1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year (2009)

TV Movie  |  TV-G  |   |  Documentary  |  2 July 2009 (USA)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator (voice)
Himself - Film Critic and Historian
Thomas Schatz ...
Himself - Author of 'The Genius of the System'
F.X. Feeney ...
Himself - Film Critic and Historian
Scott Eyman ...
Himself - Author of 'Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer'
Jeanine Basinger ...
Herself - Author of 'The Star Machine'
Aubrey Solomon ...
Himself - Author of 'The Films of Twentieth Century-Fox'
Molly Haskell ...
Herself - Author of 'Frankly, My Dear'
Himself (archive footage)
Himself - Author of 'Inside Warner Bros.'
Himself (archive footage)
Joseph McBride ...
Himself - Author of 'Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success'
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)


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Release Date:

2 July 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

1939: El gran año de Hollywood  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Available on the Gone with the Wind (1939) Ultimate Collector's Edition and Scarlet Edition Blu-Ray releases, as well as the Ultimate Collector's Edition DVD. See more »


Features Of Mice and Men (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

Another Winning Documentary for TCM
3 July 2009 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year (2009)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Extremely entertaining documentary from Warner takes a look at 1939, which many film buffs and historians consider the greatest year for movies. The documentary has Kenneth Branagh doing the narration and features interviews with Leonard Maltin, Rudy Behlmer and many others as they look over the countless great films released that year. They break the movies down by studios and is pretty level in regards to all of them with the exception of Universal and Paramount. No clips from either of those studios are shown and the movies themselves get very little mention, although Maltin does mention SON OF FRANKENSTEIN. The spotlight is certainly on MGM as they released the two monsters in GONE WITH THE WIND as well as THE WIZARD OF OZ. We also take a look at the work done by John Ford with YOUNG MR. LINCOLN, DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK and STAGECOACH. Capra and MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON is also a favorite here as are discussion of NINOTCHKA, OF MICE AND MEN, GUNGA DIN, DODGE CITY, THE ROARING TWENTIES and countless other gems. The documentary does a great job at introducing these films to those who might not be familiar with them or the legend of 1939 but I think the one weak spot is that there's never really any talk of why the studios were pumping out so many great movies in this one year. There's a brief mention of coming out of the Depression and going for it all but more discussion here would have been a plus. Coming in at just under 70-minutes, the documentary is a good introduction to these films.

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