Watching 1939: Fangs of the Wild (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: 
Fangs of the Wild (1939)

Release date: 
July 1939

Cast: 
Dennis Moore, Luana Walters, Tom London, Ted Adams, Mae Busch, Rin Tin Tin Jr., Martin Spellman, Jimmy Aubrey, George Chesebro, Bud Osborne, Frank LaRue

Studio: 
Metropolitan Pictures Corporation

Director: 
Raymond K. Johnson

Plot:
Foxes are stolen from a fox farm and police cannot crack the case. Don Brady (Moore) is brought in to investigate undercover. Don pretends to be on summer vacation in Summer Valley with his nephew Buddy (Spellman) and his German Shepherd dog Rinty (Rin Tin Tin Jr.). There is a case of mistaken identity when another German Shepherd gets involved in the case.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: Charlie Chan in Reno (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: 
Charlie Chan in Reno (1939)

Release date: 
May 31, 1939

Cast: 
Sidney Toler, Ricardo Cortez, Phyllis Brooks, Slim Summerville, Kane Richmond, Pauline Moore, Kay Linaker, Louise Henry, Victor Sen Yung (billed as Sen Yung), Charles D. Brown, Iris Wong, Robert Lowery, Virginia Sale (uncredited)

Studio: 
20th Century Fox

Director: 
Norman Foster

Plot:
Mary Whitman (Moore) heads to Reno for a divorce and stays in a hotel for women waiting on their divorce run by Vivian Wells (Brooks) and Dr. Ainsley (Cortez). Upon arrival, Mary encounters Jeanne Bently (Henry), who has broken up Mary’s marriage and will be marrying her ex-husband. That night, Jeanne is found dead, and Mary is accused. Mary’s soon-to-be ex-husband Curtis (Richmond) calls their friend detective Charlie Chan (Toler) to help investigate the case.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: Stronger Than Desire (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: 
Stronger Than Desire (1939)

Release date: 
June 30, 1939

Cast: 
Virginia Bruce, Walter Pidgeon, Lee Bowman, Ann Dvorak, Ilka Chase, Ann E. Todd (billed as Ann Todd), Rita Johnson, Richard Lane, Paul Stanton, Ferike Boros, Barbara Bedford (uncredited), Tom Neal (uncredited),

Studio: 
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director: 
Leslie Fenton

Plot:
Elizabeth Flagg (Bruce) is the wife of successful lawyer Tyler Flagg (Pidgeon). Tyler stays busy with his cases and Elizabeth gets bored. To pass the time, she is courted by Michael McLain (Bowman). On the eve of traveling to Europe with her family, Michael blackmails Elizabeth for letters she wrote him. She shoots him, but Michael’s wife Eva (Dvorak) is accused of killing her husband.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: On Trial (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:  On Trial (1939)

Release date: 
April 4, 1939

Cast: 
Margaret Lindsay, John Litel, Edward Norris, Janet Chapman, James Stephenson, Larry Williams, Nedda Harrigan, John Ridgely (uncredited)

Studio: 
Warner Bros.

Director: 
Terry O. Morse

Plot:
Robert Strickland (Litel) is on trial for killing Gerald Trask (Stephenson), who was his best friend. Stickland’s attorney is young and inexperienced Arbuckle (Norris), who took the case to further his career. The film follows the testimonies of Trask’s wife (Harrigan), Trask’s assistant (Williams), Strickland’s six-year-old daughter (Chapman), and Strickland’s wife (Lindsay).

Continue reading

Watching 1939: Boy Slaves (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:  Boy Slaves (1939)

Release date:  Feb. 2, 1939

Cast: 
Anne Shirley, Roger Daniel, James McCallion, Alan Baxter, Johnny Fitzgerald, Walter Ward, Charles Powers, Walter Tetley, Frank Malo, Paul White, Arthur Hohl, Charles Lane, Irving Bacon (uncredited), DeForest Covan (uncredited), Olin Howland (uncredited), Helen MacKellar (uncredited)

Studio:  RKO Radio Pictures

Director:  P.J. Wolfson

Plot:
Jesse (Daniel) runs away from home to help earn more money for his family. He falls in with a gang of boys led by Tim (McCallion). Thinking he’s helping the group, Jesse is responsible for the group working in a turpentine work camp.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: The Saint Strikes Back (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 Saint Strikes Back (1939)

Release date:  March 8, 1939

Cast:  George Sanders, Wendy Barrie, Jonathan Hale, Jerome Cowan, Barry Fitzgerald, Neil Hamilton, Robert Elliott, Russell Hopton, Edward Gargan, Nella Walker, James Burke, Willie Best

Studio:  RKO Radio Pictures

Director:  John Farrow

Plot:
On New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, an underground leader is killed at a nightclub celebration. Simon Templar, the Saint, (Sanders) and Val Travers (Barrie) are both connected to the killing and were seen by witnesses. New York police inspector Henry Fernack (Hale) is enlisted to help solve the gangland crime. Templar works with Inspector Fernack to solve the crime and clear Travers’ name.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: Full Confession (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:
Full Confession (1939)

Release date:
Sept. 8, 1939

Cast:
Victor McLaglen, Sally Eilers, Joseph Calleia, Barry Fitzgerald, Elisabeth Risdon, Pamela Blake (as Adele Pearce), Malcolm ‘Bud’ McTaggart, George Humbert (uncredited)

Studio:
RKO Studios

Director:
John Farrow

Plot:
Near Christmas, Pat McGinnis (McLaglen) kills a police officer during an attempted robbery, but then is is arrested for stealing a fur coat (to throw police off the trail of his other crime) and sent to prison for the theft. Months later, night watchman Michael O’Keefe (Fitzgerald) is arrested for being drunk and disruptive while celebrating his son’s wedding. While arrested, police hold O’Keefe for the murder of a police officer who was shot with his gun, which also had his fingerprints on it. While McGinnis is working toward parol, O’Keefe is going to be sent to the electric chair. Priest Father Loma (Calleia) tries to help both men, receives a confession that could help O’Keefe, but struggles with his religious ethics of sharing that confession or not.

Continue reading