Watching 1939: Sweepstakes Winner (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:  Sweepstakes Winner (1939)

Release date:  May 20, 1939

Marie Wilson, Johnnie Davis, Allen Jenkins, Charley Foy, Jerry Colonna, Granville Bates, Vera Lewis, Frankie Burke, Sam McDaniel

Studio:  Warner Brothers

Director:  William C. McGann

Jennie (Wilson) gets a $1,000 inheritance from her grandfather and is convinced to give it to bookies Tip (Jenkins) and Jinx (Foy) to bet on a horse. She wants to buy a horse named Firefly with the winnings, but Tip and Jinx lose her money. Broke, Jennie gets a job as a waitress but Jinx and Tip convince her to buy an Irish Sweepstakes ticket and she wins.

1939 Notes:
• Marie Wilson was in four films released in 1939.
• Johnnie Davis was in two films released in 1939.
• Allen Jenkins was in five films released in 1939.
• Vera Lewis was in 18 films released in 1939.

Other trivia: 
• Marie Wilson’s post-sweepstakes wardrobe was voted on by 25 Warner Bros. commissary waitresses who selected what clothes they would buy if they won a sweepstakes, according to the film’s Warner Bros. pressbook.

My review: Searching for the “1939 feature”:
As I’ve said before, not every film released in 1939 was an award winning blockbuster. And “Sweepstakes Winner” is a good example of that.

This is a 59 minute Warner Bros. comedy that stars faces we commonly see in Warner pictures but are general in secondary or tertiary roles in the films. Leading roles of “Sweepstakes Winner” include Marie Wilson, who usually plays a supporting character as a dizzy blond; Johnnie Davis, who is best known for performing in “Hollywood Hotel,” and Allen Jenkins, who is a well-known Warner’s character actor, but rarely has a leading role but he does here.

Sure, none of these actors are Ann Sheridan or James Cagney, but they are fun to watch in this film.

This comedy mostly deals with Marie Wilson’s character being too stupid to realize she is being conned by Allen Jenkins and Charles Foy, which can get frustrating. But overall it’s a fast-paced comedy that is enjoyable to watch.

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