Program Notes

From the Film Vault Blog

Program Notes: The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex movie poster

The year 1939 was a very good one for actress Bette Davis. The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex shows her at her most magnificent – a monumental, horrifying, and very human performance.

Program Notes: Juarez (1939)

Juarez movie poster

The makers of Juarez went out of their way to ensure the film would be as historically accurate as possible. But this 1939 release is also an inflated bore, a history lesson in which the history smothers all the drama.

Program Notes: Stanley and Livingstone (1939)

Stanley and Livingstone movie poster

1939’s Stanley and Livingstone is remarkable for rejecting the imperialism and casual racism that afflicted so many Hollywood movies set in the “Dark Continent.” It’s also a hugely satisfying adventure yarn.

Program Notes: The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939)

The Story of Alexander Graham Bell movie poster

Every now and then an actor becomes inseparable from a role. Don Ameche will always be known for playing Alexander Graham Bell. The movie was so popular that for nearly 20 years after it was common to substitute the word “Ameche” for “telephone.”

Program Notes: Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

Young Mr. Lincoln movie poster

Seventy five years after its creation, John Ford’s Young Mr. Lincoln still retains an astonishing ability to tap into our shared mythology. It has a wonderful quality that every work of art must have.