Watching 1939: Each Dawn I Die (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: Each Dawn I Die (1939)

Release date: July 22, 1939

Cast: James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan, Victor Jury, Louis Jean Heydt, Alan Baxter, Maxie Rosenbloom, Stanley Ridges, Paul Hurst, Thurston Hall, Willard Robertson, Edward Pawley, Pete Wray, George Brancroft

Studio: Warner Bros.

Director: William Keighley

Plot:
Reporter Frank Ross (Cagney) is hot on the trail of a story that will expose corruption in the district attorney’s office. To stop him from writing further, the district attorney’s frames him in a murder and Frank lands in jail.

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Musical Monday: Love Me or Leave Me (1955)

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:
Love Me or Leave Me – Musical #39

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director: Charles Vidor

Starring:
Doris Day, James Cagney, Cameron Mitchell, Robert Keith, Tom Tully, Harry Bellaver, Richard Gaines, Claude Stroud, Audrey Young, Dorothy Abbott, Veda Ann Borg, Robert Dix (uncredited), Jay Adler,

Plot:
Biographical musical on Ruth Etting (Day). Etting has dreams of becoming a singer. Etting is discovered by gangster Marty Snyder (Cagney) after she is fired as a taxi dancer. Using his force, Snyder helps Etting get singing bookings. Etting’s talent carries other offers, but Snyder still continues to control Etting’s life and career from Broadway to Hollywood, including having her marry him. Etting is also in love with her piano player Johnny Alderman (Mitchell), but is trapped by Snyder.

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Saying goodbye to Doris Day

On the first day of eighth grade in 2002, I was a changed girl.

I was sporting contact lenses after wearing glasses for years, and I had a new favorite actress that changed my life over the summer: Doris Day.

I excitedly asked my friends as we walked through the halls if they had seen “Pillow Talk” (1959). Only one friend, Chelsey, had but most hadn’t. I think this is when I started to realize I was different from the other middle school kids … but I didn’t care.

Doris continued to affect my day-to-day life. I sought out her movies, and I saw the majority of them when she was the Turner Classic Movies Star of the Month in January 2003. “Romance on the High Seas,” “It Happened to Jane” and “On Moonlight Bay” became some of my favorite films. I listened to her music and tried to sing like her, and checked her autobiography out from the library. I even tried to mimic her behavior in films, such as wanting to learn how to play the ukulele like she does in “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” (1960).

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Musical Monday: Maytime in Mayfair (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 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Maytime in Mayfair (1949)– Musical #594

Studio:
Herbert Wilcox Productions

Director:
Herbert Wilcox

Starring:
Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Peter Graves, Nicholas Phipps, Thora Hird, Michael Shepley, Tom Walls, Mona Washbourne

Plot:
Michael Gore-Brown (Wilding) is a broke aristocrat who inherits the fancy lady’s dress shop in the fashionable neighborhood, Mayfair. Michael is planning to sell the shop until he meets and falls in love with the shop’s owner and designer Eileen (Neagle). He tries to run the shop on his own but realizes he needs Eileen to compete with another sophisticated shop owner, D’Arcy Davenport (Graves).

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Musical Monday: The Girl from Mexico (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 Girl from Mexico (1939)

Release date:  June 2, 1939

Cast:  Lupe Velez, Donald Woods, Leon Errol, Linda Hayes, Donald MacBride, Edward Raquello, Elisabeth Risdon, Ward Bond

Studio:  RKO Studios

Director:  Leslie Goodwins

Plot:
Dennis Lindsay (Woods) is an advertising businessman who goes to Mexico to find a singer for a client. He finds quick-tempered Carmelita Fuentes (Velez) and brings her back to New York to audition. While in New York, Carmelita explores the city with Dennis’s Uncle Matt (Errol) and gets into trouble. All the while, Dennis falls in love with Carmelita, but the problem is that he’s engaged (Hayes).

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Musical Monday: The Student Prince (1954)

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:
The Student Prince – Musical #467

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director: Richard Thorpe

Starring:
Ann Blyth, Edmund Purdom, John Ericson, Louis Calhern, Edmund Gwenn, S.Z. Sakall, Betta St. John, John Williams, Evelyn Varden, Richard Anderson, John Hoyt, John Qualen, Mario Lanza (singing voice)

Plot:
Prince Karl Franz (Purdom) is set to marry Princess Johanna (St. John) to help his kingdom financially. When the princess finds Prince Karl to be stuffy and unfeeling, he is sent by the King (Calhern) to Heidelberg to study and also learn how to be a human being. While at the university, Prince Karl falls in love with a barmaid, Kathy (Blyth), he has to choose between love and duty.

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Watching 1939: Blondie Brings Up Baby (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:  Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939)

Release date:  Nov. 8, 1939

Cast:  Penny Singleton, Arthur Lake, Larry Simms, Jonathan Hale, Danny Mummert, Daisy the Dog, Peggy Ann Garner, Robert Middlemass, Olin Howland, Fay Helm, Roy Gordon, Grace Stafford, Helen Jerome Eddy, Irving Bacon, Bruce Bennett (uncredited), Willie Best (uncredited), Robert Sterling (uncredited), Ian Wolfe (uncredited)

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Director:  Frank R. Strayer

Plot:
A traveling salesman (Howland) convinces Blondie (Singleton) that Baby Dumpling is a genius after he takes a test. Blondie and Dagwood (Lake) immediately enroll him in school. Meanwhile, at the office, Dagwood flubs a deal when he changes the architecture of an apartment building his company is designing.

1939 Notes:
• The fourth Blondie film of the 28 film series from 1938 to 1950.
• One of two films Peggy Ann Garner made in 1939. The other was “In Name Only.” It was Garner’s third film.
• Three Blondie films were released in 1939.

My review: Searching for the “1939 feature”:
“Blondie Brings Up Baby” is the last of three Blondie films released in 1939. But these three were just a drop in the bucket of the 28 films made based on the Blondie comic strips.

In “Blondie Brings Up Baby,” the plot seems that it would revolve around Baby Dumpling being declared a genius, but the plot shifts to losing Daisy while Baby Dumpling is at school and the genius plot is lost. A smattering also focuses on Dagwood losing his job.

Dagwood’s boss Mr. Ditfor hers always gets mad at Dagwood because he’s not very smart. But let’s face it, Mr. Dithers should take responsibility for hiring such a knucklehead.

The plot and comedy are no different than the other films in the series, however, this film has a special appearance from an actor – future star Peggy Ann Garner.

Just in her third film, Garner plays a little girl who is wheelchairbound after an illness. She is given Daisy the Dog and then she and Baby Dumpling play together. Rather than being goofy, Garner’s scenes were rather sweet because then she walks again.

I think “Blondie Brings Up Baby” may be a little better than others because it’s more focused on the children rather than the adults. Outside of the storyline, Peggy Ann Garner is the bright spot of this short film, even though the film is short.

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