(March 6, 2021)

It’s over? It’s over! So, after doing a blog series where I watched one movie per year for a century (1919-2018, I think), I then did a blog series for every month in a decade (the 40s), and this one was one movie per week in a year (1939). You may be noticing a pattern … Continue reading MCMXXXIX Redux

MCMXXXIX LII: Invisible Stripes

(March 6, 2021)

Invisible Stripes. Lloyd Bacon. 1939. This is it! The final movie in this blog series; a Bogart movie released in the last week of 1939. This is pretty good. A quite noir noir. Heh heh. This evil capitalist wanted to hire Raft to snitch at the workers at his plant and Raft decked him! Pow! … Continue reading MCMXXXIX LII: Invisible Stripes

MCMXXXIX LI: Gulliver’s Travels

(March 5, 2021)

Gulliver’s Travels. Dave Fleischer. 1939. Oh, it’s animated! Is this the first animated movie in this blog series? I think it may be. Directed by Dave Fleischer… It quite un-Disney so far. It’s very odd, though. The animation shifts wildly between being quite good and OH MY GOD WHAT”S GOING ON WITH THAT FACE THE … Continue reading MCMXXXIX LI: Gulliver’s Travels

MCMXXXIX L: Gone with the Wind

(March 5, 2021)

Gone With The Wind. George Cukor, Victor Fleming, Sam Wood. 1939. So we’re now in December 1939, and I have only three movies to go in this blog series. This one is … big. Long? Long. Ooops. I had forgotten that this movie is so long that is has an overture. So it starts seven … Continue reading MCMXXXIX L: Gone with the Wind

MCMXXXIX XLIX: The Devil’s Daughter

(March 4, 2021)

The Devil’s Daughter. Arthur H. Leonard. 1939. The audio and video quality here is horrible… but I’m enjoying this already. Love this tune. This is a super low budget movie, but it does have a certain charm? I guess it’s mostly down to the actors — it’s not that they’re… convincing… but it’s all very … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XLIX: The Devil’s Daughter

MCMXXXIX XLVIII: Destry Rides Again

(March 3, 2021)

Destry Rides Again. George Marshall. 1939. Oh, I thought this was one of those serial movies… Destry Comes To Town… Destry Fights the Indians… Destry Rides Again. But no; it’s got Marlene Dietrich, and it’s one of those them there serious westerns. Well, OK, this isn’t exactly a serious western… but it’s mainly in the … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XLVIII: Destry Rides Again


(March 3, 2021)

Day-Time Wife. Gregory Ratoff. 1939. This is fun! It’s a cheap, quick little B movie, but with higher production values than usual. It’s about the wife of a guy that’s obviously stepping out… or is he!?!? This is almost hilarious. Tyrone Power isn’t really miscast here, but… somebody funnier would have made this so much … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XLVII: Day-Time Wife

MCMXXXIX XLVI: Tower of London

(March 3, 2021)

Tower of London. Rowland V. Lee. 1939. That’s phat. Eeevil! Eyes. EYES! I don’t know about this movie… all the actors are chewing the scenery in a most pleasant way, but it’s still not… quite… clicking. This could almost be a camp classic, but instead it’s just kinda damp? Kill those dolls! Kill them! This … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XLVI: Tower of London

MCMXXXIX XLV: Allegheny Uprising

(February 27, 2021)

Allegheny Uprising. William A. Seiter. 1939. Wayne! This seems… like an in-between western? I mean, it’s certainly not like one of those cheap, cheerful earlier western serials, and it’s not like one of those later, epic westerns? The people look kinda… gritty (almost all of them have torn clothes and greasy hair), but the repartee … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XLV: Allegheny Uprising

MCMXXXIX XLIV: Drums Along the Mohawk

(February 26, 2021)

Drums Along the Mohawk. John Ford. 1939. Claudette! Henry! Well, OK, this is kinda slow but nice… And then… … Colbert goes totally hysterical at the sight of that guy, so Fonda has to slap her around. I mean, this is John Ford, so it looks nice and all, but so far this movie has … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XLIV: Drums Along the Mohawk

MCMXXXIX XLIII: The Roaring Twenties

(February 25, 2021)

The Roaring Twenties. Raoul Walsh. 1939. Hm! Raoul Walsh? That name sounds really familiar, but perhaps I’m thinking of… something else… Oh wow! It’s like three movies a year for decades. He directed 120 movies in total, according to imdb. I think I’ve seen at least a handful of these movies… but I’m guessing he … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XLIII: The Roaring Twenties

MCMXXXIX XLII: Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

(February 24, 2021)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Frank Capra. 1939. This wasn’t the movie I was going to watch representing week 42 1939 (mid-October, that is). But the DVD I’d gotten of At The Circus refused to play, so I had to choose something else: And Mr. Smith was available from der torrentses, so here we are. … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XLII: Mr. Smith Goes To Washington


(February 23, 2021)

Zangiku monogatari. Kenji Mizoguchi. 1939. I haven’t seen many pre-WWII Japanese movies…. hm… I guess it’s possible that I’ve never seen any? Like everybody else, I’ve seen a bunch from the 50s and 60s (when the Japanese got very influenced by French movies), but I guess 30s Japanese movies aren’t really part of the Cinematheque … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XLI: 残菊物語

MCMXXXIX XL: Ninotchka

(February 21, 2021)

Ninotchka. Ernst Lubitsch. 1939. This is most amusing. It’s an American fantasia of robotic Soviet women and naive Soviet men, and Garbo sells it. Ah! Billy Wilder. I should have guessed. Fashion is hard. This is very charming indeed. My main problem with the movie is the Count — the steps the Grand Duchess are … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XL: Ninotchka

MCMXXXIX XXXIX: The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

(February 20, 2021)

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex. Michael Curtiz. 1939. Oh, wow. I thought they were from two different movie generations, never to meet on screen. Vincent Price!?! Whatever colour process they were using in this early example looks good. But a bit off register, somehow? Perhaps it’s just this DVD transfer. Looks less fuzzy … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXXIX: The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex


(February 20, 2021)

Espionage Agent. Lloyd Bacon. 1939. Er… uhm… Oh! The DVD I’ve gotten of this absolutely refuses to play. That is, it plays the three minute preview thing, but not the actual movie. And… it’s not on the torrentses? Or Amazon Prime? And… I can’t find any of the other movies released this week, either! Gah! … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXXVIII: Espionage Agent


(February 18, 2021)

Babes in Arms. Busby Berkeley. 1939. Hey! Busby Berkeley. Hey! It’s Judy! And… er… whatsisface… Oh yeah. Mickey Rooney. I knew that he’d been a child star — he started in 27, when he was… 7… but looking over his imdb, I may never have seen any of his early movies? He’s 19 here. And … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXXVII: Babes in Arms


(February 18, 2021)

Blackmail 1939. H.C. Potter. 1939. I thought this was gonna be a noir movie? But it sure starts off a a screwball comedy. And that guy looks so familiar… Nope, doesn’t ring a bell… Oh, he’s been in over 200 movies, starting in 1919 and ending in 1961. I’ve probably seen him around. So, Edward … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXXVI: Blackmail


(February 16, 2021)

The Women. George Cukor. 1939. Well, that’s a way to introduce the actors! Aww. I assumed I had seen this before, but… this doesn’t look familiar? *gasp* That set design. This is fantastic! Impeccable pacing and cinematography. This is absolutely riveting! Rosalind Russell is fantastic. *gasp* A newspaper set in Futura! I love that woman… … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXXV: The Women

MCMXXXIX XXXIV: Fifth Avenue Girl

(February 15, 2021)

Fifth Avenue Girl. Gregory La Cava. 1939. Oooh! Ginger Rogers! And she’s got all the lines! The plot seems a bit creepy, though — the old, kindly millionaire seems to be on the make for Rogers, and that’s kinda eh? I mean, the formula for appropriate lusting is (+ (/ old 2) 7), which yields … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXXIV: Fifth Avenue Girl

MCMXXXIX XXXII: The Wizard of Oz

(February 12, 2021)

The Wizard of Oz. Victor Fleming. 1939. I’m gonna attempt the Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz match up… started the record at the third roar from the lion as this says… It’s uncanny! On The Run started just when Dorothy fell into the pig sty. OK, it’s not so uncanny now that she’s … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXXII: The Wizard of Oz


(February 12, 2021)

In Name Only. John Cromwell. 1939. This is kinda odd? I mean, the pacing. It seems like every scene should sizzle with witty repartee, but instead the scenes just have these odd lacunae. But it’s Lombard and Grant, so the scenes are fun anyway. I can just imagine what Douglas Sirk would have done with … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXXI: In Name Only


(February 12, 2021)

Beau Geste. William A. Wellman. 1939. XXX! That means that I’ve just got er *counts on fingers* about 20-ish more movies to go in this blog series of movies from 1939? It also means we’re in the middle of July 1939 — so this is a summer blockbuster, I guess? It also means that I’m … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXX: Beau Geste

MCMXXXIX XXVII: On Borrowed Time

(February 1, 2021)

On Borrowed Time. Harold S. Bucquet. 1939. So this is about… death and stuff? I’m guessing he’s the guy in the first scene. I’m actually not quite sure what’s going on in this movie, but I am a bit befuddled. There’s a lot of shouting, and people being angry, but the plot just seems… unclear. … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXVII: On Borrowed Time


(January 30, 2021)

Each Dawn I Die. William Keighley. 1939. Cagney! And he’s not a crook!? Is that even legal!? OK, but he’s sentence anyway. *phew* (I didn’t know it’s a sci-fi movie — he’s sentenced for drunken driving (and killing some other people while driving (it’s a frame!)), and as we all know, that just doesn’t happen … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXIX: Each Dawn I Die

MCMXXXIX XXVIII: Bulldog Drummond’s Bride

(January 30, 2021)

Bulldog Drummond’s Bride. James P. Hogan. 1939. I ordered the DVD… but apparently it never arrived? Can’t find it now anyway. Fortunately, this movie is in the public domain, so it’s on youtube. So this was a whole series of movies? So it’s more like a serial than a proper movie, and this one kinda … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXVIII: Bulldog Drummond’s Bride

MCMXXXIX XXVI: Bachelor Mother

(January 29, 2021)

Bachelor Mother. Garson Kanin. 1939. WON”T ANYBODY FEED THE BABY I’m getting anxious. Anyway, this is most amusing. And kinda nightmarish: She’s totally trapped: Bullied, threatened, hounded into taking care of a baby that’s not hers. This could easily have been a kafkaesque drama with just a less bouncy soundtracks. FINALLY SOME FOOD This is … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXVI: Bachelor Mother

MCMXXXIX XXV: Five Came Back

(January 29, 2021)

Five Came Back. John Farrow. 1939. Oh, Lucille Ball in a dramatic part? I think I’ve seen her only in comedies? This looks like a pretty low budget movie? I mean, just by how awkward these shots are — it’s like nobody had time to do any blocking, and everybody’s hidden behind something else. Or … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXV: Five Came Back


(January 24, 2021)

Fric-Frac. Claude Autant-Lara & Maurice Lehmann. 1939. Another French movie! What are the odds! Very stylish title sequence. Natcherly the French movies we (that is I) see from this era are the indisputable classeec arteest films… but this is an out and out low budged entertaining non-art movie? How exciting! It’s a comedy about… a … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXIV: Fric-Frac

MCMXXXIX XXIII: Le jour se lève

(January 24, 2021)

Daybreak. Marcel Carné. 1939. *gasp* The first non-English language movie in this blog series! I’m not familiar with Marcel Carné’s movies… Wasn’t he the director the brats I mean geniuses from Cahiers du cinéma heaped all kinds of scorn upon? Indeed: In the 1950s the belligerent critics of Cahiers du cinéma, soon to be film-makers … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXIII: Le jour se lève

MCMXXXIX XXII: Charlie Chan in Reno

(January 24, 2021)

Charlie Chan in Reno. Norman Foster. 1939. I may never have seen a Charlie Chan movie before? I mean, I must have, but I can’t recall doing so. So this comes as something of a surprise: It feels pretty much like a TV episode of a long-running show (which I guess it is, except it’s … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXII: Charlie Chan in Reno


(January 23, 2021)

The Gorilla. Allan Dwan. 1939. I wonder whether this DVD has been sourced from a recording from a broadcast? Hm… probably not? It’s very artefactey, but it doesn’t look like VHS artefacts. This is a Ritz Brothers movie? I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never heard of them. But: That’s a lot of movies. They … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XXI: The Gorilla

MCMXXXIX XX: Goodbye, Mr. Chips

(January 23, 2021)

Goodbye Mr. Chips. Sidney Franklin & Sam Wood. 1939. This is a very odd movie… in that it’s so quotidian. It’s basically the story (told in flashback) of a guy that’s worked as a teacher at a public, i.e., private school in England. So we follow him from when he starts as a young, not … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XX: Goodbye, Mr. Chips


(January 23, 2021)

Jamaica Inn. Alfred Hitchcock. 1939. Oooh! Hitch! And I don’t think I’ve seen this one before? Is that even possible? This has been expertly restored by the Cohen Film Collection and the BFI. Looks really sharp, but with lots of grain. : In 1978, film critic Michael Medved gave Jamaica Inn a place in his … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XIX: Jamaica Inn

MCMXXXIX XVIII: Rose of Washington Square

(January 22, 2021)

Rose of Washington Square. Gregory Ratoff. 1939. Oh, this is by the same guy who made the confusingly made “Wife, Husband and Friend” movie earlier this year. (Are they all the same person? Two people? Three?) We’re now in May, for those people who don’t know where week eighteen is. This is an odd one. … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XVIII: Rose of Washington Square

MCMXXXIX XVII: Union Pacific

(January 21, 2021)

Union Pacific. Cecil B. DeMille. 1939. So this is the XVIIth, I mean, seventeenth week of 1939, which means that we’re in late April. What kind of movies are movies are they doing in spring? This is really epic — it’s got that epic movie feeling going: One group of people is trying to get … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XVII: Union Pacific

MCMXXXIX XVI: Dark Victory

(January 17, 2021)

Dark Victory. Edmund Goulding. 1939. *gasp* Bette! They’re talking really fast, see? Is that Ronnie? It is! I thought this was gonna be a noir crime thing, but it’s a very dramatic drama instead? I’m digging it. Everybody’s talking like they’re in an early 30s crime thing, though. See? Boo. When they introduce the male … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XVI: Dark Victory

MCMXXXIX XV: Never Say Die

(January 16, 2021)

Never Say Die. Elliott Nugent. 1939. OK, so this is about a hypochondriac millionaire at a spa. I’m guessing there’ll be hi jinx! Monty Woolley! This is very funny! And quite risque. As screwball comedies go, it’s very, very screwy. Martha Raye is a comedic genius. Oh! Preston Sturges! I should have known! The script … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XV: Never Say Die

MCMXXXIX XIV: East Side of Heaven

(January 16, 2021)

East Side of Heaven. David Butler. 1939. This is most amiable. Joan Blondell, Bing Crosby, and a plot that doesn’t feel like it’s going to be too taxing for my poor branes. There haven’t been many musicals in this blog series? Last night was the Vernon and Irene thing, which was, I suppose, but like … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XIV: East Side of Heaven

MCMXXXIX XIII: The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

(January 16, 2021)

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle. H.C. Potter. 1939. Hey! I thought this was gonna be a Thin Man movie! But it’s not! This is better! I’m really enjoying this… the only thing I’m confused about is whether we’re supposed to thing that the Castles are wonderful dancers or not? I mean, Astaire and … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XIII: The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

MCMXXXIX XII: You Can’t Get Away with Murder

(January 15, 2021)

You Can’t Get Away With Murder. Lewis Seiler. 1939. Bogie! This is an odd movie. It started in one place, and now we’re in a totally different place. I wonder where this is going. OK, now the two parts are connected… but… it’s kinda boring now? So this is all about a kid who’s on … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XII: You Can’t Get Away with Murder


(January 5, 2021)

Midnight. Mitchell Leisen. 1939. Claudette Colbert! I like her. This movie gets off to a really great start: Everything is explained in a couple of sentences and then we’re off. Colbert is a lot of fun to watch, too. I’m all in. This movie is a lot of fun. It’s got a great set-up: A … Continue reading MCMXXXIX XI: Midnight

MCMXXXIX X: The Little Princess

(January 5, 2021)

The Little Princess. Walter Lang, William A. Seiter. 1939. So this is the tenth week of 1939… so we’re into March? And this movie is in colour! Oh, they’re using the Boer War (turn of the century? the previous one?) as a proxy for the war that’s currently brewing in Europe? This movie is quite … Continue reading MCMXXXIX X: The Little Princess

MCMXXXIX IX: The Oklahoma Kid

(January 5, 2021)

Oklahoma Kid. Lloyd Bacon. 1939. But… but… that’s… that’s… It is! It’s Bogart! What’s he doing in this cheapie western? Was this before he became famous? Ah, right, he was doing all these things in the 30s until his big break in 1941, I guess. Because this is a Cagney vehicle. This isn’t a very … Continue reading MCMXXXIX IX: The Oklahoma Kid

MCMXXXIX VIII: Wife, Husband and Friend

(December 20, 2020)

Wife, Husband and Friend. Gregory Ratoff. 1939. What! There were no lanes in New York in 1939? Just total anarchy? I love it! This movie’s got a whole bunch of gags… but none of them really land? I mean, very few do. I almost feel bad at not enjoying this movie, because it’s puttering along … Continue reading MCMXXXIX VIII: Wife, Husband and Friend

MCMXXXIX VII: Nancy Drew… Reporter

(December 4, 2020)

Nancy Drew… Reporter. 1939. William Clemens. I mean… I didn’t expect much from this movie — it’s a shortish, goofy B movie thing. But it seems odd to me how little of the Nancy Drewiverse they’ve retained? I mean… I don’t remember much of Nancy Drew… but didn’t she have a gal pal? And stuff? … Continue reading MCMXXXIX VII: Nancy Drew… Reporter

MCMXXXIX VI: Made for Each Other

(December 4, 2020)

Made For Each Other. John Cromwell. 1939. Oh, I’ve seen this one before! And not too long ago, either. I wonder where… Emacs knows everything. I watched this in… October? Last year? Hey! I even blogged about it. This is a serious break-down in my movie methodology. Oh well! Now it’s in 2K. I’m liking … Continue reading MCMXXXIX VI: Made for Each Other

MCMXXXIX V: Honolulu

(November 30, 2020)

Honolulu. Edward Buzzell. 1939. So much drama! Heh. That was a good fake-out. This is most amusing. And horribly racist. And that’s the main problem with this movie: Robert Young really isn’t that believable as somebody who’d people would go nuts for. I mean, he’s great and all, but imagine if this were Cary Grant … Continue reading MCMXXXIX V: Honolulu

MCMXXXIX IV: Idiot’s Delight

(November 26, 2020)

Idiot’s Delight. Clarence Brown. 1939. Hey… this is fun. It’s about a soldier (Clark Gable) returning from the previous war, and he’s an actor on a downwards trajectory. It’s very fleet-footed. The movie has turned kinda strange. Clark is being pursued desperately by Norma Shearer… I mean, that’s not odd, but the way the movie … Continue reading MCMXXXIX IV: Idiot’s Delight

MCMXXXIX III: They Made Me a Criminal

(November 26, 2020)

They Made Me A Criminal. Busby Berkeley. 1939. So here in this blog post is where I was supposed to make some food, but the next dish in the Bistro Cooking book was a mussel dish, and… while I was waiting for the grocery delivery guys to deliver a kilo of live mussels for me … Continue reading MCMXXXIX III: They Made Me a Criminal

MCMXXXIX II: Son of Frankenstein

(November 15, 2020)

Son of Frankenstein. Rowland V. Lee. 1939. For today’s dish from the Bistro Cooking, we have another apple tart. I mean sex worker. This one looks less like an omelette than the previous one… it’s a cream and egg thing (and apples, of course). It is, again, as with many of the recipes in this … Continue reading MCMXXXIX II: Son of Frankenstein

MCMXXXIX I: King of the Underworld

(November 12, 2020)

King of the Underworld. Lewis Seiler. 1939. Welcome to the first week of the 1939 movie blog. But first: Some food. So tonight’s dish from Patricia Well’s Bistro Cooking (which I’m cooking my way through, semi-chronologically) is a chick pea salad. I’m not really all that enthusiastic about this one, because I’m seeing “onion” and … Continue reading MCMXXXIX I: King of the Underworld


(November 12, 2020)

I hate choosing movies to watch; it’s just … better … to watch the next scheduled one, so a schedule has to be created. A few years back, I watched one movie per year from 1918 to 2018 (i.e, a century), and then last year I did a decade (the 1940s); one movie per month. … Continue reading MCMXXXIX