Watching 1939: Jamaica Inn (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.

jam inn1939 film:
Jamaica Inn (1939)

Release date:
May 12, 1939

Cast:
Charles Laughton, Robert Newton, Maureen O’Hara, Leslie Banks, Marie Ney, Emlyn Williams

Studio:
Production company: Mayflower Pictures Corp.
Distribution company: Paramount Pictures

Director:
Alfred Hitchcock

Plot:
With both of her parents dead, Mary Yellan (O’Hara) travels to a coastal Cornish village to live with her aunt (Ney) who lives at Jamaica Inn. When Mary arrives, she realizes that her uncle (Banks) is involved in a group of criminals who cause ships to wreck so they can can rob them. Mary rescues Jem Trehearne (Newton) and she turns to the town squire Sir Humphrey Pengallan (Laughton) for help. This may or may not be a good idea.

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Musical Monday: Tickle Me (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:
Tickle Me (1965) – Musical #677

tickle me 3

Studio:
Allied Artists

Director:
Norman Taurog

Starring:
Elvis Presley, Julie Adams, Jocelyn Lane, Jack Mullaney, Merry Anders, Bill Williams, Edward Faulkner, Connie Gilchrist, Barbara Werle, Allison Hayes, Grady Sutton

Plot:
Lonnie Beale (Presley) is a down on his luck rodeo performer. He’s hired by Vera Radford (Adams) to work on her health ranch, where all of the female residents fall for Lonnie. But Lonnie has eyes for fitness instructor Pam (Lane), who keeps running into trouble and having her house raided by thieves who want her grandfather’s inheritance.

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Watching 1939: Mystery of the White Room (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.

Mystery-of-the-White-Room-19391939 film:
Mystery of the White Room (1939)

Release date:
March 17, 1939

Cast:
Bruce Cabot, Helen Mack, Joan Woodburry, Constance Worth, Tom Dugan, Mabel Todd, Thomas E. Jackson, Addison Richards, Roland Drew, Frank Reicher, Frank Puglia, Don Porter

Studio:
Universal Pictures

Director:
Otis Garrett

Plot:
During a surgery in a hospital, the lights shot off and when they are turned back on, a high profile physician is dead. Dr. Bob Clayton (Cabot) helps Sgt. Spencer (Jackson) unravel the case.

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Musical Monday: Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round (1934)

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:
Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round (1934) – Musical #682

transatlantic merry go round

Studio:
United Artists

Director:
Benjamin Stoloff

Starring:
Jack Benny, Gene Raymond, Nancy Carroll, Patsy Kelly, Ralph Morgan, Sydney Howard, Mitzi Green, Sydney Blackmer, Shirley Grey, Sam Hardy, Shirley Grey, William Boyd, Carlyle Moore Jr.
Themselves: The Boswell Sisters, Jimmy Grier and His Orchestra, Jean Sargeant

Plot:
When someone is murdered on ship, the plot looks back 48 hours before the murder when a cruise ship is boarding. Some of the passengers include the entertainers led by Chad Denby (Benny). The ship passengers includes the show’s leading lady Sally (Carroll) and her brother (Moore) who have gambling debits, and a jewel robber (Raymond).

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Watching 1939: Daughters Courageous (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:
Daughters Courageous (1939)

Release date:
June 23, 1939

Cast:
Fay Bainter, Claude Rains, John Garfield, Priscilla Lane, Rosemary Lane, Lola Lane, Gale Page, Jeffrey Lynn, May Robson, Dick Foran, Frank McHugh, George Humbert

Studio:
Warner Bros.

Director:
Michael Curtiz

Plot:
After her husband left 20 years ago, Nan Masters (Bainter) has been raising her four daughters on her own ever since: Tinka (Rosemary Lane), Linda (Lola Lane), Cora (Page) and Buff (Priscilla Lane). The sisters are high spirited, adore their mother and have fun with their boyfriends (Lynn, Foran, McHugh). Nan decides to remarry and gets engaged to her Sam Sloane (Crisp), who has been a fixture in the family for 12 years. Shortly after their engagement, Nan’s ex-husband Jim Masters (Rains) turns up in the home; turning the household upside down.

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Musical Monday: High School Hero (1946)

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.

high school heroThis week’s musical:
High School Hero (1946) – Musical #674

Studio:
Monogram Pictures

Director:
Arthur Dreifuss

Starring:
The Teenagers: Freddie Stewart, June Preisser, Jackie Moran, Noel Neill, Anne Rooney, Warren Mills
Adults: Milton Kibbee, Belle Mitchell, Douglas Fowley, Dick Elliott, Lita Baron (billed as Isabelita), Leonard Penn, Pierre Watkin
Themselves: Freddie Slack, Jan Savitt

Plot:
The Whitney High School football team has never beat Fairview High School in a football game. That isn’t the school’s only issues. Editor of the school newspaper Betty Rogers (Neill) is concerned the paper will be shut down, because of low circulation and no news. Football player and performer Freddie Trimble (Stewart) is also distressed because the students are being replaced by professional talent in the town bizarre. The teens get into trouble while they try to solve the issues. Freddie tries to get Jan Savitt (himself) and Chi-Chi (Baron) to perform at the bizarre, and Freddie’s girlfriend thinks he’s cheating on him. And Dodie Rogers (Preisser) disguises as a boy to help the football team win.

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Watching 1939: Boys’ Reformatory (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:
Boys’ Reformatory (1939)

Release date:
May 1, 1939

Cast:
Frankie Darro, Grant Withers, Lillian Elliott, Frank Coghlan Jr., David Durand, Warren McCollum, Ben Welden, Pat Flaherty, George Offerman Jr.

Studio:
Monogram Pictures

Director:
Howard Bretherton

Plot:
Tommy Ryan (Darro) has lived with the O’Mearas most of his life since becoming an orphan. He views Mrs. O’Meara (Elliott) as his mother and thinks of Eddie O’Meara (Coghlan Jr.) as his brother. When Eddie gets mixed up with a group of rough teenagers and goes in on a fur theft job, Tommy takes the blame, not wanting to break the heart of Mrs. O’Meara. Tommy is sentenced with serving time in reform school until he’s 21 years old, and he makes Eddie promise that he has to stay out of trouble as a trade. However, Eddie also ends up in the reformatory.

boys reformatory2

Frank Coghlan Jr., Frankie Darro and David Durand

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Musical Monday: Song of the Open Road (1944)

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.

song of the open roadThis week’s musical:
Song of the Open Road (1944) – Musical #679

Studio:
United Artists

Director:
S. Sylvan Simon

Starring:
Jane Powell, Regis Toomey, Reginald Denny, Rose Hobart, Jackie Moran, Bonita Granville, Peggy O’Neill, Bill Christy, Hugh Beaumont, Irving Bacon (uncredited), Edward Gargan (uncredited), Irene Tedrow (uncredited)
Themselves in cameo appearances: Edgar Bergan, Charlie McCarthy, W.C. Fields, Sammy Kaye and His Orchestra, the Condos Brothers (Nick Condos, Steve Condos), Chuck Faulkner Band

Plot:
When child actress Jane Powell (Powell) meets a group of kids from the American Youth Hostels while making a picture, she realizes the fun she’s missing out on while having a busy movie schedule. Tired of the pressures of movie making, Jane runs away and joins another youth hostel under a different name.

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Watching 1939: Here I Am a Stranger (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.

here i am stranger41939 film:
Here I Am a Stranger (1939)

Release date:
Sept. 29, 1939

Cast:
Richard Greene, Richard Dix, Brenda Joyce, Roland Young, Gladys George, George Zucco, Kay Aldridge (billed as Katherine Aldridge), Russell Gleason, Edward Norris, Henry Kolker

Studio:
20th Century Fox

Director:
Roy Del Ruth

Plot:
When David (Greene) was a baby, his mother Clara (George) took David and left her husband Duke (Dix), because he couldn’t keep a job and was an alcoholic. Clara later marries a wealthy man and David grows up in society; eventually starting college at Stafford University. While at Stafford, David meets Professor Daniels (Young) and his daughter Simpson (Joyce). Professor Daniels knew David’s real father and speaks highly of him as an athlete and writer. David seeks out his father and their relationship changes some of his views.

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Pages to Screen: Light in the Piazza (1962)

As soon as I started reading the book, I could see the story playing out in my head just as it does in the movie.

When Elizabeth Spencer’s 1960 novella “Light in the Piazza” was adapted for film, the movie is nearly identical to the original printed word. This doesn’t often happen.

In the opening pages, Margaret Johnson and her daughter Clara explore a piazza. Clara loses her hat causing her to meet Fabrizio — just like in the film.

From page one, this Italian love story was a much needed respite after finishing Glendon Swarthout’s book “Where the Boys Are.”

The book “Light in the Piazza” was a turning point in the career of Mississippi-born author, Elizabeth Spencer; featuring many firsts for her. It was her first novel not set in her home state of Mississippi, and it was her first book that featured a female protagonist.

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“The way I was brought up. It was considered that men did all the interesting things out in the world and women were pretty much reduced to a domestic pattern or minor careers,” Spencer was quoted in her Washington Post obituary. “The whole idea of a woman in the arts must have horrified my family at first.”

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