What do Babes in Arms, Beau Geste, Gunga Din, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Only Angels Have Wings, and Young Mr. Lincoln all have in common? They are all classic films released in the same year, but none of them received Academy Award nominations for best picture. Why? In that same year, Hollywood produced Dark Victory, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Ninotchka, as well as two of the most beloved films of all time, Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. In 1939 Hollywood created an unprecedented number of great films, a year that has yet to be surpassed in cinematic achievement.
In 1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year, Thomas S. Hischak looks at the most remarkable 365 days in film history. Arranged chronologically from January 1 to December 31, 1939, each entry covers one day and features major news events (national and international) as well as minor curiosities or news items that would prove to be more important in the future. The activities on Broadway, radio, the music business, literature, and other arts are included, as are noteworthy sporting events. Most significantly, this book provides a full description and commentary on the Hollywood movies that were released on that day.
All 510 feature films from all the Hollywood studios are included in the book, along with notable shorts, cartoons, newsreels, and foreign releases. While others have looked at the movie highlights of this momentous year, Hischak evaluates Hollywood’s entire screen output of 1939, from B pictures and serial installments to the international blockbusters—and every film in between. 1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year is a captivating look at this phenomenon and will fascinate any film aficionado.