Watching 1939: Harlem Rides the Range (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: 
Harlem Rides the Range (1939)

Release date: 
Feb. 1, 1939

Cast: 
Herb Jeffries, Lucius Brooks, F.E. Miller, Artie Young, Clarence Brooks, Spencer Williams, Leonard Christmas
Specialty Acts: The Four Tones, The Four Blackbirds

Studio: 
Hollywood Pictures Corporation

Director: 
Richard C. Kahn

Plot:
Bob Blake (Jeffries) and his pal Dusty (Brooks) come across an empty ranch Jim Dennison (Christmas) where it appears a murder may have taken place. Jim isn’t dead, but hiding after the event. Bob finds a photo of Jim’s daughter (Young), saying she’s beautiful, and accidentally drops his glove at the ranch by accident. Bob and Dusty are then hired at a nearby ranch while they try and figure out what happened to Jim. When Bob’s glove is found, he is accused of murder.

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Musical Monday: Sepia Cinderella (1947)

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 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Sepia Cinderella (1947) – Musical #663

Studio:
Herald Pictures

Director:
Arthur H. Leonard

Starring:
Billy Daniels, Sheila Guyse, Tondaleyo, Ruble Blakey, William Greaves, Jack Carter, Dusty Freeman, George Williams, Harold Norton, Hilda Offley, Sidney Poitier (uncredited)
Specialty Acts and Appearances: Freddie Bartholomew, Deek Watson’s Brown Dot’s, Walter Fuller’s Orchestra, Apus, Estellita, John Kirby Sextet, Leonard and Zolo

Plot:
Bob Jordan (Billy Daniels) is a struggling songwriter. Barbara (Guyse), the adopted daughter of his landlady (Offley), helps him put lyrics to his song, “Cinderella.” Bob’s song becomes a hit, which throws him into society. Bob catches the attention of Vivian (Tondelayo), who owns a nightclub, and replaces her current bandleader (Blakey) with Bob. Vivian’s liking of Bob causes troubles with her fiance and hurts Barbara, as their romance is in the tabloids.

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Musical Monday: Miracle in Harlem (1948)

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 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Miracle in Harlem (1948) – Musical #662

Studio:
Herald Pictures

Director:
Jack Kemp

Starring:
Hilda Offley, Sheila Guyse, Kenneth Freeman, William Greaves, Sybil Lewis (billed as Sybyl Lewis), Creighton Thompson, Laurence Criner, Jack Carter, Stepin Fetchit,
Specialty performers: Juanita Hall, Norma Shepherd, Lynn Proctor Trio, Lavada Carter, Savannah Churchill

Plot:
Aunt Hattie (Offley) and her niece Julie (Guyse) run a small candy store. They have a small location and their only help is Julie’s boyfriend Bert (Greaves) and the handyman, Swifty (Fetchit). Julie and Bert want to expand, but Aunt Hattie resists. Wealthy Albert Marshall (Criner) of the big business Harlem Candy Manufacturers tries to put Julie and Aunt Hattie out of business. Marshall and his son Jim (Freeman) trick Julie out of the candy store, but when Marshall turns up dead, Julie is accused.

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Musical Monday: Boy! What a Girl! (1947)

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 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Boy! What a Girl! (1947) – Musical #426

Studio:
Herald Pictures

Director:
Arthur H. Leonard

Starring:
Tim Moore, Elwood Smith, Duke Williams, Alan Jackson, Sheila Guyse, Betti Mays, Sybil Lewis, Warren Patterson
Themselves: Slam Stewart Trio, Deek Watson and the Brown Dots, Big Sid Catlett, Ann Cornell, Gene Krupa, Harlemaniacs

Plot:
Jim Walton (Smith) and Harry Diggs (Williams) are trying to get a show on Broadway but lack the financial backing. Jim hopes that his girlfriend’s rich father, Mr. Cummings (Jackson), will help fund the show. Mr. Cummings will only help fund the show if wealthy French impresario Mme. Deborah Martin pays for half of the show. In her absence, female impersonator Bumpsie (Moore) poses as Mme. Deborah, but the issue is when the real Mme. Deborah (Lewis) arrives.

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Watching 1939: Lying Lips (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: 
Lying Lips (1939)

Release date: 
July 9, 1939

Cast: 
Edna Mae Harris, Carman Newsome, Robert Earl Jones, Frances E. Williams, Juano Hernandez, Cherokee Thornton, Slim Thompson, Gladys Williams, Don De Leo, George Reynolds, Charles La Torre, Henry ‘Gang’ Gines

Studio: 
Micheaux Film

Director: 
Oscar Micheaux

Plot:
Elsie Bellwood (Harris) is a nightclub singer at the Poodle Dog night club, but the Italian owners, Farina (Leo) and Garotti (Torre) want her to use her talents off stage and attend “private parties” to bring in extra money. Elsie refuses, insisting she’s a good girl, and her agent Benjamin Hadnot (Newsome) stands up for her. After Hadnot has an altercation over Elsie with Farina and Garotti, Elsie returns home to find her aunt dead. Elsie is framed for the murder and Hadnot and Detective Wenzer (Jones) try to uncover the case.

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Musical Monday: Swing! (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:
“Swing!” (1938)– Musical #598

Studio:
Micheaux Pictures Corporation

Director:
Oscar Micheaux

Starring:
Cora Green, Larry Seymour, Dorothy Van Engle, Hazel Diaz, Alec Lovejoy, Amanda Randolph, Trixie Smith, Carman Newsome, Doli Armena, Consuelo Harris, George R. Taylor, The Tyler Twins, Leon Gross & His Orchestra

Plot:
Mandy (Green) works as a cook for a rich family in Birmingham, AL. Her husband Cornell (Seymour) says he’s a business man, but he takes all of Mandy’s money and spends it on Eloise Jackson (Diaz) who he cheating on Mandy with. After Mandy finds the two in a nightclub, Eloise moves to New York City and changes her name to Cora Smith and hopes to become an actress. Eloise’s husband Lem (Lovejoy) follows her to New York City, and Mandy moves to the New York as well when she leaves Cornell. Lena Powell also is from Birmingham and is now working for Ted Gregory, a stage producer. Lena helps Cora get a job as a seamstress for the show, which happens to be the show that Eloise is starring in.

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