Watching 1939: Off the Record (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:  Off the Record (1939)

Release date:  Jan. 21, 1939

Cast: 
Pat O’Brien, Joan Blondell, Bobby Jordan, Alan Baxter, William B. Davidson, Morgan Conway, Moroni Olsen, Tommy Bupp (uncredited), David Gorcey (uncredited), Barbara Pepper (uncredited), Pat Flaherty (uncredited)

Studio: 
Warner Bros.

Director:  James Flood

Plot:
When his mother dies, Mickey Fallon (Jordan) has no one to care for him. Just before he is sent to an orphanage, Mickey’s gambler brother Joe (Baxter) returns home and promises to watch Mickey. Mickey gets involved with Joe’s gambling contacts. Reporter Jane Morgan (Blondell) spots Mickey gambling with pinball machines and writes about it in her column. Her column sparks citywide concern and Mickey will be sent to reform school. Feeling guilty, that he will go to reform school, Jane marries her reporter boyfriend Breezy (O’Brien) so they can adopt Mickey, which brings its own bought of issues.

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Watching 1939: The Lion Has 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:  The Lion Has Wings (1939)

Release date:  Oct. 30, 1939

Cast:  Merle Oberon, Ralph Richardson, June Duprez, Brian Worth, Robert Douglas, Bernard Miles, Anthony Bushell, Austin Trevor

Studio:  London Film Productions and Alexander Korda Film Productions, distributed by United Artists

Director:  Adrian Brunel, Brian Desmond Hurst, Michael Powell

Plot:
Primarily filmed as a documentary mixed with fiction storytelling, the film shows what life in England was like when the country was at peace and not at war. It continues to illustrate how life changed once Great Britain declared war on Germany, and how the English were continuing to keep a “stiff upper lip.” To represent the changes, Mr. Richardson (Richardson) and his wife (Oberon) adapt their lives because of the war. Mr. Richardson joins the RAF and becomes a wing commander. Mrs. Richardson becomes a nurse, and she and her friend June (Duprez) support each other while their husband and sweetheart are away.

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Watching 1939: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (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 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Release date: 
Sept. 1, 1939

Cast: 
Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Ida Lupino, Alan Marshal, Terry Kilburn, George Zucco, Henry Stephenson, E. E. Clive, Arthur Hohl, Mary Gordon, May Beatty, Peter Willes, Mary Forbes

Studio: 
20th Century Fox

Director: 
Alfred L. Werker

Plot:
Set in 1894, criminal Professor Moriarty (Zucco) is acquited of murder. Just as the trial ends, Sherlock Holmes (Rathbone) has evidence, but it’s too late. Holmes compliments his criminal mind and Moriarty vows to himself that he’s going to give Holmes a puzzle. On the same day, Ann Brandon (Lupino) with a strange drawing she received. Since her father received the same drawing before he died, she’s worried that she and her brother are in danger. It’s all part of the web Moriarty weaved for Holmes.

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Watching 1939: The Gorilla (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 Gorilla (1939)

Release date:  May 26, 1939

Cast:  Jimmy Ritz, Harry Ritz, Al Ritz (the Ritz Brothers), Anita Louise, Patsy Kelly, Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi, Joseph Calleia, Edward Norris, Paul Harvey, Art Miles

Studio:  20th Century Fox

Director:  Allan Dwan

Plot:
The Gorilla is a murderer on the lose, and Walter Stevens (Atwill) is warned that he has just 24 hours to live. His niece Norma (Louise) and her finance Jack (Norris) come to visit on the eve of this threat. Stevens hires the Ritz Brothers of the Acme Detective Agency to protect him.

1939 Notes:

  • “The Gorilla” (1939) resulted in the end of The Ritz Brothers’ relationship with 20th Century Fox. The film was delayed when The Ritz Brothers’ father died. Because of this, Fox placed a $150,000 suit against the Ritz brothers for a breach of contract as the film was slated to start production. “The Gorilla” is one of three films the Ritz Brothers were in in 1939.
  • Lionel Atwill was in nine films released in 1939.
  • Patsy Kelly’s only film of 1939.
  • Anita Louise was in six films released in 1939.
  • Joseph Calleia was in five films in 1939.
  • Paul Harvey was in nine films released in 1939.

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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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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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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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