Best Drama Movies of 1939
Gone with the Wind
The spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner is forced to use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of poverty, following Maj. Gen. William Sherman's "March to the Sea,” during the American Civil War.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Naive and idealistic Jefferson Smith, leader of the Boy Rangers, is appointed to the United States Senate by the puppet governor of his state. He soon discovers, upon going to Washington, many shortcomings of the political process as his earnest goal of a national boys' camp leads to a conflict with the state political boss.
A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo, and learn something about each other in the process.
The Roaring Twenties
After World War I, Armistice Lloyd Hart goes back to practice law, former saloon keeper George Hally turns to bootlegging, and out-of-work Eddie Bartlett becomes a cab driver. Eddie builds a fleet of cabs through delivery of bootleg liquor and hires Lloyd as his lawyer. George becomes Eddie's partner and the rackets flourish until love and rivalry interfere.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Paris, France, 1482. Frollo, Chief Justice of benevolent King Louis XI, gets infatuated by the beauty of Esmeralda, a young Romani girl. The hunchback Quasimodo, Frollo's protege and bell-ringer of Notre Dame, lives in peace among the bells in the heights of the immense cathedral until he is involved by the twisted magistrate in his malicious plans to free himself from Esmeralda's alleged spell, which he believes to be the devil's work.
A happily married woman lets her catty friends talk her into divorce when her husband strays.
Only Angels Have Wings
Geoff Carter is the head of a crumbling air freight service in desperate need of a replacement pilot. He is forced to hire a descredited aviator who arrives with his wife, Carter's ex-lover. Meanwhile, traveler Bonnie Lee tries to get close to the emotionally closed-off Carter.
The Earnshaws are Yorkshire farmers during the early 19th Century. One day, Mr. Earnshaw returns from a trip to the city, bringing with him a ragged little boy called Heathcliff. Earnshaw's son, Hindley, resents the child, but Heathcliff becomes companion and soulmate to Hindley's sister, Catherine. After her parents die, Cathy and Heathcliff grow up wild and free on the moors and despite the continued enmity between Hindley and Heathcliff they're happy -- until Cathy meets Edgar Linton, the son of a wealthy neighbor.
Socialite Judith Traherne lives a lavish but emotionally empty life. Riding horses is one of her few joys, and her stable master is secretly in love with her. Told she has a brain tumor by her doctor, Frederick Steele, Judith becomes distraught. After she decides to have surgery to remove the tumor, Judith realizes she is in love with Dr. Steele, but more troubling medical news may sabotage her new relationship, and her second chance at life.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
A shy British teacher looks back nostalgically at his long career, taking note of the people who touched his life.
Young Mr. Lincoln
In this dramatized account of his early law career in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln is born into a modest log cabin, where he is encouraged by his first love, Ann Rutledge, to pursue law. Following her tragic death, Lincoln establishes a law practice in Springfield, where he meets a young Mary Todd. Lincoln's law skills are put to the test when he takes on the difficult task of defending two brothers who have been accused of murder.
In coastal Cornwall, England, during the early 19th Century, a young woman who's come there to visit her aunt, discovers that she's married an inkeeper who's a member of a gang of criminals who arrange shipwrecking and murder for profit.
On Borrowed Time
Young Pud is orphaned and left in the care of his aged grandparents. The boy and his grandfather are inseparable. Gramps is concerned for Pud's future and wary of a scheming relative who seeks custody of the child. One day Mr. Brink, an agent of Death, arrives to take Gramps "to the land where the woodbine twineth." Through a bit of trickery, Gramps confines Mr. Brink, and thus Death, to the branches of a large apple tree, giving Gramps extra time to resolve issues about Pud's future.
Of Mice and Men
An intellectually disabled giant and his level headed guardian find work at a sadistic cowboy's ranch in depression era America.
Another Thin Man
Not even the joys of parenthood can stop married sleuths Nick and Nora Charles from investigating a murder on a Long Island estate.
The Old Maid
The lives of two cousins are complicated by the return of an ex-boyfriend and an illegitimate child.
When linguistics professor Henry Higgins boasts that he can pass off Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle as a princess with only six months' training, Colonel George Pickering takes him up on the bet. Eliza moves into Higgins's home and begins her rigorous training after the professor comes to a financial agreement with her dustman father, Alfred. But the plucky young woman is not the only one undergoing a transformation.
Academy Award winners Gary Cooper and Ray Milland star along with Robert Preston in the epic adventure Beau Geste. When three brothers join the Foreign Legion to escape a troubled past, they find themselves trapped under the command of a sadistic sergeant deep in the scorching Sahara. Now the brothers must fight for their lives as they plot mutiny against tyranny and defend a desert fortress against a brutal enemy. Nominated for 2 Academy Awards, Beau Geste has been universally acclaimed by generations of critics and audiences alike as a true motion picture classic.
The Four Feathers
A disgraced officer risks his life to help his childhood friends in battle.
French playboy Michel Marnet and American Terry McKay fall in love during the transatlantic passage of a ship. They arrange to reunite six months later, if neither has changed their mind.
Each Dawn I Die
A corrupt D.A. with governatorial ambitions is annoyed by an investigative reporter's criticism of his criminal activities and decides to frame the reporter for manslaughter in order to silence him.
In Name Only
A wealthy man falls for a widow but is locked into a loveless marriage with a woman who has contrived to convince his parents she is the ideal wife.
The Man in the Iron Mask
Tyrannical King Louis XIV learns that he has an identical twin brother, Philippe, who was raised from birth by his late father's trusted friend D'Artagnan and his faithful musketeers, Porthos, Athos and Aramis. After Philippe falls for the king's betrothed, Spanish Princess Maria Theresa, Louis imprisons him, forcing his brother to don an iron mask that will slowly suffocate him -- and it's up to D'Artagnan to rescue him.
The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle
In 1911, minor stage comic, Vernon Castle meets the stage-struck Irene Foote. A few misadventures later, they marry and then abandon comedy to attempt a dancing career together. While they're performing in Paris, an agent sees them rehearse and starts them on their brilliant career as the world's foremost ballroom dancers. However, at the height of their fame, World War I begins.
The Little Princess
A little girl goes in search of her father who is reported missing by the military during the Second Boer War.
One of the last bills signed by President Lincoln authorizes pushing the Union Pacific Railroad across the wilderness to California. But financial opportunist Asa Barrows hopes to profit from obstructing it. Chief troubleshooter Jeff Butler has his hands full fighting Barrows' agent, gambler Sid Campeau; Campeau's partner Dick Allen is Jeff's war buddy and rival suitor for engineer's daughter Molly Monahan. Who will survive the effort to push the railroad through at any cost?
Five Came Back
Twelve people are aboard Coast Air Line's flagship the Silver Queen enroute to South America when the airplane encounters a storm and is blown off course. Crashing into jungles known to be inhabited by head hunters, pilots Bill and Joe race against time to fix the engines and attempt a take off. The situation brings out the best and worst in the stranded dozen as they create a makeshift runway and prepare to escape before the natives attack. But damage to the plane and low fuel reserves means that only 5 people can be carried to safety.
After railroad agents forcibly evict the James family from their family farm, Jesse and Frank turn to banditry for revenge.
Drums Along the Mohawk
Albany, New York, 1776. After marrying, Gil and Lana travel north to settle on a small farm in the Mohawk River Valley, but soon their growing prosperity and happiness are threatened by the sinister sound of drums that announce dark times of revolution and war.
Despite his talent as a musician, a city boy decides to become a boxer. He's successful as a fighter -- much to the dismay of his parents. When gangsters try to by a piece of him he begins to have second thoughts.
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
This period drama frames the tumultuous affair between Queen Elizabeth I and the man who would be King of England.
The Story of Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell falls in love with deaf girl Mabel Hubbard while teaching the deaf and trying to invent means for telegraphing the human voice. She urges him to put off thoughts of marriage until his experiments are complete. He invents the telephone, marries and becomes rich and famous, though his happiness is threatened when a rival company sets out to ruin him.
The newly-named emperor Maximilian and his wife Carlota arrive in Mexico to face popular sentiment favoring Benito Juárez and democracy.
Stanley and Livingstone
When American newspaperman and adventurer Henry M. Stanley comes back from the western Indian wars, his editor James Gordon Bennett sends him to Africa to find Dr. David Livingstone, the missing Scottish missionary. Stanley finds Livingstone ("Dr. Livingstone, I presume.") blissfully doling out medicine and religion to the happy natives. His story is at first disbelieved.
The Rains Came
Indian aristocrat Rama Safti returns from medical training in the U.S. to give his life to the poor folk of Ranchipur. Lady Edwina and her drunken artist ex-lover Tom Ransome get in the way, but everyone shapes up when faced by earthquake, flooding, and plague.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Huckleberry Finn, a rambunctious boy adventurer chafing under the bonds of civilization, escapes his humdrum world and his selfish, plotting father by sailing a raft down the Mississippi River.
Intermezzo: A Love Story
A concert violinist becomes charmed with his daughter's talented piano teacher. When he invites her to go on tour with him, they make beautiful music away from the concert hall as well. He soon leaves his wife so the two can go off together.
They Made Me a Criminal
A boxer flees, believing he has committed a murder while he was drunk.
Street of Missing Men
An ex-con vows vengeance on the newspaper responsible for putting him behind bars, but has a change of heart when another racketeer threatens to bring the paper down..
Babes in Arms
Mickey Moran, son of two vaudeville veterans, decides to put up his own vaudeville show with his girlfriend Patsy Barton. But child actress Rosalie wants to make a comeback and replace Patsy both professionally and as Mickey's girl.
Confessions of a Nazi Spy
FBI agent Ed Renard investigates the pre-War espionage activities of the German-American Bund.
City in Darkness
Chan goes to Paris for a reunion with friends from World War I. There he investigates the murder of a munitions manufacturer who was supplying arms to the enemy. At the end Charlie preaches to us about the dangers of peace conferences.
King of the Underworld
Physician Carole Nelson, suspected of having ties to notorious gangster Joe Gurney, must prove her innocence or the Medical Board will revoke her license. When Gurney seeks her out for treatment after being shot, it could be the break Nelson needs. Now she has a chance to use her medical know-how to outwit Gurney and his goons and reestablish her professional reputation.
A gangster is unable to go straight after returning home from prison.
Tower of London
In the 15th century Richard Duke of Gloucester, aided by his club-footed executioner Mord, eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne, then occupied by his brother King Edward IV of England. As each murder is accomplished he takes particular delight in removing small figurines, each resembling one of the successors, from a throne-room dollhouse, until he alone remains. After the death of Edward he becomes Richard III, King of England, and need only defeat the exiled Henry Tudor to retain power.
A group of disparate travelers are caught are thrown together in a posh Alpine hotel when the borders are closed at the start of WWII.
Made for Each Other
A couple struggle to find happiness after a whirlwind courtship.
Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp
Olive Oyl's screenplay for an Aladdin movie comes to life and Popeye battles for control of a genie in this, the last of the three Popeye color films.
Outside These Walls
Walen plays Dan Sparling, a convicted embezzler who becomes editor of his prison newspaper. After serving out his sentence, he sets up an independent newspaper devoted to attacking corruption in public life, encountering various difficulties due to his being an ex-con and opposition from the incumbent administration.
A paroled convict's efforts to improve conditions at a boys' reform school alarm the school's corrupt warden, who has been embezzling funds from the institution. He hatches a plan to derail the reformed convict's efforts and have him sent back to prison, and part of that scheme involves cracking down hard on the reform school's inmates.