Gone With the Wind. The Wizard of Oz. Stagecoach. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Wuthering Heights.
What these great films have in common is the year in which they hit America's movie screens. Film critics regard 1939 as the greatest year in Hollywood history, when more memorable movies were released than at any other time.
Throughout 2014, the Kansas City Public Library recreates the movie going experience enjoyed by audiences 75 years earlier. Each week, the free series Hollywood's Greatest Year will present a movie from 1939.
The series embraces comedies, musicals, Westerns, heavy-hitting dramas, crime stories, horror, romance - virtually the entire range of films released by the major movie studios. Included are 1939's entries from such long-running series as Sherlock Holmes, The Thin Man, Andy Hardy, and Tarzan.
Virtually every star then in front of the camera is represented: Henry Fonda, Greta Garbo, Ginger Rogers, John Wayne, Clark Gable, Jean Arthur, Cary Grant, Laurence Olivier, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Humphrey Bogart, Paul Muni, Judy Garland, Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney ... the list seems endless.
Hollywood's Greatest Year screens on Saturdays at 1:30p.m. in the Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.
To kick off the series, Robert W. Butler - former Kansas City Star movie critic, now with the Library's public affairs department - gives an introductory talk, 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year, on Sunday, December 29, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
A reception follows the event. Admission is free.
JANUARY: COMEDY Part 1
January 4 Ninotchka (Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas; Director: Ernst Lubitsch)
January 11 Bachelor Mother (Ginger Rogers, David Niven; Director: Garson Kanin)
January 18 Idiot's Delight (Norma Shearer, Clark Gable; Director: Clarence Brown)
January 25 Only Angels Have Wings (Cary Grant, Jean Arthur; Director: Howard Hawks)
FEBRUARY: GREAT ADAPTATIONS
February 1 The Man in the Iron Mask (Louis Hayward, Joan Bennett; Director: James Whale)
February 8 The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara; Director: William Dieterle)
February 15 Wuthering Heights (Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier; Director: William Wyler)
February 22 Gulliver's Travels (Animated; Director: Dave Fleischer)
March 1 Dodge City (Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland; Director: Michael Curtiz)
March 8 Drums Along the Mohawk (Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda; Director: John Ford)
March 15 Jesse James (Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda; Director: Henry King)
March 22 Union Pacific (Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea; Director: Cecil B. DeMille)
March 29 Destry Rides Again (James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich; Director: George Marshall)
April 5 Love Affair (Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer; Director: Leo McCarey)
April 12 The Women (Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer; Director: George Cukor)
April 19 Dark Victory (Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart; Director: Edmund Goulding)
April 26 The Old Maid (Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins; Director: Edmund Goulding)
MAY: TRUE LIVES
May 3 Young Mr. Lincoln (Henry Fonda; Director: John Ford)
May 10 The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (Don Ameche, Loretta Young; Director: Irving Cummings)
May 17 Stanley and Livingstone (Spencer Tracy, Richard Greene; Director: Henry King)
May 24 Juarez (Paul Muni, Bette Davis; Director: William Dieterle)
May 31 The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Bette Davis, Errol Flynn; Director: Michael Curtiz)
JUNE: COMEDY, Part 2
June 7 You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (W.C. Fields; Director: George Marshall)
June 14 The Cat and the Canary (Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard; Director: Elliott Nugent)
June 21 In Name Only (Carol Lombard, Cary Grant; Director: John Cromwell)
June 28 Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (Mickey Rooney; Director: W.S. Van Dyke)
JULY: CRIME STORIES
July 5 Another Thin Man (William Powell, Myrna Loy; Director: W.S. Van Dyke)
July 12 Each Dawn I Die (James Cagney, George Raft; Director: William Keighley)
July 19 Confessions of a Nazi Spy (Edward G. Robinson, George Sanders; Director: Anatole Litvak)
July 26 The Roaring Twenties (James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart; Director: Raoul Walsh)
AUGUST: ALL-TIME CLASSICS
August 2 Gone With the Wind (Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh; Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood)
August 9 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (James Stewart, Jean Arthur; Director: Frank Capra)
August 16 The Wizard of Oz (Judy Garland, Ray Bolger; Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy)
August 23 Stagecoach (John Wayne, Claire Trevor; Director: John Ford)
August 30 Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Robert Donat, Greer Garson; Director: Sam Wood)
September 6 Babes in Arms (Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland; Director: Busby Berkeley)
September 13 Rose of Washington Square (Alice Faye, Tyrone Power; Director: Gregory Ratoff)
September 20 The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers; Director: H.C. Potter)
September 27 Hollywood Cavalcade (Alice Faye, Don Ameche; Director: Irving Cummings)
OCTOBER: HORROR & SUSPENSE
October 4 Jamaica Inn (Maureen O'Hara, Charles Laughton; Director: Alfred Hitchcock)
October 11 The Hound of the Baskervilles (Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce; Director: Sidney Lanfield)
October 18 Tower of London (Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone; Director: Rowland Lee)
October 25 Son of Frankenstein (Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi; Director: Rowland Lee)
NOVEMBER: HARD-HITTING DRAMA
November 1 The Rains Came (Myrna Loy, Tyrone Power: Director: Clarence Brown)
November 8 The Light that Failed (Ronald Colman, Walter Huston; Director: William Wellman)
November 15 Of Mice and Men (Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney Jr.; Director: Lewis Milestone)
November 22 Golden Boy (William Holden, Barbara Stanwyck; Director: Rouben Mamoulian) November 29 The Four Feathers (Ralph Richardson, John Clements; Director: Zoltan Korda)
December 6 Beau Geste (Gary Cooper, Ray Milland; Director: William Wellman)
December 13 Tarzan Finds a Son! (Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan; Director: Richard Thorpe)
December 20 Buck Rogers (Buster Crabbe, Constance Moore; Directors: Ford Beebe, Saul Goodkind)
December 27 Gunga Din (Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine; Director: George Stevens)
Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore.