Looking for a follow-up to Moonlight and Magnolias? Get your friends and family together for a 1939-inspired movie screening.
The 1930's are considered by most to be one of the strongest decades of American film history and 1939 certainly takes center stage, now affectionately know as the "Golden Year" of Hollywood's Golden Age.
As the outbreak of war edged closer in Europe, the Hollywood studio system entertained American movie-goers with sweeping epics (Gone With the Wind and Gunga Din) and idealized visions of American life and politics (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stagecoach, Drums along the Mohawk, and Young Mr. Lincoln).
So many top films were produced in 1939 that 10 movies (Dark Victory, Gone With the Wind, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz and Wuthering Heights) were nominated for a best-picture Oscar, with the award going to the blockbuster hit Gone With the Wind. It's the perfect screening line-up, so start adding to that Netflix dvd queue!
A great resource for exploring this amazing year in filming history is Ted Sennett's Hollywood's Golden Year, 1939. Sennett, a film historian and critic, highlights these brilliant successes without overlooking their various weaknesses in this illustrated hardcover.
Another gem, Sennett's Great Hollywood Films provides a photographic overview of the very best films in every genre. A 1986 publication, it's definitely a must-have for any film lover.
For a similar visual treat, pick up Mark Vieira's hardcover Hollywood Portraits: Classic Scene Stills 1939-1951. A follow-up to Hollywood Portraits: Classic Scene Stills 1929-1941, both hardcovers feature full-page images throughout. An Oakland native, Vieira is a photographer and writer that specializes in the history of film.
Fun fact: The average cost of a movie ticket was $0.23 in 1939!
"1939: Hollywood's Golden Year." American Decades. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. 12 Mar. 2012 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.
"Amid dark clouds of war, Hollywood's Golden Year." Los Angeles Times. 2003. Latimes.com. 12 Mar. 2012 <http://articles.latimes.com/2003/jul/05/entertainment/et-king5>.