The Dawn Patrol


The Dawn Patrol with Errol Flynn, David Niven, and Basil Rathbone.  This is a WWI British aviator movie.  It is a remake of a 1930 Howard Hawks movie of the same name.  Basil Rathbone is the commander of a flying unit who is forced to send his men on horribly dangerous missions.  On each mission 30% or more of his men do not return.  He is sent a steady stream of replacements with little flying experience and no combat experience.  Most of these men do not survive their first combat flight.  Errol Flynn and David Niven are two of his best pilots.  During the movie Flynn is promoted to replace Rathbone and then Niven is promoted to replace Flynn.  The same scenario is played out again and again with the new replacements ever younger and more inexperienced.  One of these is Niven's younger brother.

This is a dark but very interesting movie.  It is supposedly very true to the 1930 original but probably has a better cast.  Apparently to save money the aerial scenes were all borrowed from footage shot for the 1930 movie.

Just Around the Corner


Just Around the Corner with Shirley Temple.  This is the one where Shirley Temple and her widower father were once well-to-do but suffer a reversal of fortune.  Shirley befriends everyone she meets, dances with Bill Robinson, and gets together with her friends to put on a show.  In the end she wins over the crotchety old man and prosperity returns.

The First Hundred Years


The First Hundred Years with Robert Montgomery.  This is a women's lib movie!  Lynn Claymore Conway (Virginia Bruce) is a highly successful literary and theatrical agent married to not-as-successful shipbuilder David Conway (Robert Montgomery).  They have been living a New York lifestyle impossible on David's salary.  He finally gets his dream job running a shipyard but it requires they move to New Bedford.  Even on his fantastic new salary of $15,000/year he won't earn as much as his wife, but it will be enough to have a nice life (with household staff intact) in New Bedford.  She doesn't want to quit, and they play a game of brinkmanship with each other to convince the other to give up his/her job.  Part of this sparring is when a judge awards David $400/month alimony from Lynn.  All is settled when Lynn learns she is pregnant.  New Bedford here they come.

Too Hot To Handle


Too Hot To Handle, starring Clark Gable and Myrna Loy.  It also has Walter Pidgeon and Marjorie Main (Ma Kettle).  Gable and Pidgeon play rival newsreel reporters.  Gable in particular is not above creating his own news in order to get a good scoop.  Myrna Loy plays an Amelia Earhart-esque aviatrix who is first a newsreel subject and then an employee of the newsreel company.  Gable gets caught in too many lies and he loses the girl.  Later, when she needs to be rescued from the Amazon, he gets her back.

Clark Gable and Myrna Loy had just enjoyed great success with an earlier movie named Test Pilot (also from 1938) and MGM was trying to keep the ball rolling.

One interesting thing:  the movie is about newsreel reporters and in one scene they film a munitions ship that is on fire and eventually explodes.  When later talking about this incident, the name of the ship is overdubbed in the dialog.  What they end up saying (verified by closed captioning) is "Ilgrem Krest" as the name of the ship.  I don't know what they originally said (Pilgrim's Crest?) but my guess is they changed the name to avoid a name that sounded too much like a real disaster.  I can't turn up what this might have been.  Nobody talking about this movie on the web seems to mention it.  Frustrating.



Holiday, with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, directed by George Cukor.  Cary Grant proposes to a girl he met on holiday at Lake Placid, only to learn upon returning to the city that she is rich.  He is not, and doesn't put much store in the trappings of high society.  The attitudes of his fiancée's sister, Katharine Hepburn, are much more in line with his way of thinking. 

There are comments in all movies that don't need explanation to their original audience, but many times leave me mystified.  This one mentions going to the movies for "bank night".  I have run across this one before but didn't remember exactly what it was.  It was a lottery with the winners announced at particular movie showings.  A movie ticket wasn't required to claim your prize, so it didn't run afoul of gambling laws, but most people paid to watch the movie because you had to claim your prize within a short time.  I have heard the term "bank night" in movies several times without it ever being given any real context.

The rich family also mentions being one of "America's 60 Families".  This was the title of a 1937 expose by Ferdinand Lundberg who used tax records to discover that America wealth and power was controlled by only sixty families, which he listed.

Lastly, upon seeing an ill-favored cousin and his wife, Katharine Hepburn says "For the love of Pete... it's the witch and Dopey!".  Snow White had just come out in 1937.

Grant and Hepburn were terrific.  Also Edward Everett Horton.

The Baroness and the Butler


The Baroness and the Butler with William Powell, directed by Walter Lang.  William Powell plays the butler of the Hungarian prime minister, accommodating his preferences to perfection.  The household is put in an uproar when the radio announces that Powell has been elected to parliament representing the opposing party. Powell does not intend, however, for his political career to prevent him from dressing the prime minister in the morning and making sure his breakfast is made just so.

I have a couple of complaints about this one.  The audio quality of the broadcast was poor, and the female lead was played by "Popular French actress Annabella, in her US film debut".  Her accent in poor audio was hard to follow.  Also, this film was set in Budapest, like The Shop Around the Corner.  I don't get that this location added anything to the movie, so either Hungary was popular at the time or they felt like they had to be faithful to the source material.  William Powell was great, and is always best in formal wear.  I guess Walter Lang didn't hit his stride until later.

You Can't Take It with You


You Can't Take It with You, with Jean Arthur,Lionel Barrymore,James Stewart,Ann Miller, and Spring Byington.

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