What a year for movies. All time favorites such as The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind were both released in this great year of film. The year 1939 is said to be by most film historians as the greatest year in film of all time. With just Oz and GWTW the year is already great but let’s take a look at the other marvelous films from amazing year. Movie audiences were quite spoiled this year!
MGM, the king in the studio systems, was the leader in film every other year so it is no surprised they turned out great movies in this year. So, you will notice MGM is quite represented here. But the other studios seemed to also go all out for this year. Everyone did nice work. I hope you enjoy the spam!
The Women had a stunning, talented cast as well as a great director, George Cukor. Since he was removed from directing Gone With the Wind he was available to direct this. And who else really could have? Cukor was great with female driven films such as The Little Women. The film stars the queen of the MGM lot and recently widowed Norma Shearer and her rival Joan Crawford, as well as the great Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine, just to name a few! It is the ultimate catty, bitchy, gossipy film and it is great for it. And what other studio could have made this? No one but MGM.
Let’s take a break from MGM and get into some of Warner Bros. films. MGM was glamour and sparkle, WB was tough and gritty. The reining queen of the WB lot was Bette Davis. Among all of the gangster and crime films Bette made women’s pictures. She turned out four great films in 1939 that honestly any actress would be lucky to have in their whole career. The films were, Dark Victory, The Old Maid, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, and Juarez. Dark Victory is in my opinoun Bette’s best film. They didn’t think people would want to see a film where the star dies, they saw it as too depressing but they were proved wrong with Bette’s amazing performance. The death scene was not depressing but touching and peaceful. This years really marked the range Bette had and how amazing she was.
William Holden always talked great about Barbara Stanwyck after the filming of Golden Boy. He was new to films and wasn’t really doing well with this one so Stanwyck would privately help him out with his acting by giving him tips and he improved muchly. She even threatened to walk off the film if they got rid of Holden. So, because of that he always praised her. When she passed away, Holden would place flowers on her grave every year after she died for a while. Golden Boy is a nice little movie with the great Barbara Stanywck and a young curly haired William Holden.
What can be said about Oz that hasn’t already been said. This is a great classics that continues to be immensely popular even 70 years after it has been filmed.
Gone With the Wind, yet another amazing classic and epic film. I watched this as a kid and recently rediscovered it a few years ago and it got me started on my interest in classic film.
This years marks the 70th anniversary of all of these amazing films. Even though they are 70 years old they still live up today as great films in cinema history.
Turner Classic Movies did a documentary on this year which you can buy on the Blu Ray set of The Wizard of Oz or catch it on TCM .