About Jnpickens

Classic film lover and reporter in North Carolina.

Watching 1939: Miracles for Sale (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:  Miracles for Sale (1939)

Release date:  Aug. 10, 1939

Cast: 
Robert Young, Florence Rice, Frank Craven, Henry Hull, Lee Bowman, Cliff Clark, Astrid Allwyn, Walter Kingsford, Gloria Holden, Frederick Worlock, William Demarest, Harold Minjir, Richard Loo (uncredited), Chester Clute (uncredited), Charles Lane (uncredited)

Studio:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:  Tod Browning

Plot:
Michael Morgan (Young) is a former magician who has created “Miracles for Sale,” a business of selling illusions and magic tricks. Morgan also works to expose fake spiritualists and psychics. Morgan gets caught up in a series of murders after demon expert Dr. Sabbatt (Worlock) is killed. As other murders follow, Morgan and the police are stumped by the mysterious and magical ways people are killed.

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Musical Monday: Zou Zou (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:
Zou Zou (1934) – Musical #609

Studio:
Productions Arys

Director: Marc Allégret

Starring:
Josephine Baker, Jean Gabin, Pierre Larquey, Yvette Lebon, Illa Meery, Palau, Madeleine Guitty

Plot:
Zou Zou (Baker) and Jean (Gabin) were children adopted by Papa Melé (Larquey) and grew up as performers in the circus that he ran. As adults, Jean works as an electrician and Zou Zou, who is in love with Jean, works at a laundry. When Jean is accused of murder, Zou Zou becomes a star in a musical show to earn enough money to help clear his name.

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Watching 1939: The Family Next Door (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 Family Next Door (1939)

Release date:  March 31, 1939

Cast: 
Hugh Herbert, Ruth Donnelly, Joy Hodges, Eddie Quillan, Juanita Quigley, Benny Bartlett, James Bush, Thomas Beck, Cecil Cunningham, Frances Robinson, Delmar Watson (uncredited)

Studio:  Universal Studios

Director:  Joseph Santley

Plot:
Frazzled plumber George Pierce (Herbert) doesn’t make quite enough for his family. His wife, Rose (Donnelly) worries that their lack of money will prevent their oldest daughter Laura (Hodges) from catching a wealthy husband. The family’s home is badly in need of repair and their furniture is old. In an effort to look like they are in the social scene, Rose rents fancy furniture for their home to throw a party, and also invests in a construction deal her son Sammy (Quillan) is in. Rose’s cupid plans for Laura backfire, the land Sammy was sold is faulty, and her two youngest children (Quigley, Barlett) are constantly in trouble.

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Musical Monday: The Singing Kid (1936)

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 Singing Kid – Musical #613

Studio:
Warner Bros.

Director:
William Keighley

Starring:
Al Jolson, Sybil Jason, Beverly Roberts, Edward Everette Horton, Allen Jenkins, Lyle Talbot, Mary Treen (uncredited), Grady Sutton (uncredited), Milton Kibbee (uncredited), Hattie McDaniel (uncredited), Dennis O’Keefe (uncredited)
Himself: Cab Calloway, The Yacht Club Boys, Wini Shaw

Plot:
Singer and performer Al Jackson (Jolson) loses both his singing voice and all of his money, due to a tax mix-up. Al leaves the city and heads to the country for a rest. He meets Ruth Haines (Roberts) and her niece Sybil (Jason), who rent him their country home. Ruth is an aspiring playwright, who Al falls for while trying to help with her career. Sybil wins over Al’s friends (Horton, Jenkins).

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Watching 1939: Intermezzo, A Love Story (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: Intermezzo, A Love Story (1939)

Release date: Oct. 6, 1939

Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Leslie Howard, Edna Best, John Halliday, Cecil Kellaway, Ann E. Todd, Enid Bennett, Douglas Scott

Studio: Selznik International Pictures

Director: Gregory Ratoff

Plot:
Successful concert violinist Holger Brandt (Howard) returns home to his wife (Best) and children (Scott, Todd) after a concert tour. He falls for his daughter’s piano teacher Anita Hoffman (Bergman). Holger leaves his wife and goes on tour with Anita.

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Musical Monday: Les Girls (1957)

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:
Les Girls – Musical #80

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
George Cukor

Starring:
Gene Kelly, Mitzi Gaynor, Kay Kendall, Taina Elg, Jacques Bergerac, Leslie Phillips, Henry Daniel, Patrick Macnee, Barrie Chase (uncredited)

Plot:
Performer Sybil Wren (Kendall) is on trial for libel after she releases a tell-all book. While on the stand, she tells the story of her days with the traveling act Les Girls, led by Barry Nichols (Kelly) and co-starring with two other dancers Joy Henderson (Gaynor) and Angèle Ducros (Elg). Sybil’s book accuses Angèle of having an affair with Barry, while Angèle accuses Sybil of the same. Each person retrospectively tells their side of the story.

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Watching 1939: Mad Youth (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:  Mad Youth (1939)

Release date:  July 1939

Cast:  Mary Ainslee, Betty Compson, Willy Castello, Betty Atkinson, Tommy Wonder, Lorelei Readoux, Margaret Fealy, Donald Kerr
Jitter Bugs: Ray Hirsch, Patty Lacey, Eugene Taylor, Aileen Morris, Maxine Taylor, Pearl Tolson

Studio:  Willis Kent Production

Director:  Melville Shyer

Plot:
Lucy Morgan (Compson) hires a male escort, Count DeHoven (Castello). While her mother is away, teenage Marian Morgan (Ainslee) has a big party while her mom was away, which includes jitterbug dancing and strip poker. When Lucy returns home with the Count, he falls for Marian. When Marian and Lucy have a falling out over the Count, Marian decides to go live with Helen, which ends up being a marriage-for-hire and sex trafficking organization.

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