Watching 1939: Raffles (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film: 
Raffles (1939)

Release date: 
Dec. 29, 1939

Cast: 
David Niven, Olivia de Havilland, Dame May Whitty, Dudley Digges, Douglas Walton, E.E. Clive, Lionel Pape, Peter Godfrey, Margaret Seddon

Studio: 
Samuel Goldwyn Productions

Director: 
Sam Wood

Plot:
Charming cricket player A. J. Raffles (Niven) leads a double life. One of an athlete who is invited into high society circles, and another as a jewel thief. Raffles steals jewels and priceless art and gives it to those who are financially in need and could benefit from the reward offered for the item. Raffles’s illegal activities complicate his relationship with his girlfriend Gwen (de Havilland), especially when her brother Bunny (Walton) runs into financial issues, and Raffles plans to steal a priceless necklace to help him out.

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Musical Monday: Bikini Beach (1964)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Bikini Beach (1964) – Musical #278

Studio:
American International Pictures

Director:
William Asher

Starring:
Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Martha Hyer, Keenan Wynn, Don Rickles, Harvey Lembeck, John Ashley, Jody McCrea, Candy Johnson, Donna Loren, Danielle Aubry, Michael Nader, Boris Karloff, Ned Wynn, Janos Prohaska
Themselves: The Pyramids, The Exciters Band, Stevie Wonder (as Little Stevie Wonder)

Plot:
Harvey Huntington Honeywagon III (Wynn) tries to prove that the mental capacity of Amerian teenagers as devolved to that of his chimp, Clyde the Chimp (Prohaska). Schoolteacher Vivien Clements (Hyer) tries to prove Honeywagon wrong. Meanwhile, during summer vacation on the beach, boyfriend and girlfriend Frankie (Avalon) and Dee Dee (Funicello) disagree – she feels he should settle down and get a job and he wants to live fast. Frankie finds competition in a visiting English rock star, Potato Bug (also Avalon).

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Watching 1939: Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film: 
Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (1939)

Release date: 
Nov. 3, 1939

Cast: 
Jean Rogers, Raymond Walburn, Marjorie Rambeau, Glenn Ford, Richard Conte (billed as Nicholas Conte), Eddie Collins, Ward Bond, Irving Bacon, Kay Linaker

Studio: 
20th Century Fox

Director: 
Ricardo Cortez

Plot:
Joe Riley (Ford) leaves New York City to hitchhike across the United States to a 20-acre ranch he bought in Arizona. Along the way he meets drifter Tony Casselli (Conte) who convinces Riley to ride the rails with him. They also meet Spanish refuge Anita Santos (Rogers), who is trying to find her uncle in California. The trio also picks up Prof. B. Townsend Thayer (Walburn) who joins the group as they travel to Arizona. They experience tragedies along the way, and the ranch isn’t quite what Joe expected.

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Musical Monday: Blue Hawaii (1961)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Blue Hawaii (1961) – Musical #3

Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Director:
Norman Taurog

Starring:
Elvis Presley, Joan Blackman, Angela Lansbury, Nancy Walters, Roland Winters, Howard McNear, Steve Brodie, Iris Adrian, John Archer, Jenny Maxwell, Pamela Austin, Darlene Tompkins, Christian Kay, Jose De Vega

Plot:
Chad Gates (Elvis Presley) returns home to Hawaii after serving in the U.S. Army. His parents Fred and Sarah Lee Gates (Winters, Lansbury) are eager for him to join their successful family business, Great Southern Hawaiian Fruit Company. Instead, Chad wants to break out on his own and be a tour guide of the islands. He works for the agency where his girlfriend Maile Duval (Blackman) works. His first assignment is to show the islands to teacher and a group of teenagers.

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Musical Monday: A Swingin’ Summer (1965)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
A Swingin’ Summer (1965) – Musical #644

Studio:
United Screen Arts

Director:
Robert Sparr

Starring:
James Stacy, William Wellman Jr., Quinn O’Hara, Raquel Welch, Martin West, Mary Mitchel, Allan Jones, Lili Kardell
Themselves: The Righteous Brothers, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Donnie Brooks, The Rip Chords, Gypsy Boots

Plot:
When their summer jobs fall through, Rick (Wellman) and Mickey (Stacy) hatch a plan to run the dance pavilion at Lake Arrowhead. Rick’s girlfriend Cindy (O’Hara) secretly has her father put up the money for the idea so the boys can work that summer – and she can have fun. Rick and Mickey eventually line up top musical acts, like Gary Lewis and the Playboys and The Righteous Brothers. However, lifeguard Turk (West) and his friends are jealous that they didn’t have the idea first and try to sabotage the dance pavilion.

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Watching 1939: Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film: 
Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)

Release date: 
Nov. 2, 1939

Cast: 
Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda, Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins, John Carradine, Jessie Ralph, Arthur Shields, Ward Bond, Russell Simpson, Francis Ford, Kay Linaker, Chief John Big Tree, Eddie Collins, Dorris Bowdon, Beulah Hall Jones, Charles Tannen

Studio: 
20th Century Fox

Director: 
John Ford

Plot:
Set in 1776, wealthy, Albany, NY, woman Lana (Colbert) marries frontiersman Gilbert Martin (Fonda). The two set out to Gil’s farm in Deerfield in the Mohawk Valley of central New York. Lana has a difficult time adjusting to frontier life, but soon the settle into farm life. However, the American Revolution disrupts their lives.

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Musical Monday: Summer Holiday (1948)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Summer Holiday (1948) – Musical #297

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Rouben Mamoulian

Starring:
Mickey Rooney, Gloria DeHaven, Walter Huston, Frank Morgan, Jackie ‘Butch’ Jenkins, Marilyn Maxwell, Agnes Moorehead, Selena Royle, Michael Kirby, Shirley Johns, Hal Hackett, Anne Francis, Howard Freeman, Virginia Brissac, John Alexander

Plot:
Set at the turn of the century in Connecticut, Richard Miller (Rooney) is in love with Muriel McComber (deHaven) and is graduating from high school. Richard has started reading revolutionary literature his summer before starting at Yale. Muriel’s father disapproves and forces the couple to breakup. In his sadness, Richard goes to spend an evening with a chorus girl (Miller) and is served alcohol while underage. After the incident, Richard’s father Nat Miller (Huston) talks with his son and helps him make everything right again. As a sub-plot, Uncle Sid (Morgan), who drinks too much, is in love with Cousin Lily (Moorehead), but is refused by her because of his drinking.

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Musical Monday: Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949) – Musical #14

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Busby Berkeley

Starring:
Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, Gene Kelly, Betty Garrett, Edward Arnold, Jules Munshin, Richard Lane, Tom Dugan, James Burke (uncredited), Sally Forrest (uncredited), Douglas Fowley (uncredited)

Plot:
Set in the early 1900s, K.C. Higgins (Williams) inherits the Chicago Wolves baseball team and the team is shocked when they find out that K.C. is a woman. Pals and part-time vaudeville performers Eddie O’Brien (Kelly) and Dennis Ryan (Sinatra) are on the team. Dennis has a crush on K.C. and Eddie clashes with her because he both wants to date her and doesn’t want a woman leading the team. There are further issues when gambler Joe Lorgan (Arnold) tries to prevent the team from winning the pennant.

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Watching 1939: The Bronze Buckaroo (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film:  The Bronze Buckaroo (1939)

Release date: 
1939

Cast: 
Herb Jeffries (as Herbert Jeffrey), Lucius Brooks, Artie Young, F.E. Miller, Spencer Williams, Clarence Brooks, Lee Calmes, Earle Morris
Themselves: The Four Tones

Studio: 
Sack Amusement Enterprises

Director: 
Richard C. Kahn

Plot:
Bob Blake (Jeffries/Jeffrey) receives a letter from his friend Joe Jackson asking for him to come to visit and to help him. When Bob arrives he meets Joe’s sister Betty (Young) who is shocked that Bob received a letter from her brother. Her brother Joe has been missing for a month after Joe and Betty’s father was killed. Bob sets out to figure out what happened to Joe.

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Musical Monday: Hitting a New High (1937)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Hitting a New High (1937) – Musical #634

Studio:
RKO Radio Pictures

Director:
Raoul Walsh

Starring:
Lily Pons, Jack Oakie, John Howard, Eric Blore, Edward Everett Horton, Eduardo Ciannelli, Luis Alberni, Vinton Hayworth, Leonard Carey

Plot:
Suzette (Pons) as ambitions to be an opera singer, but finds herself singing in Jimmy James’ (Howard) night club jazz band in France. She meets Corny Davis (Oakie), who is the assistant of eccentric rich man, Lucius B. Blynn (Horton), who is always looking for a new singing to promote. Corny tells Suzette to meet them in Africa, where they are heading on Safari. Suzette poses as Oogahunga, the Bird-Girl with a beautiful voice. Lucius brings Suzette/Oogahunga back to the United States to make her an opera star. At the same time they arrive in New York, Jimmy James and his band arrive in New York City, planning on Suzette to sing with his band.

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