Watching 1939: Five Came 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:  Five Came Back (1939)

Release date:  June 23, 1939

Cast: 
Chester Morris, Lucille Ball, Wendy Barrie, John Carradine, Allen Jenkins, Joseph Calleia, C. Aubrey Smith, Kent Taylor, Patric Knowles, Elisabeth Risdon, Casey Johnson, Dick Hogan, Pedro de Cordoba, Frank Faylen

Studio:  RKO Studios

Director:  John Farrow

Plot:
A Coast Airlines flight from the United States takes off to Panama with 12 passengers. The plane crashes in the jungle, because of a storm. Piloted by Bill (Morris) and Joe (Taylor), the plane is filled with several personalities:
• An elderly couple (Smith, Risdon)
• A wealthy man eloping with his secretary (Barrie, Knowles)
• A police officer (Carradine) with an anarchist prisoner (Calleia)
• A woman with a past (Ball)
• A gangster (Jenkins) chaperoning the child (Johnson) of his boss
• Larry (Hogan) the steward
Of the survivors, the plane can only take off with five passengers. The survivors have to decide who returns and who stays in the jungle, which is inhabited by head hunters.

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Watching 1939: Naughty But Nice (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:  Naughty But Nice (1939)
Musical No. 610

Release date:  July 1, 1939

Cast: 
Ann Sheridan, Dick Powell, Gale Page, Helen Broderick, Zasu Pitts, Ronald Reagan, Allen Jenkins, Maxie Rosenbloom, Jerry Colonna, Luis Alberni, Vera Lewis, Elizabeth Dunne, William B. Davidson, Halliwell Hobbes, Granville Bates, Hobart Cavanaugh (uncredited), John Ridgely (uncredited), Peter Lind Hayes (uncredited), Daisy Bufford (uncredited)

Studio:  Warner Bros.

Director:  Ray Enright

Plot:
Music Professor Donald Hardwick teaches at Winfield College and is opposed to swing and jazz music. Donald travels to New York to publish a symphony and stays with his Aunt Martha (Broderick), who is the black sheep of the family because she married a jazz saxophone player. Donald falls out of favor with his dean (Hobbes) when he’s tricked by lyricist Linda McKay (Page) and singer Zelda Manion (Sheridan) to write swing music.

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Watching 1939: Only Angels Have Wings (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:  Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Release date:  May 12, 1939

Cast: 
Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, Richard Barthelmess, Thomas Mitchell, Allyn Joslyn, Sig Ruman, John Carroll, Noah Beery Jr., Milisa Sierra, Pat Flaherty, Don ‘Red’ Barry (billed as Donald Barry), Victor Kilian

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Director:  Howard Hawks

Plot:
Barranca Airways is run by Geoff Carter (Grant) in South America. Geoff and his pilots fly hazardous missions over mountains and in bad weather to carry air mail in and out of South America. His closest friend is veteran flyer Kid Dabb (Mithcell). Performer Bonnie Lee (Arthur) gets off a boat one night and meets Geoff and some of the fliers while waiting for her next boat. She ends up staying; intrigued by the flying business and Geoff. The business is complicated when Bat MacPherson (Barthelmess) and his wife Judy (Hayworth) arrive. Bat previously bailed out of a crashing plane which had the brother Kidd (Mitchell), and Bat’s wife is also Geoff’s old flame.

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Watching 1939: The Saint in London (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 in London (1939)

Release date:  June 30, 1939

Cast:  George Sanders, Sally Gray, David Burns, Gordon McLeod, Henry Oscar, Athene Seyler, John Abbott, Ralph Truman, Charles Carson

Studio:  RKO Radio Pictures

Director:  John Paddy Carstairs

Plot:
Simon Templar (Sanders) is keeping an eye on businessman Bruno Lang (Oscar), as he suspects him for leading a counterfeiting ring. Socialite Penny Parker (Gray) tags along on Templar’s investigations for excitement, and an American pickpocket Dugan (Burns) helps out Templar on the case.

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Watching 1939: Over the Moon (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:  Over the Moon (1939)

Release date:  Oct. 13, 1939

Cast:  Merle Oberon, Rex Harrison, Ursula Jeans, Robert Douglas, Louis Borel, Peter Haddon, David Tree, Carl Jaffe, Mackenzie Ward, Ethel Griffies (uncredited)
As themselves: Elisabeth Welch

Studio:  London Film Productions

Director:  Thornton Freeland

Plot:
Jane (Oberon) was a formerly wealthy girl who can’t make ends meet and is in love with the local doctor Dr. Freddie Jarvis (Harrison). However, Jane learns that she has inherited £18 million. Dr. Jarvis isn’t interested in being involved with Jane, because her money would ruin his ambition and her fun. Fortune hunters chase Jane, all the while she pines for Dr. Jarvis.

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Watching 1939: Each Dawn I Die (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: Each Dawn I Die (1939)

Release date: July 22, 1939

Cast: James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan, Victor Jury, Louis Jean Heydt, Alan Baxter, Maxie Rosenbloom, Stanley Ridges, Paul Hurst, Thurston Hall, Willard Robertson, Edward Pawley, Pete Wray, George Brancroft

Studio: Warner Bros.

Director: William Keighley

Plot:
Reporter Frank Ross (Cagney) is hot on the trail of a story that will expose corruption in the district attorney’s office. To stop him from writing further, the district attorney’s frames him in a murder and Frank lands in jail.

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Watching 1939: Blondie Brings Up Baby (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:  Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939)

Release date:  Nov. 8, 1939

Cast:  Penny Singleton, Arthur Lake, Larry Simms, Jonathan Hale, Danny Mummert, Daisy the Dog, Peggy Ann Garner, Robert Middlemass, Olin Howland, Fay Helm, Roy Gordon, Grace Stafford, Helen Jerome Eddy, Irving Bacon, Bruce Bennett (uncredited), Willie Best (uncredited), Robert Sterling (uncredited), Ian Wolfe (uncredited)

Studio:  Columbia Pictures

Director:  Frank R. Strayer

Plot:
A traveling salesman (Howland) convinces Blondie (Singleton) that Baby Dumpling is a genius after he takes a test. Blondie and Dagwood (Lake) immediately enroll him in school. Meanwhile, at the office, Dagwood flubs a deal when he changes the architecture of an apartment building his company is designing.

1939 Notes:
• The fourth Blondie film of the 28 film series from 1938 to 1950.
• One of two films Peggy Ann Garner made in 1939. The other was “In Name Only.” It was Garner’s third film.
• Three Blondie films were released in 1939.

My review: Searching for the “1939 feature”:
“Blondie Brings Up Baby” is the last of three Blondie films released in 1939. But these three were just a drop in the bucket of the 28 films made based on the Blondie comic strips.

In “Blondie Brings Up Baby,” the plot seems that it would revolve around Baby Dumpling being declared a genius, but the plot shifts to losing Daisy while Baby Dumpling is at school and the genius plot is lost. A smattering also focuses on Dagwood losing his job.

Dagwood’s boss Mr. Ditfor hers always gets mad at Dagwood because he’s not very smart. But let’s face it, Mr. Dithers should take responsibility for hiring such a knucklehead.

The plot and comedy are no different than the other films in the series, however, this film has a special appearance from an actor – future star Peggy Ann Garner.

Just in her third film, Garner plays a little girl who is wheelchairbound after an illness. She is given Daisy the Dog and then she and Baby Dumpling play together. Rather than being goofy, Garner’s scenes were rather sweet because then she walks again.

I think “Blondie Brings Up Baby” may be a little better than others because it’s more focused on the children rather than the adults. Outside of the storyline, Peggy Ann Garner is the bright spot of this short film, even though the film is short.

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