Project 39

project39Things are really starting to get hopping over at Project 39. The past few weeks has seen a terrific slew of top-notch films celebrating their 70th anniversaries.

Remember and rejoice. (all capsule review from Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide.)
*****

Claudette Colbert & Don Ameche, Midnight
Claudette Colbert & Don Ameche, Midnight

Midnight
*** ½
Mitchell Leisen. Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore, Francis Lederer, Mary Astor. Penniless Colbert masquerades as Hungarian countess in chic Parisian marital mix-up; near-classic comedy written by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. Barrymore’s antics are especially memorable. – Leonard Maltin.

George Brent & Bette Davis, Dark Victory
George Brent & Bette Davis, Dark Victory

Dark Victory
*** ½

Edmund Goulding. Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Ronald Regan, Cora Witherspoon, Henry Travers. Definitive Davis performance as a spoiled socialite whose life is ending; Brent as brain surgeon husband, Fitzgerald as devoted friend register in good soaper. Bogart as Irish stable master seems out of place.

Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland

Dodge City
***
Michael Curtiz. Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Ann Sheridan, Bruce Cabbot, Alan Hale, Frank McHugh. Errol tames the West and de Havilland, in entertaining large-scale Western, with Warner Bros. stock company and the granddaddy of all barroom brawls. Principal inspiration for Blazing Saddles.

Basil Rathbone
Basil Rathbone

The Hound of the Baskervilles
***1/2
Sidney Lanfield. Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Richard Greene, Wendy Barrie, John Carradine, Lionel Atwill. Rathbone made his first appearance as Sherlock Holmes in this grade-A production based on Conan Doyle’s story about mysterious murders taking place at a creepy mansion on the moors (though he’s off screen for a good part of the story). Fairly faithful to the source material with the now classic closing line from cocaine-user Holmes: “Quick Watson, the needle!”

Irene Dunne & Charles Boyer, Love Affair
Irene Dunne & Charles Boyer, Love Affair

Love Affair
***1/2
Leo McCarey. Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Lee Bowman, Astrid Allwyn, Maria Ouspenskaya. Superior comedy-drama about shipboard romance whose continuation onshore is  interrupted by unforeseen circumstances. Dunne and Boyer are a marvelous match. Screenplay by Delmer Daves and Donald Ogden Steward, from story by Mildred Cram and Leo McCarey. Remade as An Affair to Remember and then Love Affair.

Merle Oberon & Laurence Olivier, Wuthering Heights
Merle Oberon & Laurence Olivier, Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights
****
William Wyler. Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier, David Niven, Flora Robson, Donald Crisp, Geraldine Fitzgerald. Stirring adaptation of Emily Bronte’s novel stops at chapter 17, but viewers shouldn’t despair: sensitive direction and sweeping performances propel this magnificent story of doomed love in pre-Victorian England. Haunting, a must see film. Gregg Toland’s moody photography won an oscar; script by Ben Hecth and Charles MacArthur.

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Gen Y reject and wage slave extraordinaire.

3 thoughts on “Project 39

  1. I was wondering when the 1939 celebrations would begin! (puts on party hat)

    I have to say, though, who in their right mind gives Dark Victory and Love Affair 3 and 1/2 stars? Come on Leonard Maltin! Four!

  2. lol–isn’t it the truth?? funny thing is, the only film Maltin gave 4 stars is Wuthering Heights–and I would give THAT one 3 1/2 over the likes of Love Affair and Dark Victory!

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