Watching 1939: Twelve Crowded Hours (1939)

1939 film:
Twelve Crowded Hours (1939)

twelve crowdedRelease date:
Feb. 23, 1939

Cast:
Richard Dix, Lucille Ball, Allan Lane, Donald MacBride, Cy Kendall, John Arledge, Granville Bates, John Gallaudet, Murry Alper, Allan Lane, Bradley Page, Dorothy Lee, Addison Richards, Frank Faylen (uncredited), Kay Sutton (uncredited), Blue Washington (uncredited), Dorothy Lovett (uncredited)

Studio:
RKO Pictures

Director:
Lew Landers

Plot:
When his editor is murdered, reporter Nick Green works to solve the murder. To make matters worse, the murder may involve the brother of his girlfriend, Paula (Ball).

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Watching 1939: Waterfront (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:
Waterfront (1939)

waterfront

Release date:
July 15, 1939

Cast:
Gloria Dickson, Dennis Morgan, Marie Wilson, Larry Williams, Ward Bond, Sheila Bromley, Arthur Gardner, Aldrich Bowker, Frank Faylen, George Lloyd, Charles Trowbridge (uncredited)

Studio:
Warner Bros.

Director:
Terry O. Morse

Plot:
Quick tempered Jim Dolan (Morgan) is the president of the dockworker’s and is constantly fighting. His temper periodically lands him in jail and keeps him at odds with his girlfriend Ann (Dickson). Jim turns over a new leaf but runs into trouble when his brother is killed.

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Favorite new-to-me films of 2021

At the end of each year, I think back on my favorite new-to-me film discoveries.

For the past few years, I’ve shared these in just a Twitter thread, but this year, I decided to write a formal blog post. As of Dec. 29, 2021, I have watched 517 feature films. The following or the films I’ve continued to think about long after they were over. The first three may be a tie:

crimson

The Crimson Kimono (1959)
Written and directed by Samuel Fuller
Over the past few years, I have really gotten into director Sam Fuller’s films, and I was blown away by THE CRIMSON KIMONO. The story is powerful but it’s also visually stunning.

that man from rio

That Man From Rio/ L’homme de Rio (1964)
Directed by Philippe de Broca
I watched this in memory of Jean-Paul Belmondo and was left in a glittering haze of a love of cinema — in love with this film, Belmondo and the whole idea of traveling to Rio de Janerio. I daydreamed about this movie the whole next day of watching it. Its thoroughly charming.

dog fight max resolution

Dogfight (1991)
Directed by Nancy Savoca
If you follow me on any social media platform or have spoken with me in person, you’ve heard me mention DOGFIGHT.
As of Dec. 29, 2021, I watched DOGFIGHT six times from May 2021 to the end of the year. Why? I don’t really know – do you have to have a reason for why a film moves you? All I know is that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Don’t just go off the plot description that is given for this film. Watch it for yourself.

smallest show

The Smallest Show on Earth (1957)
Directed by Basil Dearden
This is the sweetest, most charming movies. I love to see real-life married couple Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers act together for starters. And then some of the actors are their co-stars, Margaret Rutherford, Peter Sellers and Bernard Miles. It’s just plain lovely.

come next spring

Come Next Spring (1956)
Directed by R.G. Springsteen
Steve Cochran usually plays a bad dude. And here, he plays a reformed bad dude and I loved it. Come Next Spring is really lovely and visually stunning in Technicolor. Ann Sheridan is also a major highlight in this film, but Steve Cochran’s sensitive performance blew me away.

home of the brave3

Home of the Brave (1949)
Directed by Mark Robson
I didn’t expect to cry as much as I did during this movie. Not only does HOME OF THE BRAVE look at racial tensions with Black and White soldiers serving in World War II, but it also looks at the complicated emotions of soldiers when their friends are killed in action. James Edwards is not recognized enough as an actor and he shines here.

no regrets

No Regrets for Our Youth/Waga seishun ni kuinashi (1946)
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
An incredible film that left me speechless. I was blown away. Actress Setsuko Hara is always wonderful, but I enjoyed seeing her play a different type of character than I’m used to seeing. Hara’s character is complex and transforms from a selfish, conflicted youth to a woman who sacrifices her life and reputation for a loved one.

here i am stranger3

Here I am a Stranger (1939)
Directed by Roy Del Ruth
This was my favorite new-to-me film from 1939 of this year. Richard Dix gave an emotional and sensitive performance of a father who reconnects with his son after many years. I also loved seeing Brenda Joyce play against type.
My full review here.

tickle me 7

Tickle Me (1965)
Directed by Norman Taurog
Have you ever remembered a movie scene that you watched as a child but you never knew what it was? Watching Tickle Me solved that mystery for me this year—I remembered Elvis and a woman in a haunted house and never knew what it was. Tickle Me is wacky and ridiculous, but it also made me laugh more than any other new-to-me movie I watched this year. Sometimes a feel good silly film is needed at the right moment. A movie doesn’t have to be the best, most serious Academy Award winner to find its way on a list like this. Shout out to my friend Nikki who loves this film. My full review here.

St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues (1958)
Directed by Allen Reisner
After wanting to see this film for years, I was happy to finally discover this musical. It’s interesting to see Nat King Cole in a lead performance, when he generally only appeared as a specialty act in feature films. This film is chock full of musical performances, and Eartha Kitt naturally steals the show. My full review here.

mad

Madeleine (1950)
Directed by David Lean
Why did I put off watching this film for so long? This had me on the edge of my seat, and also feeling heartbroken for Madeleine’s suiter, Mr. Minnoch. Even more interesting that this is based on a true story.

green for

Green for Danger (1946)
Directed by Sidney Gilliat
This “whodunit” had me guessing until the very end of the film. Thoroughly enjoyable, and Alastair Sim was wonderful (per usual).

magnificent

The Magnificent Dope (1942)
Directed by Walter Lang
I didn’t know what to expect from THE MAGNIFICENT DOPE, and judging by the title, I feared it would be an irritating, zany comedy. Far from it. Don Ameche as a bullish, unsuccessful business man and lazy Henry Fonda gets caught up in his success scheme when he wins the “biggest failure” contest. Both are in love with Lynn Bari. It sounds silly but it works in a charming way.

Heres-to-the-young-lady-still-1

Here’s to the Young Lady/Ojôsan kanpai (1949)
Directed by Keisuke Kinoshita
What a joy! This lovely romantic comedy made me laugh and left me feeling wistful.

strange

Strange Bargain (1949)
Directed by Will Price
Martha Scott and Jeffrey Lynn? Sign me up! I thought this was an exciting film noir with interesting twists. Now I need to watch the follow-up “Murder, She Wrote” episode.

song of the open road3

Jackie Moran, Bonita Granville, Jane Powell in SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD

Song of the Open Road (1944)
Directed by S. Sylvan Simon
This was the only Jane Powell film I hadn’t seen, and after she died I sought it out. It may be low budget, but I had such fun watching it. The film begins with teens riding bikes and singing and I was charmed at that moment. My full review here.

under pup3

The Under-Pup (1939)
Directed by Richard Wallace
This was another favorite 1939 new-to-me film discovery. I haven’t seen many Gloria Jean films, because they can be difficult to access. My full review here.

Honorable Mention
Films I loved but didn’t quite make the favorites list
Rembrandt (1936)
Convicts 4 (1962)
The Lovers (1958)
Invitation to Happiness (1939)
Murder at the Vanities (1934)
Seven Keys to Baldpate (1929)
Tennessee Champ (1954)
Crooks and Coronets (1969)
As Long as They’re Happy (1955)

I joined Letterboxd this year, so if you’d like to see my thoughts on other films I watch, you can find me here: https://letterboxd.com/HollywoodComet/

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page, follow on Twitter at @HollywoodComet or e-mail at cometoverhollywood@gmail.com

Watching 1939: Midnight (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.

midnight 19391939 film:
Midnight (1939)

Release date:
March 17, 1939

Cast:
Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore, Francis Lederer, Mary Astor, Elaine Barrie, Hedda Hopper, Rex O’Malley, Monty Woolley, William Hopper (uncredited), Eddie Conrad (uncredited)

Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Director:
Mitchell Leisen

Plot:
Eve Peabody (Colbert) is a penniless chorus girl, stranded in Paris with only the evening gown she’s wearing. Eve is helped by taxi driver Tibor Czerny (Ameche), but she leaves him and sneaks into a ritzy party. She meets Georges Flammarion (Barrymore) who suspects she’s an imposter, and hires Eve to break up the romance between his wife (Astor) and her lover (Lederer).

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Watching 1939: The Little Princess (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. 

little princess1939 film: 
The Little Princess (1939)

Release date: 
March 10, 1939

Cast: 
Shirley Temple, Richard Greene, Anita Louise, Ian Hunter, Cesar Romero, Arthur Treacher, Mary Nash, Sybil Jason, Marcia Mae Jones, Beryl Mercer, E.E. Clive, Deidre Gale, Ira Stevens, Eily Malyon

Studio: 
20th Century Fox

Director: 
Walter Lang

Plot:
When her father (Hunter) has to fight in the Boer War, Sarah (Temple) has to stay at an exclusive girl’s school in England run by Mrs. Minchin (Nash). When her father is presumed dead, Sarah is forced to work as a servant at the school.

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Watching 1939: The Great Commandment (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 Commandment (1939)

Release date:
Oct. 2, 1939

Cast:
John Beal, Maurice Moscovitch, Albert Dekker, Marjorie Cooley, Lloyd Corrigan

Studio:
Cathedral Films, Inc.

Director:
Irving Pichel

Plot:
Joel (Beal) is studying the holy text to follow in his father’s (Moscovitch) footsteps and become a rabbi and scribe. Joel is also in love with Tamar (Cooley), who ends up betrothed to his brother (McCollum). When Joel’s village is also terrorized by Roman soldiers, Joel believes they need assistance from the man rumored to be the Messiah.

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Watching 1939: Invitation to Happiness (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. 

invitation to ahppiness1939 film: 
Invitation to Happiness (1939)

Release date: 
June 7, 1939

Cast: 
Irene Dunne, Fred MacMurray, Charles Ruggles, Billy Cook, William Collier Sr., Marion Martin, Oscar O’Shea, Burr Caruth, Eddie Hogan

Studio: 
Paramount Pictures

Director: 
Wesley Ruggles

Plot:
Mr. Wayne (Collier Sr.) decides to buy a half interest in backing boxer Albert “King” Cole (MacMurray). His daughter, Eleanor Wayne (Dunne), is concerned about how her retired father is spending his money and tags along to a fight to see what Cole is all about. Eleanor and Cole instantly clash, Eleanor calling Cole brash and egotistical while Cole finds Eleanor snobby and too high class. But they also fall in love. Shortly after the two marry, Cole has to continue training and fighting in order to become the champ, which is his goal. This means Cole is largely away from home and doesn’t get to know his son, Albert (Cook).

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Watching 1939: Coast Guard (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.

coast guard21939 film:
Coast Guard (1939)

Release date:
Aug. 4, 1939

Cast:
Randolph Scott, Frances Dee, Ralph Bellamy, Walter Connolly, Warren Hymer, Robert Middlemass, Stanley Andrews, Edmund MacDonald, Ann Doran (uncredited), Craig Stevens (uncredited), Mala (uncredited), Dorothy Comingore (uncredited), Billy Lee (uncredited), J. Farrell MacDonald (uncredited), Marla Shelton (uncredited)

Studio:
Columbia Pictures

Director:
Edward Ludwig

Plot:
Lt. Ray Dower (Bellamy) and Lieutenant Thomas “Speed” Bradshaw (Scott) are pals in the Coast Guard. Ray commands a cutter and Speed is an ace pilot. After rescuing Tobias Bliss (Connolly), Ray meets his granddaughter Nancy (Dee) and is smitten. However, their early courtship is cut short while Ray has to go on a mission. Speed looks after Nany while he’s away, and also falls in love though announcing that he is not the marrying kind.

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Watching 1939: Thunder Afloat (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: 
Thunder Afloat (1939)

Release date: 
Sept. 15, 1939

Cast: 
Wallace Beery, Chester Morris, Virginia Grey, Douglass Dumbrille, Carl Esmond, Clem Bevans, John Qualen, Regis Toomey, Henry Victor, Addison Richards, Jonathan Hale, Lean Ames (uncredited), Frank Faylen (uncredited), Milton Kibbee (uncredited)

Studio: 
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director: 
George B. Seitz

Plot:
Set during World War I, tugboat owner John Thorson (Beery) has his tug sunk by a German U-boat off the New England coast. Furious about the incident, John enlists in the Navy. Rocky Blake (Morris), who was John’s tugboat rival, is an officer in the Navy and clashes with John, who resists military discipline.

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Watching 1939: The House of Fear (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 House of Fear (1939)

House-of-Fear-The-main

Release date:
June 30, 1939

Cast:
William Gargan, Irene Hervey, Dorothy Arnold, Alan Dinehart, Harvey Stephens, Harvey Stephens, Walter Woolf King, Robert Coote, Tom Dugan, Jan Duggan, Donald Douglas, Hobart Cavanaugh (uncredited), Milton Kibbee (uncredited), Emory Parnell (uncredited)

Studio:
Universal Pictures

Director:
Joe May

Plot:
After an actor drops dead on stage, his body disappears and police can’t uncover any clues. The once successful theater where he died is now a ghost town and people say the theater is haunted. After the theater is closed for some time, detective Arthur McHugh (Gargan) goes undercover posing as a producer buys the theater to solve the case.

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