From the Film Vault

From the Film Vault Blog

Program Notes: The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)

The Man in the Iron Mask movie poster

The Man in the Iron Mask is the sort of rousing historical swashbuckler that Hollywood turned out with regularity during its so-called Golden Era. It's also the last great gasp in the career of director James Whale.

Program Notes: Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Only Angels Have Wings movie poster

Only Angels Have Wings was made under studio conditions. Yet it doesn’t seem artificial. The emotions feel real, the dialogue sharp and authentic, the characters interesting. It’s a classic example of how “Hollywood phony” can be more satisfying than realism.

Program Notes: Idiot’s Delight (1939)

Idiot’s Delight movie poster

Idiot’s Delight features Clark Gable’s only on-screen singing/dancing performance. It was very timely film in 1939. Today, not so much. Still, as one of that year’s hits it’s part of our year-long film series Hollywood’s Greatest Year.

Program Notes: Bachelor Mother (1939)

Bachelor Mother movie poster

Bachelor Mother (1939) is a prime example of a production that cannily employed comedy to dance through forbidden territory. Ginger Rogers got to show off her comic chops and an impeccable sense of timing.

Program Notes: Ninotchka (1939)

Ninotchka movie poster

For most of her career, the great Swedish star Greta Garbo was known as a dramatic actress. A tragic actress, in fact. Few, then, were prepared for 1939’s brilliant comedy Ninotchka.