Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Two From '39

Sunday evening I enjoyed to semi-neglected films from the classic movie year of 1939. The first up was the non-musical version of Goodbye Mr. Chips. Star Robert Donat beat Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith, and Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind, to win the best actor trophy at that years Oscar ceremony. The movie is based on the novel by James "Everything I Write is Designed to Make You Cry Like A Baby" Hilton, and concerns the six decade association of a 'classics' teacher with an English boys school. Greer Garson plays the love intrest. While I feel the English boys school sub-genra has been done better (To Serve Them All My Days), this is a moving film with a highley relatable lead and too much Terry Kilburn.

Second feature of the evening was Dark Victory. I read a piece in Films of the Golden Age, that talked about how the children of a military officer who had raised his kids on black and white films, liked to call this movie "Bette Davis Dying". "Bette Davis dying" is actully a pretty good description for this film, as the story involves said actress as an heiress with a fatal brian condition, and George Brent as the brain surgon who falls in love with her, despite being unable to save her. High melodrama. Ronald Reagan and Humphrey Bogart also via for Ms. Davis's romantic attentions, playing a play boy and horse traner respectively.


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