Watching 1939: The Devil’s Daughter (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 Devil’s Daughter (1939)

Release date: 
Dec. 7, 1939

Cast: 
Nina Mae McKinney, Jack Carter, Ida James, Hamtree Harrington, Willa Mae Lang, Emmett ‘Babe’ Wallace

Studio: 
Sack Amusement Enterprises

Director: 
Arthur H. Leonard

Plot:
Sylvia Walton (James) travels from her home in New York to Jamaica, because her father left his banana plantation to her in his will. However, her step-sister Isabelle Walton (McKinney) has already been running the plantation for years. Isabelle goes into hiding in the jungle when Sylvia arrives, and Isabelle conspires with Sylvia’s boyfriend Philip (Carter). In order to get the plantation, Isabelle uses “obeah” (a type of sorcery) to scare Sylvia away for the plantation and for the love of John Loden (Wallace).

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Watching 1939: Double Deal (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: 
Double Deal (1939)

Release date: 
April 2, 1939

Cast: 
Monte Hawley, Jeni Le Gon, Edward Thompson, Florence O’Brien, Freddie Jackson, Buck Woods, Maceo Bruce Sheffield, Juanita Moore (uncredited)
Shelton Brooks as himself

Studio: 
George Randol Productions, released by Sack Amusement Enterprises and Astor Pictures Corp.

Director: 
Arthur Dreifuss

Plot:
Gangster Dude Markey (Thompson) and gambler Jim McCoy (Hawley) are both in love with nightclub performer Nita (Gon). McCoy’s naive younger brother Tommy (Jackson) gets involved in a jewel robbery and someone is killed. Dude ends up with an alibi and tries to pin the crime on Tommy.

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Watching 1939: Midnight Shadow (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:  Midnight Shadow (1939)

Release date:  May 1939 (first date referenced in newspapers)

Cast:  Frances Redd, Buck Woods, Richard Bates, Ollie Ann Robinson, Clinton Rosemond, Jesse Lee Brooks, Edward Brandon, John Criner, Pete Webster, Ruby Dandridge, Napolean Simpson

Studio:  George Randol Productions

Director:  George Randol

Plot:
A traveling mind-reading performer, Prince Alihabad (Criner) courts Margaret Wilson (Redd), who lives in the quiet Oklahoma town that he is performing in. Margaret will receive land in Texas that may have oil on it when she marries. Margaret has other suitors who also want to marry her, including Buster (Brandon). When Margaret finds her father dead and the deed to the land missing, police and two amateur detectives (Bates, Woods) investigate the case.

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Musical Monday: The Duke Is Tops (1938)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
The Duke Is Tops (1938) – Musical #599

Studio: Million Dollar Productions

Director: William L. Nolte

Starring: Ralph Cooper, Lena Horne, Laurence Criner, Neva Peoples, Monte Hawley, Vernon McCalla, Lillian Randolph (uncredited), Everett Brown (uncredited)
Themselves: Basin Street Boys, Cats and the Fiddle, Willie Covan

Plot:
Duke Davis (Cooper) is a talented performer but sets his own success aside to promote singer, Ethel Andrews (Horne). Ethel reaches success as the “Bronze Nightengale.” The problem is also that Duke is in love with Ethel, and their romance ends when Ethel goes to New York City for her career. As Ethel tries to succeed, Duke tries to make ends meet by traveling with a medicine show.

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