What is the grand illusion in The Grand Illusion? How does Jean Renoir’s realism work for this World War I film? Why is director/actor Erich von Stroheim so memorable as the director of the POW camp? And why is Dita Parlo so high in the credits? Tune in to this week’s show to get answers to these questions and more!

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How does Errol Flynn compare to Douglas Fairbanks? Does this version of Robin Hood hold up as one of the best still? How did they do those arrow-in-the-chest stunts? Tune in to this week’s show to get these answers and more!

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Why does this story connect with people so strongly that it keeps getting remade? How well do our two leads do at bringing us into this world? And what’s going on with Granny and her deus ex machina advice? Tune in to this week’s show to get these answers and more.

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When “M,” Fritz Lang’s first sound film, opened in 1931, it was clear that Lang already understood how to employ sound to his advantage in telling his story. Unlike many early ‘talkies,’ “M” isn’t wall-to-wall talking; instead, Lang used it as a sparse tool to help catch a killer. He balanced quiet moments with abrupt sharp noises. He brought in off-screen noises that affected those on-screen. He had voiceover. And of course, there is the murderer’s whistling of Peer Gynt’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Lang was a master of his craft, and certainly not a director who would be held back by the advent of sound. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Lang series with “M.”

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Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce became synonymous with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson after appearing in 14 film versions of various stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Yet at the start, neither of them got top billing. Yet now, Rathbone’s look as the famous detective is the iconic look for him. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up this year’s series of films from 1939, commonly called the greatest year of cinema, with Sidney Lanfield’s 1939 version of the famous story.

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Robert Donat defied the odds and beat both Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart for the Best Actor Oscar in the 1939 Academy Awards with his portrayal of Mr. Chips in Sam Wood’s “Goodbye, Mr. Chips.” It’s a movie that celebrates school heroes everyone had (or should’ve) and connects in its ability to reflect back on the nostalgia of one’s life. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our series on films from 1939 with Wood’s film.

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Victor Fleming didn’t just direct two movies in 1939, he directed two of what many consider to be the greatest films made – ”Gone With the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz.” Where the former, though, has more problems to contend with in today’s society, what with its depiction of slavery and race in the South during the Civil War, the latter is nothing but pure cinematic joy. Seen by more people than any other movie, “The Wizard of Oz” has become infused in who we are. Quotes from the movie can pop up in everyday conversation without people even realizing they’re quoting it. The songs – particularly “Over the Rainbow” – have been burned into our brains at an early age. It truly is a shining example of what cinema can be. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our ‘films of 1939’ series with one of the great cinema achievements, Flemings’ “The Wizard of Oz.”

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When John Ford decided to helm “Stagecoach” in 1939, he hadn’t done a western since his days in the silent film era. Yet it was this film, along with his relationship with John Wayne, that would lead to him making arguably some of the greatest westerns in cinema. Yet with this film, it was really more of a chance to make a western that could be a bit more serious, not just another b-level shoot-em-up, while still making a movie that was pretty light and entertaining. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our series on films from 1939 with Ford’s “Stagecoach.”

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After getting taken off what ended up being the biggest film of all time – ”Gone With the Wind” – George Cukor was given the adaptation of Claire Boothe’s very popular Broadway play, “The Women,” to direct. For someone called a ‘woman’s director,’ this was a good choice for both movies. That being said, it doesn’t mean Cukor’s film holds up well today. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we head back to our series on the year 1939 to really explore what made it the ‘best year of movies,’ and we kick it off with Cukor’s “The Women.”

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Howard Hawks and Cary Grant had already given the world the hilarious “Bringing Up Baby” in 1938, and lucky for us, they liked working together. They’d work on four more films together, including their very next one — “Only Angels Have Wings.” Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we finish our series on films from 1939 with Hawks’ and Grant’s second collaboration.

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