The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Right before boarding a train, Iris (Margaret Lockwood) meets Miss Foy (Dame May Whitty) a kindly old lady who helps Iris when a planter box falls from a window hitting Iris on the head.  After some tea Miss Foy encourages Iris to take a nap, but when she wakes up Miss Foy is nowhere to be found.  In fact, all the other passengers in their compartment don’t seem to remember seeing the old lady at all.  With the help of musician/writer Gilbert (Michael Redgrave) Iris begins to unravel a complicated plot involving Miss Foy.

One of Alfred Hitchcocks’ earlier works, set the stage for his future Hollywood thrillers.

1hr. 37min.

Doctor Syn (1937)

The story is set in the late 18th century in a small fishing village that may or may not make its livelihood from goods smuggled in off the coast.  When soldiers arrive to find the smugglers, this sets in motion a number of plans by several people; one of which is the kindly vicar Doctor Syn (George Arliss), who mysteriously appeared in the village 20 years ago. Also featuring Margaret Lockwood and Roy Emerton.

1hr. 18min.

Lost Horizon (1937)

Set on the brink of WWII, this story follows 5 foreigners caught up in the civil unrest of China, who make it out with their lives on the last plane. Only to find themselves kidnapped and eventually crashing in a remote mountain region deep in the Himalayas. There they’re saved by a mysterious people who live in a fertile mountain valley called Shangri-La. Ronald Colman stars as a decorated writer, soldier and diplomat who may have just discovered a place where he can finally have peace.

Directed by Frank Capra, in a departure from his normal midwest small town setting. It still delves deep into personal drama as well as lofty and simple ideas of peace and goodwill towards our fellow man.  Dimitri Tiomkins’ ethereal and sweeping score perfectly matches the mystery and epic power of this timeless tale.

2hr. 12min.

Romance in Manhattan (1935)

When immigrant Karel Novak (Francis Lederer) arrives in New York he’s filled with optimism for his new life, but a change in rules is going to have him sent back home.  Acting on impulse he literally jumps ship and makes it back to the city.  With no money and nowhere to go, he runs into chorus girl Sylvia (Ginger Rogers) who decides to help him.  Sylvia, her brother and Karel are able to make something of a family together as they struggle to survive in this little gem.

1hr. 17min.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The classic tale of a girl named Dorothy (Judy Garland) who gets caught in a twister and whisked away to the magical land of Oz. There she meets Munchkins, talking trees and flying monkeys. She also runs afoul of and must outwit the evil Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton).  All while trying to find her way home.

This film also features the Acadamy Award winning song Somewhere Over the Rainbow, that would become Garlands’ signature song.

1hr. 41min.

Gone with the Wind (1939)

David O Selznick produced this sweeping epic, which spans twelve years in the life of a spoiled, clever and beautiful southern belle, Scarlett O’Hara, played to perfection by Vivian Leigh.  The story begins during the heyday of the plantation owners in the Deep South, continues through the horrors of the civil war and concludes with the rebuilding of more than homes during the post war era. Clark Gable also stars as the rogue and hero, Rhett Butler.

This film swept the oscars that year, winning eight academy awards. It was the first film to do so.

3hrs. 45min.

The Amazing Adventure (1939)

In probably one of the first “Cinderella stories in reverse”, Cary Grant stars as a rich young man who can’t seem to be able to figure out what’s wrong with himself lately. A wise doctor prescribes work and (after an altercation over it) Grant bets him that he can go out and earn his own living, like anybody else for a year. He sets out on his own and through his struggles is shown kindness from unexpected sources.

1hr. 3min.

Made for Each Other (1939)

Jimmy Stewart and Carol Lombard star in this touching drama, that tells the story of the first year of a couple’s marriage.  A whirlwind courtship starts things off as the couple must then contend with the grooms crotchety mother, the birth of a son and trouble at work.  Things come to the breaking point on New Years Eve, then a near tragedy just might bring them all together.

Most popular with her screwball comedies, Lombard proves here that she could handle drama as well.

1hr. 34min.


Bachelor Mother (1939)

Ginger Rogers and David Niven star in this “comedy of errors”.  Recently unemployed Polly Parrish (Rogers) is mistakenly believed to have abandoned a baby (because of being let go from her job).  There’s a simple explanation (of course) but nobody believes her.  Things get more complicated when the son (Niven) of her boss is suspected of being the father.  It’s one hilarious complication after another in this ultimately touching comedy.

1hr. 31min.

City Lights (1931)

Charlie Chaplin directed, wrote the story as well as the musical score and stars in this touching film.  Very effective in it’s silence, this film tells the story of ‘the Little Tramp’ (Chaplin), who falls in love with a blind flower girl and is determined to do whatever it takes to get the money for the operation that will restore her sight.

The ending is considered by many to be the most touching in cinematic history.

1hr. 31min.