Man-Proof

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This movie has quite an incredible cast: Myrna Loy, Walter Pidgeon, Franchot Tone, and Rosalind Russell. Unfortunately, Rosalind Russell has hardly any dialog except for a schmaltzy speech near the end. She probably spoke more words in the first two minutes of "His Girl Friday" than she did in this entire movie.

Myrna Loy loves playboy Walter Pidgeon, but he marries industrial heiress Rosalind Russell instead. Myrna doesn't give up and Walter's head is easily turned. Platonic family friend Franchot Tone would be a better match, and so it (eventually) goes. It gets a little maudlin in the last act.

Mystery House

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This one starts out with a locked room murder in a hunting lodge, then reconvenes all the suspects for what looks like an "and then there were none" scenario, but it peters out after two additional murders. Agatha Christie didn't publish that book until the following year, anyway.

Accidents Will Happen

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Ronald Reagan plays Eric Gregg, an insurance fraud investigator who is very good at his job. He is saving his company thousands of dollars but  (despite promises from his boss) his own compensation is not increasing. Gregg's wife Nona (Sheila Bromley) is impatient to start having some of the better things in life. Her impatience eventually causes her to collude with an organized bunch of insurance fraudsters to get her husband fired. Gregg, jobless and wifeless, conspires with the girl from the candy counter (Gloria Blondell) to form his own insurance fraud racket. Eventually he merges with the original fraudsters and begins orchestrating bigger and bigger frauds. *Spoiler Alert* It turns out he has been working undercover with the State's Attorney to gather evidence against the fraudsters.

Lightning Carson Rides Again

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This appears to be the first of eight follow-up films to 1936's "Lightnin' Bill Carson".  Federal lawman William "Lightning Bill" Carson has a reputation for being lightning fast on the draw. He is also apparently a master of disguise. In this movie, he sets out to prove his nephew innocent of robbing a bank shipment by infiltrating the bad guy's gang under the persona of Mexican money launderer Jose Fernandez. The good guys triumph.

Storm in a Teacup

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Technically from 1937 but not released in the US until 1938, this movie stars Vivien Leigh and Rex Harrison. In a small town in Scotland, Vivien Leigh is the daughter of the Provost (basically the mayor) who has higher political aspirations.  Rex Harrison is an English newspaper reporter recently arrived to work at the local paper. Given an assignment to conduct a softball interview of the Provost, he instead publishes a rebuke of the Provost's treatment of a working-class woman who refused to pay her dog license fee.  All hell breaks loose. Rex Harrison is just as entertainingly smug here as he is with his Henry Higgins.

Sing You Sinners

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It just shows to go you that I can still be surprised. I had never even heard of this movie that stars Bing Crosby, Fred MacMurray, and a 12-year-old Donald O'Connor. So far this is the only 1938 movie I've run across with even one of these three actors. This is a musical and not only does Fred MacMurray sing, he sings in drag to a Hoagy Carmichael tune.

Three brothers live with their mother but only staid David (Fred MacMurray) has a job to support them all. David wants to marry his sweetheart but won't propose until layabout Joe (Bing Crosby) gets a job so that Joe can support the family when David moves out. Joe doesn't want a steady job but instead hopes to get rich by "swapping" things. Joe eventually moves to California where a lucky series of racetrack bet swaps gives him a sizable stake, which he eventually converts to ownership of a racehorse. Everyone's fortune depends on the outcome of a single race. After much Sturm und Drang he eventually comes out on top, but then (reluctantly) agrees to a steady gig of nightclub singing with his brothers for future income.

Birthright

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This movie may have been released in 1939, but it may have been released in 1938. I'm going with it.

The first two reels (20 minutes) of this movie are missing and summarized in this print.  It is a movie that was created for the segregated black audiences of the time. It is (almost) all about race issues in the South. It is by the same director as Swing!, which I think is a better movie.

A black man from Hooker's Bend (somewhere in the South) goes to Harvard and then returns to his hometown to start a school for higher education for Negroes. He is met with trickery and bullying from the well-to-do white folk, ridicule from the less-well-to-do whites folk, and open hostility from most of the black folk.

As far as race relations go, this movie seems to aver that all is right in the North, but still horrible in the South.  Also, the forward thinking blacks are all very light skinned.  I am not sure what messages are being sent with this movie.  The race relations had some complex undertones that were probably easily understood by its audience.

Production values were poor.  Here is an interesting exchange (with closed captioning turned on so you can see the dialog):

Let your seed wither in your loin,

 
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