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1939 REDUX: DIGGING DEEPER INTO “HOLLYWOOD’S GREATEST YEAR”

Synopsis:

1939 REDUX: DIGGING DEEPER INTO “HOLLYWOOD’S GREATEST YEAR”

Friday November 6th 2009, 7:30PM

ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (1939)
Directed by Howard Hawks
Stranded in a remote South American outpost, Jean Arthur’s vagabond showgirl finds herself alternately repelled and inexplicably drawn to the brutal ethos that bonds a group of death-courting mail (male) pilots lead by Cary Grant’s seemingly ruthless boss. Scripted by Jules Furthman, Only Angels Have Wings is archetypal action adventure that couldn’t be more quintessentially Hawksian in its valorization of impenetrable masculinity. 35mm, B/W, 121 min.


FIVE CAME BACK (1939)
Directed by John Farrow
Director John Farrow wrings riveting tension from every second of this tightly plotted disaster film about a dozen passengers struggling to survive after their plane crashes in the uncharted Amazon. Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo injects a hardboiled dose of social commentary into the action as some of the passengers prove more dangerous than the menacing jungle. 35mm, B/W, 74 min.



Saturday November 7th 2009, 7:30PM

Restored Print!
JESSE JAMES (1939)
Directed by Henry King
A star-studded epic directed by Henry King, Jesse James was the first Western shot in Technicolor and features Tyrone Power, as the titular outlaw, in his first Western role. Nunnally Johnson’s script focuses on the myth of James as a peace-loving family man wronged by a greedy railroad but despite such historical inaccuracies, Jesse James remains one of the great Hollywood Westerns of all time. 35mm, color, 105 min.


DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939)
Directed by George Marshall
Jimmy Stewart stars as Destry, an unorthodox sheriff who cleans up a crooked frontier town without wearing a gun. A comedic remake of a Tom Mix Western, this box office hit miraculously revived the career of Marlene Dietrich who had been declared “box office poison” a year earlier. Her song, “Boys in the Backroom,” became a signature of her stage show for decades. 35mm, B/W, 94 min.



Saturday November 14th 2009, 7:30PM

FIFTH AVENUE GIRL (1939)
Directed by Gregory La Cava
When Walter Connolly’s wealthy industrialist strikes up a friendship with Ginger Roger’s working girl, his jaded patrician brood goes from concern to alarm after he moves her into their palatial Fifth Avenue mansion. Is she a gold digger or has he really fallen in love? The answers come as brilliant screwball comedy in this late-Depression era social satire. 35mm, B/W, 83 min.


THE GREAT MAN VOTES (1939)
Directed by Garson Kanin
Complicated icon of stage and screen, John Barrymore stars in one of last major roles as a former professor turned to drink after the death of his wife. Working as a night watchman, his only remaining champions are his two precocious kids who shove him toward redemption in a battle with the local party boss after it’s discovered that he's the only registered voter in a crucial district for the local machine. 35mm, B/W, 72 min.



Sunday November 15th 2009, 7:00PM

BABES IN ARMS (1939)
Directed by Busby Berkeley
This backstage musical features Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney as the children of vaudevillians, trying to break into show business by organizing their own show in summer stock. Garland’s follow-up to The Wizard of Oz was a less ambitious, but equally successful musical, bringing the teen actors together again, after they had both starred in an earlier Andy Hardy film. 35mm, B/W, 93 min.


FIRST LOVE (1939)
Directed by Henry Koster
Deanne Durbin stars as an orphan living with wealthy relatives in this absolutely charming reworking of the Cinderella tale. She meets her “first love” at the social ball of the season, namely Robert Stack in his Hollywood debut. Durbin had single-handedly put Universal in the black in the mid-1930s and here she successfully transitions from the child star of Three Smart Girls (1936) to an ingenue. 35mm, B/W, 84 min.



Sunday November 22nd 2009, 7:00PM*

IN NAME ONLY (1939)
Directed by John Cromwell
Hollywood melodramas don’t get much more satisfyingly soapy than this with Cary Grant trapped in a loveless marriage to a conniving Kay Francis while his heart yearns for Carole Lombard’s heroic single mother. Chance and fate drive the story here as much as in any film noir while Lombard displays her dramatic chops with wrenching effectiveness. 35mm, B/W, 94 min.


REMEMBER? (1939)
Directed by Norman Z. McLeod
Hoping to capitalize on the rave reviews given Greer Garson for her performance in Goodbye, Mr. Chips, MGM raced Garson into this dizzy romantic comedy about a couple who fall madly in love only to fall out again until a scientist friend doses them both an amnesia potion. Largely dismissed at the time of its release, Remember? deserves a second look in the era of Charlie Kauffman. 35mm, B/W, 82 min.

* Please note the early start time.



Sunday December 6th 2009, 7:00PM*

IDIOT'S DELIGHT (1939)
Directed by Clarence Brown
The story concerns a motley crew of American ex-patriots holed up in a Swiss mountain resort as war clouds gather around them. The original Broadway play by Robert E. Sherwood won a Pulitzer Prize, but this MGM adaptation failed at the box office. Nevertheless, this is an interesting document of America’s collective psyche in 1939, torn between isolationism and the desire to help those struggling against Fascism. 35mm, B/W, 100 min.


CONFESSIONS OF A NAZI SPY (1939)
Directed by Anatole Litvak
Based on a sensational Nazi espionage trial in 1938, Confessions was the first studio film to address Fascism and Hitler’s rise to power given that Germany was Hollywood’s largest European market. While Edward G. Robinson reprises the role of G-man he had played in other Warners films, Sanders creates a suave, sophisticated and thoroughly evil Nazi, a perennial characterization reappearing most recently in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. 16mm, B/W, 104 min.

* Please note the early start time.



Friday December 11th 2009, 7:30PM

THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1939)
Directed by Elliott Mugent
In the second studio remake of the silent old dark house classic, Bob Hope matches every bump in the night with a trademark one liner as someone or something tries to keep Paulette Goddard’s naïve waif from inheriting a fortune. For all the film’s comic sensibilities, director Elliott Mugent doesn’t skimp on the creepy atmospherics in this genre-bending treat. 35mm, B/W, 72 min.


SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939)
Directed by Rowland V. Lee
The son of the notorious “Maker of Monsters” (Rathbone) moves with his wife and young son into the ruins of castle Frankenstein (presumably for the good schools) where he becomes obsessed with reviving his father’s experiments. The third installment in Universal’s Frankenstein series features classic chills amid a stripped-down but striking visual style with journeyman director Rowland V. Lee at the helm. 35mm, B/W, 95 min.



 

Genre:

Classic Hollywood