Scarecrow: I haven't got a brain...only straw.
Dorothy: How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?
Scarecrow: I don't know, but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't they?
Dorothy: Yes, I guess you're right.
--- The Wizard of Oz
If you stop to think about it, the movies that came out in 1939 were released 75 years ago. Many of them have been forgotten, some justly, some unjustly. And some of them are among the all time classics in movie history.
In honor of their 75th anniversary I am going to be recommending my five top rated films from 1939, along with the ones from the 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list that received three stars from me.
Why am I doing this category? Why this year? It is because I consider 1939 to be the best year for movies in all of cinema history. 1994 would be second, in case you are curious. I discussed that year here. By the way, 1954 and 1974 are also standouts.
I won’t be reviewing them now, but so that these good films at least get some notice, here are other 1939 movies that I would recommend: The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, Dark Victory, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Young Mr. Lincoln, and Of Mice and Men
Here are the 1939 movies I have seen that I would not recommend: Destry Rides Again, Gunga Din, and Babes in Arms. All are 2.5 star movies, which means they were okay, but not good enough to recommend.
There are some notable 1939 movies that I have not seen. If you have a particular favorite among them, please let me know: The Four Feathers, The Women, Son of Frankenstein, Gulliver’s Travels, The Roaring Twenties, Buck Rogers, The Story of Alexander Graham Bell, Beau Geste, Drums Along the Mohawk, and Midnight. I have not seen Love Affair yet, but since it is a Best Picture nominee I will watch it eventually. I am pretty sure I have seen both The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but I am not positive.
As I post the reviews, I will come back and add links here for those posts:
1. Mr.Smith Goes to Washington – (posted May 6, 2012)
Gone with the Wind
Only Angels Have Wings
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum
On to the reviews…