Descriptions 1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year
1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year is a once-over-lightly evocation of a slate of classic films unmatched before or since. In a year permitting 10 Best Picture nominees, the final cut included Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Dark Victory, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, Wuthering Heights, Love Affair. Shut out: The Roaring ’20s, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Intermezzo, Destry Rides Again, Idiot’s Delight, Young Mr. Lincoln, Gunga Din. This hour-long film finds room to acknowledge a few of these non-starters, but its brevity means a lot gets left out. This includes the absence of anything that doesn’t celebrate the studio system, including the practices of the shrewd tyrants who ran them, seen in brief archival footage.