Watching 1939: Timber Stampede (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: 
Timber Stampede (1939)

Release date: 
June 30, 1939

Cast: 
George O’Brien, Chill Wills, Marjorie Reynolds, Morgan Wallace, Robert Fiske, Guy Usher, Earl Dwire, Bob Burns, Elmo Lincoln (uncredited)

Studio: 
RKO Radio Pictures

Director: 
David Howard

Plot:
Disguising it as bringing law and order to the west, Jay Jones (Usher) and Foss Dunlap (Wallace) promise to bring a railroad to the town of Wagon Wheel, when really their plan is just to strip the town of its timber. People are also filing fake claims on the land. To help write that Jones and Dunlap are bringing progress, reporter Anne Carr writes the stories they feed her, thinking she’s doing right. Scott Baylor (O’Brien) and his friend Whopper Hatch (Wills) are both cattlemen, and their livelihood is threatened by the changes in town. When Baylor tries to work with the sheriff, the sheriff is killed by one of Jones and Dunlap’s men who then takes the position for himself. Baylor has to investigate on his own.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: First Love (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: 
First Love (1939)

Release date: 
Nov. 8, 1939

Cast: 
Deanna Durbin, Robert Stack, Helen Parrish, Eugene Pallette, Leatrice Joy, Lewis Howard, Mary Treen, Frank Jenks, June Storey, Kathleen Howard, Charles Coleman, Thurston Hall, Marcie Mae Jones

Studio: 
Universal Studios

Director: 
Henry Koster

Plot:
Connie Harding (Durbin) was orphaned when her parents died, and her Cncle James Clinton (Pallette) has been paying for her go to boarding school. When she graduates, Connie goes to New York to live with her uncle and his family – her flighty Aunt Grace (Joy), glamour girl brat cousin Barbara (Parrish) and lazy cousin Walter (Howard). No one seems interested in Connie, who becomes lonely but befriends the household staff (Treen, Howard, Coleman). Connie happens to meet Ted Drake (Stack), while she is doing a favor for Barbara (who bosses her around). Connie develops a crush on Ted and is excited when she is going to attend a ball with her family that the Drakes are throwing. Barbara, who also likes Ted, tries to prevent Connie from going to the ball. But with the help of the servants, Connie is able to attend.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: Sorority House (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: 
Sorority House (1939)

Release date: 
May 5, 1939

Cast: 
Anne Shirley, James Ellison, Barbara Read, Pamela Blake (billed as Adele Pearce), J.M. Kerrigan, Helen Wood, Doris Davenport (Doris Jordan), June Storey, Elisabeth Risdon, Margaret Armstrong, Selmer Jackson, Chill Wills, Marge Champions (uncredited), Frank Sully (uncredited)

Studio: 
RKO Radio Pictures

Director: 
John Farrow

Plot:
Alice Fisher (Shirley) is a smalltown girl who helps her father (Kerrigan) at his grocery store. Nearly thinking she won’t be able to attend Talbot College, her father makes financial sacrifices by using his life savings so that she can attend college. Upon arriving, Alice learns of sororities and is eager to join, as all the girls excitedly discuss rushing. While not wanting to be a social pariah, Alice has to determine if joining the exclusive (and expensive) groups is worthwhile.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: Dancing Co-Ed (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: 
Dancing Co-Ed (1939)

Release date: 
Sept. 29, 1939

Cast: 
Lana Turner, Ann Rutherford, Richard Carlson, Roscoe Karns, Lee Bowman, Thurston Hall, Monty Woolley, Leon Errol, Mary Field, Walter Kingsford, Mary Beth Hughes, June Preisser, Chester Clute, Edward Arnold Jr. (uncredited), Robert Walker (uncredited), Lynn Lewis (uncredited)
Himself: Artie Shaw and his Orchestra

Studio: 
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director: 
S. Sylvan Simon

Plot:
Before starring in another film together, husband and wife dancing duo Freddy (Bowman) and Toddy Tobin (Hughes) discover they are going to have a baby and Toddy has to be replaced in their upcoming film, “Dancing Co-Ed.” In a publicity stunt, the studio announces that they are going to have a contest at colleges across the country to find a dancing student. The only thing is that dancer Patty Marlow (Turner) has already been planted at Midwestern College to win the contest. School newspaper reporter Pug Braddock (Carlson) suspects that the contest is phony and tries to uncover a plant.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: The Great Man Votes (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 Great Man Votes (1939)

Release date: 
Jan. 13, 1939

Cast: 
John Barrymore, Virginia Weidler, Peter Holden, Katharine Alexander, Donald MacBride, Esther Dale, Benny Bartlett, Elisabeth Risdon, Brandon Tynan, Elisabeth Risdon, Granville Bates, Luis Alberni, William Demarest

Studio: 
RKO Radio Pictures

Director: 
Garson Kanin

Plot:
Gregory Vance (Barrymore) was a Harvard graduate and successful college professor. But after his wife died, he became an alcoholic and now works as a nightwatchman, caring for his two children, Joan (Weidler) and Donald (Holden). Joan and Donald still believe their father is a great man. When a political giant, Iron Hat McCarthy (MacBride) is trying to win the election for mayor, Vance is finally treated as a great man when the political machine realizes he holds the deciding vote for the election.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: Raffles (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: 
Raffles (1939)

Release date: 
Dec. 29, 1939

Cast: 
David Niven, Olivia de Havilland, Dame May Whitty, Dudley Digges, Douglas Walton, E.E. Clive, Lionel Pape, Peter Godfrey, Margaret Seddon

Studio: 
Samuel Goldwyn Productions

Director: 
Sam Wood

Plot:
Charming cricket player A. J. Raffles (Niven) leads a double life. One of an athlete who is invited into high society circles, and another as a jewel thief. Raffles steals jewels and priceless art and gives it to those who are financially in need and could benefit from the reward offered for the item. Raffles’s illegal activities complicate his relationship with his girlfriend Gwen (de Havilland), especially when her brother Bunny (Walton) runs into financial issues, and Raffles plans to steal a priceless necklace to help him out.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (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: 
Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (1939)

Release date: 
Nov. 3, 1939

Cast: 
Jean Rogers, Raymond Walburn, Marjorie Rambeau, Glenn Ford, Richard Conte (billed as Nicholas Conte), Eddie Collins, Ward Bond, Irving Bacon, Kay Linaker

Studio: 
20th Century Fox

Director: 
Ricardo Cortez

Plot:
Joe Riley (Ford) leaves New York City to hitchhike across the United States to a 20-acre ranch he bought in Arizona. Along the way he meets drifter Tony Casselli (Conte) who convinces Riley to ride the rails with him. They also meet Spanish refuge Anita Santos (Rogers), who is trying to find her uncle in California. The trio also picks up Prof. B. Townsend Thayer (Walburn) who joins the group as they travel to Arizona. They experience tragedies along the way, and the ranch isn’t quite what Joe expected.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: Drums Along the Mohawk (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: 
Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)

Release date: 
Nov. 2, 1939

Cast: 
Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda, Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins, John Carradine, Jessie Ralph, Arthur Shields, Ward Bond, Russell Simpson, Francis Ford, Kay Linaker, Chief John Big Tree, Eddie Collins, Dorris Bowdon, Beulah Hall Jones, Charles Tannen

Studio: 
20th Century Fox

Director: 
John Ford

Plot:
Set in 1776, wealthy, Albany, NY, woman Lana (Colbert) marries frontiersman Gilbert Martin (Fonda). The two set out to Gil’s farm in Deerfield in the Mohawk Valley of central New York. Lana has a difficult time adjusting to frontier life, but soon the settle into farm life. However, the American Revolution disrupts their lives.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: The Bronze Buckaroo (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 Bronze Buckaroo (1939)

Release date: 
1939

Cast: 
Herb Jeffries (as Herbert Jeffrey), Lucius Brooks, Artie Young, F.E. Miller, Spencer Williams, Clarence Brooks, Lee Calmes, Earle Morris
Themselves: The Four Tones

Studio: 
Sack Amusement Enterprises

Director: 
Richard C. Kahn

Plot:
Bob Blake (Jeffries/Jeffrey) receives a letter from his friend Joe Jackson asking for him to come to visit and to help him. When Bob arrives he meets Joe’s sister Betty (Young) who is shocked that Bob received a letter from her brother. Her brother Joe has been missing for a month after Joe and Betty’s father was killed. Bob sets out to figure out what happened to Joe.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (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: You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (1939)

Release date:
Feb. 17, 1939

Cast:
W.C. Fields, Edgar Bergen, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer Snerd, Constance Moore, John Arledge, James Bush, Thurston Hall, Mary Forbes, Edward Brophy, Arthur Hohl, Irving Bacon (uncredited), Grady Sutton (uncredited)

Studio:
Universal Studios

Director:
George Marshall

Plot:
Larsen E. Whipsnade (Fields) runs a financially failing circus. His children Victoria (Moore) and Phineas (Arledge) are trying to figure out how to help him. Phineas thinks Victoria should marry a rich man, Roger Bel-Goodie (Bush), to help out the family. Victoria visits the circus and meets The Great Edgar (Bergen) and his ventriloquist dummy, Charlie. Though she falls in love with Edgar, she thinks she should marry Roger.

Continue reading