 to my first letter:

 

A "thank you" to you for your kind note. We did the jobs as well as we knew how thru the early years. Sometimes the results paid off, others ------------------------? That you found them to your liking made the effort worthwhile. All good wishes and thanks again for writing.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jim Cagney

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With all the talk about James Cagney I might as well go ahead and post my Best Actor choices.  Like Tom, Cagney is at the top of my list for 1938.

Here are my choices of the 59 films I've seen from 1938 for…

Best Actor of 1938

 

1.  JAMES CAGNEY (William "Rocky" Sullivan), Angels With Dirty Faces

2.  CHARLES BOYER (Pepe Le Moko), Algiers

3.  ROBERT DONAT (Dr. Andrew Manson/”Scruffy”), The Citadel

4.  CARY GRANT (David Huxley/"David Bone"/"Gerry the Nipper"), Bringing Up Baby

5.  ERROL FLYNN (Sir Robin of Locksley/”Robin Hood”), The Adventures of Robin Hood

 

6.  LESLIE HOWARD (Professor Henry Higgins), Pygmalion

7.  WALTER HUSTON (Ethan Wilkins), Of Human Hearts

8.  ERROL FLYNN (Frank Medlin), The Sisters

9.  CHARLES LAUGHTON (Edward Claude Wilson/”Ginger Ted”), The Beachcomber

10. ERROL FLYNN (Capt. Courtney), The Dawn Patrol

 

and ...

 

LIONEL BARRYMORE (Martin Vanderhof), You Can't Take It With You

SPENCER TRACY (Father Edward "Eddie" J. Flanagan), Boys Town

HARRY BAUR (Commander Justin Mollenard), Mollenard

CLARK GABLE (Chris Hunter), Too Hot to Handle

LAURENCE OLIVIER (Everard Logan), The Divorce of Lady X

RAIMU (Aimable, ‘the baker’), The Baker’s Wife

LUIS TRENKER (Jean Antoine Carrel), The Challenge

MICHAEL REDGRAVE (Gilbert), The Lady Vanishes

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I'd like to write something about a pair of 1938 releases with noteworthy performances by supporting character actors.

 

They Drive By Night (no, not the Warner Brothers truck driving melodrama - that would come two years later) is a British street crime drama. It features Emlyn Williams as a convict fresh out of prison who discovers the dead body of a girlfriend and immediately goes on the run, believing that, as a jailbird, the police wouldn't give him a chance to prove his innocence. Soon the media are blasting headlines about him, the public is convinced of his guilt and the police, if memory serves me correctly, have "shoot to kill" orders.

 

The film becomes a taut suspence tale, with Williams encountering various characters in his flight through the dark streets and taverns that comprise his criminal world. The most noteworthy of his unexpected encounters, though, is when he comes into contact with Ernest Thesiger, here having free rein in a truly bizarre characterization. Is he just another James Whale-type eccentric here or is he homicidal? Thesiger is a hoot and a half to watch in this film.

 

images22_zps6ckhnocx.jpg

 

As the film develops, is not so much a "who done it" as it is a "how's he going to get out of it," an enjoyable suspense ride, one that is clearly a prelude to a film genre that later became labelled as "noir," only this one from across the pond.

 

In complete contrast to this film is Kentucky, from 20th Century Fox. This film won Walter Brennan the year's Oscar as best supporting actor as a proud horse raising southerner forever ready to feud with another family responsible over 70 years earlier for the death of his father during the Civil War.

 

The film was shot in a pleasant Technicolor to support what is, quite frankly, a thin, predictable story. Typical of films of its era its stereotypical portrait of blacks in the South (as well as the patronizing attitude of some of the "kind" white employers of them) is irritating, to say the least. There are also a few closeups of Richard Greene in which I wondered if he was wearing the same shade of lipstick as leading lady Loretta Young.

 

Brennan may be the best thing in the film, but, to me, his second Oscar winning performance is just another "old coot" portrayal. He was 44 when he played a man almost double his age in this film (not having any teeth in real life helped), so that is bound to have impressed members of the Motion Picture Academy at the time.

 

It also didn't hurt Brennan that he was very popular with members of the Union of Film Extras, all of whom could vote in large numbers on the acting categories. They would be banned from doing so a couple of years later after Brennan won his third Oscar for his third nomination.

 

index2_zpsqkj1qlre.jpg

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Tom, thank you for writing about the English THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT, which I had never heard of. Emlyn Williams is an actor I'd like to see more of. He is terrific in a creepy role in THE WALKING STICK many years later. He had a much larger career on stage, and wrote plays as a vehicle for himself. We've already had occasion to note NIGHT MUST FALL, and THE CORN IS GREEN will be turning up in a few years. In his later years he wrote a two-volume autobiography, GEORGE (his real first name) and EMLYN, in which he frankly talked about his relationships with other men and then, after a destructive involvement with a young man who blackmailed him, he married a nice woman and was apparently very happy with her.

 

Walter Brennan will show up two or three times in the 1940s on my supporting actor lists when he is not playing lovable old coots. I would not want to see two or three of his lovable old coot movies back to back.

 

SIDEWALKS OF LONDON has been shown on TCM, as Bogie noted. Tom mentioned the three-dimensional relationship between the street busker played by Charles Laughton and the young pickpocket played by Vivien Leigh, and that's what makes this movie so good. These are complex characters. He trains her to be part of his act, and then she has a chance to go on the legitimate stage. A young man with money (Rex Harrison) falls for her, but are we rooting for Laughton and Leigh as a possible romantic couple?

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Walter Brennan will show up two or three times in the 1940s on my supporting actor lists when he is not playing lovable old coots. I would not want to see two or three of his lovable old coot movies back to back.

 

 

Brennan is one of my favourite character actors. I just don't happen to care for his first two Oscar winning performances. The best that he did as an actor was yet to come, in my opinion.

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Lawrence, I saw St. Martin's Lane more than 20 years ago on some local UHF TV station.

 

The only thing I can compare Charles Laughton's performance to would be the one in the Ruggles of Red Gap. But in St. Martin's he was more vulnerable and honestly pathetic. He really has a remarkable range of Versatility. His relationship on screen with Vivien Leigh was three dimensional. You just couldn't take your eyes off of them. I sure would like to see it again.

 

I've never seen it listed on VHS or dvd.

My VHS copy was recorded off the television by a friend I know only online who sent it to me.

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Tom, thank you for writing about the English THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT, which I had never heard of. Emlyn Williams is an actor I'd like to see more of. He is terrific in a creepy role in THE WALKING STICK many years later. He had a much larger career on stage, and wrote plays as a vehicle for himself. We've already had occasion to note NIGHT MUST FALL, and THE CORN IS GREEN will be turning up in a few years. In his later years he wrote a two-volume autobiography, GEORGE (his real first name) and EMLYN, in which he frankly talked about his relationships with other men and then, after a destructive involvement with a young man who blackmailed him, he married a nice woman and was apparently very happy with her.

 

 

Thanks very much for the information about Emyln Williams, kingrat.

 

A potentially marvelous performance by him as Caligula in the aborted I, Claudius project of 1937 was never completed, unfortunately. However, you can see Williams's comments about that in the documentary The Epic That Never Was, available for viewing on You Tube now. It is narrated by Dirk Bogarde.

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Tom- - I'll tell you one more thing that Cagney said in his autobiography that really made me think.

 

Being a tap dancer, I thought this was normal; but looking back on what he said maybe it wasn't--

 

Cagney said that in his retirement he never looked at any of his movies except the musicals where he tap danced.???

"Song and dance man" is on his tombstone.

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Yes, Sidewalks of London has been on TCM quite a few times.

 

Sidewalks of London (aka St. Martin's Lane) is available on both DVD and VHS (the tapes on amazon being reasonably priced). It's a film well worth viewing for admirers of both Laughton and Leigh.

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Here are my 1938 unseen titles:

 

Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Affairs of Annabel

Bachelor Mother

The Baker's Wife

The Beachcomber

Blondie

Carefree

The Challenge

The Crowd Roars

Four's a Crowd

Give Me a Sailor

Going Places

The Goldwyn Follies

The Joy of Living

Kidnapped

Little Miss Broadway

Love Finds Andy Hardy

Mollenard

My Lucky Star

Paradise for Three

Port of Shadows

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

The Shining Hour

Sidewalks of London

The Sisters

Suez

They Drive By Night

Too Much Johnson

Topper Takes a Trip

Trade Winds

A Woman's Face

 

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