Watching 1939: Coast Guard (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.

coast guard21939 film:
Coast Guard (1939)

Release date:
Aug. 4, 1939

Cast:
Randolph Scott, Frances Dee, Ralph Bellamy, Walter Connolly, Warren Hymer, Robert Middlemass, Stanley Andrews, Edmund MacDonald, Ann Doran (uncredited), Craig Stevens (uncredited), Mala (uncredited), Dorothy Comingore (uncredited), Billy Lee (uncredited), J. Farrell MacDonald (uncredited), Marla Shelton (uncredited)

Studio:
Columbia Pictures

Director:
Edward Ludwig

Plot:
Lt. Ray Dower (Bellamy) and Lieutenant Thomas “Speed” Bradshaw (Scott) are pals in the Coast Guard. Ray commands a cutter and Speed is an ace pilot. After rescuing Tobias Bliss (Connolly), Ray meets his granddaughter Nancy (Dee) and is smitten. However, their early courtship is cut short while Ray has to go on a mission. Speed looks after Nany while he’s away, and also falls in love though announcing that he is not the marrying kind.

coast guard

1939 Notes:
• First film of actor Craig Stevens. He plays an uncredited role of a sailor.
• By the numbers:
– Randolph Scott was in five films in 1939.
– The only film Frances Dee was in 1939.
– Ralph Bellamy was in three films in 1939.
– Robert Middlemass was in 16 films in 1939.
– Stanley Andrews was in 16 films in 1939.
– Edmund MacDonald was in three films in 1939.
– Craig Stevens was in two films in 1939.
– Mala was in three films in 1939.
– Ann Doran was in 17 films in 1939.
– Dorothy Comingore was in 12 films in 1939.
– Billy Lee was in 10 films in 1939.
– J. Farrell MacDonald was in 11 films in 1939.
– Marla Shelton was in three films in 1939.

coast guard3

Other trivia:
• Frances Dee replaced Gene Tierney in the role of Nancy.

My review: Searching for the “1939 feature”:
This is an enjoyable but incredibly predictable film.

As soon as you see Ralph Bellamy falling for the leading lady, you know his womanizing pal, played by Randolph Scott, will end up with the lady. Poor Ralph Bellamy, he seldom gets the girl, does he?

Bellamy and Scott play Ray and Speed who are both in the Coast Guard, and both fall for Nancy Bliss, played by Frances Dee. When Ray is called out on a mission, Speed keeps an eye on Nancy and they fall in love. Even though Speed tells Nancy he’d be no good at marriage, they marry and Nancy finds he’s right.

While Bellamy’s roles have the reputation of never ending up with the girl, doesn’t it usually seem that they would have been better off staying with him?

While it’s a predictable film, it is still fairly enjoyable, and — as always — Frances Dee is lovely.

This film is notable because it was the first film role of Craig Stevens.

It’s only 75 minutes, but areas (particularly the end) seemed to drag a bit.

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