The Stanford Theatre

80 Years Ago

In This Theatre

The Movies of 1939

For the next two months you can travel back 80 years and watch movies that actually played in this theatre in 1939. This was one of the best years in Hollywood history, as you can see by glancing at the list below, with The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach, Wuthering Heights, Dark Victory, Only Angels Have Wings, Ninotchka, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, not to mention Gone With the Wind, which was released in 1939 but did not play at the Stanford Theatre until 1940.

In 1939 these movies played here only about three days, always on a double feature. If you wanted to see The Wizard of Oz, you had just Sunday, Monday and Tuesday (September 3–5). We now think of these films as eternal cultural treasures, but they were just business as usual in 1939. Here today and gone tomorrow.

We have arranged the films more or less in the order in which they played in 1939, except that we have moved the more famous titles to the weekends.

At the Stanford Theatre you will see films projected just as they were in 1939. We even use carbon arc lamps. We are grateful to the film studios, the Academy Film Archive, and other archives for helping us find 35 mm prints of these films.

On Christmas Eve we have our traditional screening of It's a Wonderful Life (made in 1946, not 1939). Since the evening screening always sells out, we have added a matinee. Advance tickets are recommended. It is also our tradition to show The Shop Around the Corner in the days before Christmas. This wonderful film was also made in 1939, but released in 1940.

The Stanford Theatre is dedicated to bringing back the movie-going experience of Hollywood's Golden Age. It is one of the few places where you can still watch movies on a big screen projected the way they were intended — in 35mm prints. Great classic films were not made to be watched on a video screen in your living room. They depend on a larger-than-life image, and the shared reactions of a real audience.

The Stanford Theatre first opened in June of 1925. For decades nearly every important Hollywood picture played there on its first release. The people of Palo Alto saw them all for the very first time in this theatre.

In 1987 the Packard Foundation bought the theatre and restored it to its original condition. It quickly became America's most popular classic movie house. More people saw Casablanca there on its 50th anniverary in 1992 than at any other theatre in America.

The non-profit Stanford Theatre Foundation is dedicated to the preservation and public exhibition of films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. This means classic movies in a classic movie palace, complete with Wurlitzer organ rising from the orchestra pit every night before and after the 7:30 show, or providing the accompaniment to “silent” films.

Note: This is an unofficial posting of the Stanford Theatre schedules, from published information. This site is in no way connected with the Stanford Theatre nor the Stanford Theatre Foundation. Please check out the official site at in case this schedule isn't quite up-to-date! Programs are subject to change. For information, call (650) 324-3700.

(Showtimes in parentheses are for the Saturday and Sunday screenings.)

November 4: closed

November 5 – 6:
You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939) 7:30
d George Marshall. w George Marion Jr., Richard Mack, Everett Freeman, story by Charles Bogle (W. C. Fields). ph Milton Krasner. m Charles Previn. Universal. 79 min.

W. C. Fields, Edgar Bergen with Charlie McCarthy & Mortimer Snerd, Constance Moore, Mary Forbes, Thurston Hall, Charles Coleman, Edward Brophy.

Classic W. C. Fields comedy set in a circus.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 2, 1939; first showing by the Stanford Theatre Foundation

The Great Man Votes (1939) 6:05, 9:00
d Garson Kanin. w John Twist, story by Gordon Malherbe Hillman. ph Russell Metty. m Roy Webb. RKO. 72 min.

John Barrymore, Virginia Weidler, Peter Holden, William Demarest, Donald MacBride.

John Barrymore plays a respected Harvard intellectual who has fallen to drink. When the politicians need his vote, he makes the most of it.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Mar 2, 1939; last played Dec 1989

November 7 – 8:
Jesse James (1939) 7:30
d Henry King. w Nunnally Johnson. ph George Barnes. md Louis Silvers. 20th Century Fox. 106 min.

Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Nancy Kelly, Jane Darwell, Randolph Scott, Henry Hull, Slim Summerville, Brian Donlevy, J. Edward Bromberg, John Carradine, Donald Meek.

Classic Technicolor western about the legendary outlaw.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 12, 1939; last played Dec 1989

"Tho' I've belted you and flayed you,
By the livin' Gawd that made you,
You're a better man than I am,"

Gunga Din (1939) 5:20, 9:30
d George Stevens. w Joel Sayre, Fred Guiol, Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur. ph Joseph H. August. m Alfred Newman. RKO. 116 min.

Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Sam Jaffe, Eduardo Ciannelli, Joan Fontaine, Montague Love, Robert Coote, Cecil Kellaway, Abner Biberman, Lumsden Hare.

The definitive action-adventure film, inspired by the poem of Rudyard Kipling. Three unruly, carousing British soldiers fight a murderous sect in 19th-century India.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 26, 1939; last played Apr 2015

November 9 – 10:
Love Affair (1939) 4:05, 7:30
d Leo McCarey. w Delmar Daves, Donald Ogden Stewart, story by Mildred Cram & Leo McCarey. ph Rudolph Maté. m Roy Webb. RKO. 89 min.

Charles Boyer, Irene Dunne, Maria Ouspenskaya, Lee Bowman, Astrid Allwyn, Maurice Moscovich.

Romantic comedy of shipboard romance with planned meeting at top of Empire State Building.

Remade with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr as An Affair to Remember (1957), which inspired Sleepless in Seattle.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 15, 1939; last played Dec 1989

Midnight (1939) 5:45, 9:10
d Mitchell Leisen. w Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett. ph Charles Lang. m Frederick Hollander. Paramount. 94 min.

Claudette Colbert (Eve Peabody), Don Ameche (Tibor Czerny), John Barrymore (George Flammarion), Francis Lederer (Jacques Picot), Mary Astor (Helene Flammarion), Elaine Barrie (Simone), Hedda Hopper (Stephanie), Rex O'Malley (Marcel), Monty Woolley (Judge), Armand Kaliz (Lebon).

A chorus girl (Claudette Colbert) arrives in Paris with nothing but the evening gown she is wearing. She meets an idealistic cab driver (Don Ameche) who disapproves of her gold-digging ways. A rich Parisian (John Barrymore) hires her to pose as a countess to lure away his wife's lover.

This picture, written by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, is one of the supreme gems of the Hollywood romantic comedy. John Barrymore said that it was the most fascinating screenplay he had ever read.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 9, 1939; last played July 2016

November 11: closed

November 12 – 13:
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) 7:30
d Sidney Lanfield. w Ernest Pascall, from the novel by Arthur Conan Doyle. ph Peverell Marley. m Cyril Mockridge. 20th Century-Fox. 80 min.

Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Richard Greene, Wendy Barrie, Lionel Atwill, Morton Lowry, John Carradine, Barlowe Borland, Beryl Mercer, Ralph Forbes.

On the moors a legendary hound is said to stalk the descendants of the Baskervilles. The latest heir engages Sherlock Holmes to investigate the mystery.

This picture first introduced Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Dr. Watson. It was a tremendous box office success, and Fox rushed out a sequel within six months. Between 1939 and 1946, Rathbone and Bruce played Holmes and Watson on the radio for 275 episodes, and they made a total of fourteen films in these roles.

Sherlock Holmes has been a familiar figure on the screen for nearly 100 years (he first appeared in a silent short around 1900). Many regard The Hound of the Baskervilles as the single best Holmes picture.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 26, 1939; last played Aug 2014

Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) 5:50, 9:00
d Henry Koster. w Bruce Manning, Felix Jackson. ph Joseph Valentine. m Frank Skinner. Universal. 90 min.

Deanna Durbin, Nan Grey, Helen Parrish, Charles Winninger, Nella Walker, Robert Cummings, William Lundigan, Ernest Cossart, Felix Bressart.

Sequel to Three Smart Girls gives the two eldest sisters new romantic partners, with youngest sister Deanna playing matchmaker to the mismatched pairs.

Music: Invitation to the Dance by Carl Maria von Weber.

first played at the Stanford Theatre May 7, 1939; last played Aug 2013

November 14 – 15:
The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939) 7:30
d H.C. Potter. w Richard Sherman, Oscar Hammerstein II, Dorothy Yost. ph Robert de Grasse. RKO. 93 min.

Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edna May Oliver, Walter Brennan.

The last Astaire-Rogers picture at RKO is a biography of Vernon and Irene Castle, the famous pre-WW I dance team. The score includes many popular songs of the period.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 30, 1939; last played June 2014

"There's a cross on the muzzle of the pistol with the bullet, and a nick on the handle of the pistol with the blank."
Never Say Die (1939) 5:55, 9:15
d Elliott Nugent. w Don Hartmann, Frank Butler and Preston Sturges, from the play by W. H. Post and William Collier, Sr. ph Leo Tover. md Boris Morros. Paramount. 80 min.

Martha Raye, Bob Hope, Andy Devine, Alan Mowbray, Gale Sondergaard, Sig Rumann, Ernest Crossart, Paul Harvey, Frances Arms, Ivan Simpson, Monty Woolley.

A millionaire hypochondriac, thinking he has just weeks to live, marries an heiress to help her out. Then he finds out he's not dying.

first played at the Stanford Theatre July 2, 1939; last played June 2017

November 16 – 17:
Dark Victory (1939) 3:45, 7:30
d Edmund Goulding. w Casey Robinson, based on the play by George Emerson Brower, Jr, and Bertram Bloch. ph Ernest Haller. m Max Steiner. Warner Bros. 105 min.

Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Ronald Reagan, Henry Travers, Cora Witherspoon, Dorothy Peterson.

In this three-handkerchief Bette Davis classic, a Long Island society belle meets an early death "beautifully and finely."

Bogart plays her amorous Irish horse trainer in a role redolent of Lady Chatterly's Lover. Reagan's role as an oft-drunk playboy gained him positive critical notice.

first played at the Stanford Theatre May 17, 1939; last played Sep 2017

The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939) 5:40, 9:25
d Irving Cummings. w Lamar Trotti. ph Leon Shamroy. m Louis Silvers. 20th Century-Fox. 97 min.

Don Ameche, Henry Fonda, Loretta Young, Charles Coburn, Gene Lockhart, Spring Byington, Bobs Watson.

Don Ameche became identified with this film about the inventor of the telephone ("Answer the Ameche" became a popular line). Loretta Young's real life sisters Sally, Giorgiana and Polly Ann play her sisters in the film.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 23, 1939; last played Feb 2011

November 18: closed

November 19 – 20:
Union Pacific (1939) 7:30
d Cecil B. DeMille. w Walter de Leon, C. Gardner Sullivan, Jesse Lasky, Jr. ph Victor Milner, Dewey Wrigley. m John Leipold, Sigmund Krumgold. Paramount. 133 min.

Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Akim Tamiroff, Robert Preston, Lynne Overman, Brian Donlevy, Robert Barrat, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Ridges, Henry Kolker, Evelyn Keyes, Regis Toomey.

This lavishly produced western spectacle set against the construction of the transcontinental railroad features Stanwyck as the tough postmistress of the Union Pacific.

first played at the Stanford Theatre May 21, 1939; last played Mar 2014

Rose of Washington Square (1939) 5:50, 9:25
d Gregory Ratoff. w Nunnally Johnson. ph Karl Freund. 20th Century-Fox. 90 min.

Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Al Jolson, William Frawley, Joyce Compton, Hobart Cavanaugh, Moroni Olsen, E.E. Clive, Louise Prima, Charles Wilson, Hal K. Dawson.

This musical about the life of a singer and the ne'er-do-well man she loves was a little too close to reality for Fannie Brice, who sued Fox (they settled out of court).

first played at the Stanford Theatre May 31, 1939; last played Apr 2001

November 21 – 22:
Wuthering Heights (1939) 7:30
d William Wyler. w Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur, from the novel by Emily Brontë. ph Gregg Toland. m Alfred Newman. Goldwyn. 104 min.

Laurence Olivier, Merle Oberon, David Niven, Hugh Williams, Flora Robson, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Donald Crisp, Leo G. Carroll, Cecil Kellaway, Miles Mander.

William Wyler's direction and Gregg Toland's photography create the perfect atmosphere for one of Hollywood's greatest love stories. Who can ever forget Cathy and Heathcliff on the moors at Peniston Crag? Alfred Newman's score is so entwined with our emotional response to these scenes that the mere act of recalling the music can easily bring tears to a sensitive soul.

"A beautifully made gothic-romantic classic, with many memorable scenes." Pauline Kael

first played at the Stanford Theatre June 4, 1939; last played Mar 2009

Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) 5:35, 9:25
d Anatole Litvak. w Milton Krims, John Wexley, from materials gathered by former FBI agent Leon G. Turrou. ph Sol Polito. m Max Steiner. Warner Bros. 110 min.

Edward G. Robinson, Paul Lukas, George Sanders, Francis Lederer, Henry O'Neill, Lya Lys, James Stephenson, Sig Rumann, Dorothy Tree, Joe Sawyer.

Documentary style espionage drama with Robinson catching Nazi spies..

first played at the Stanford Theatre June 15, 1939; first showing by the Stanford Theatre Foundation

November 23 – 24:
Juarez (1939) 3:30, 7:30
d William Dieterle. w John Huston, Wolfganag Reinhardt, Aeneas Mackenzie. ph Tony Gaudio. m Erich Wolfganag Korngold. Warner Bros. 132 min.

Brian Aherne, Bette Davis, Paul Muni, Claude Rains, John Garfield, Donald Crisp, Gale Sondergaard, Joseph Calleia, Gilbert Roland, Henry O'Neill, Pedro de Cordoba, Montagu Love, Harry Davenport.

Epic story of the liberal Mexican president Benito Juarez and his struggle with the French-supported Emperor Maximilian.

first played at the Stanford Theatre June 18, 1939; first showing by the Stanford Theatre Foundation

Stagecoach (1939) 5:45. 9:45
d John Ford. w Dudley Nichols, from the story Stage to Lordsburg by Ernest Haycox. ph Bert Glennon, Ray Binger. m Richard Hageman, W. Frank Harling, John Leopold, Leo Shuken, Louis Gruenberg. United Artists. 99 min.

Claire Trevor, John Wayne, Thomas Mitchell, George Bancroft, Andy Devine, Berton Churchill, Louise Platt, John Carradine, Donald Meek, Tim Holt, Chris-Pin Martin.

After years in B-Westerns, John Wayne became an overnight star as the Ringo Kid in Hollywood's greatest Western.

first played at the Stanford Theatre June 8, 1939; last played June 2010

November 25: closed

November 26 – 27:
Calling Dr. Kildare (1939) 7:30
d Harold S. Bucquet. w Harry Ruskin, Willis Goldbeck, from a story by Max Brand. ph Alfred Gilks, Lester White. m David Snell. MGM. 86 min.

Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Laraine Day, Lana Turner, Lynne Carver, Nat Pendleton, Samuel S. Hinds, Emma Dunn, Walter Kingsford, Marie Blake, Donald Barry.

When Dr. Kildare treats a gangster, he attracts the attention of the man's sister and the police.

first played at the Stanford Theatre July 2, 1939; last played July 1994

Second Fiddle (1939) 5:55, 9:10
d Sidney Lanfield. w Harry Tugend. ph Leon Shamroy. songs Irving Berlin. 20th Century Fox. 86 min.

Sonja Henie, Tyrone Power, Edna May Oliver, Rudy Vallee, Mary Healy, Lyle Talbot, Alan Dinehart.

A Hollywood studio buys rights to a famous book and makes a two-year search for a leading lady (like the search for Scarlett). Ice skating star Sonja Henie gets the part.

first played at the Stanford Theatre July 26, 1939; first showing by the Stanford Theatre Foundation

November 28 – 29:
Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939) 7:30
d Sam Wood. w R. C. Sherriff, Claudine West, Eric Maschwitz, from the novel by James Hilton. ph Frederick A. Young. m Richard Addinsell. MGM. 114 min.

Robert Donat, Greer Garson, Terry Kilburn, John Mills, Paul Henreid, Judith Furse.

This story of a shy but beloved British schoolmaster was written for a magazine in only four days by James Hilton. Robert Donat won the Oscar for Best Actor (beating Clark Gable's Rhett Butler).

first played at the Stanford Theatre July 30, 1939; last played Nov 2011

Bachelor Mother (1939) 5:55, 9:35
d Garson Kanin. w Norman Krasna. ph Robert de Grasse. m Roy Webb. RKO. 82 min.

Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Charles Coburn, Frank Albertson, E. E. Clive, Ernest Truex, Ferike Boros.

After losing her job at the department store, Ginger finds a baby abandoned at the doorstep of the orphanage. Everybody assumes that she must be the unwed mother, including her former boss.

This comedy, RKO's biggest hit of 1939, demonstrated that Ginger Rogers could be sensational without singing or dancing.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Aug 16, 1939; last played Sep 2019

November 30 – December 1:
"They have no bananas?
Yes, they have no bananas."

Only Angels Have Wings (1939) 3:25, 7:30
d Howard Hawks. w Jules Furthman. ph Joseph Walker, Elmer Dyer. m Dimitri Tiomkin. Columbia. 121 min.

Cary Grant (Geoff Carter), Jean Arthur (Bonnie Lee), Richard Barthelmess (Bat McPherson), Rita Hayworth (Judith McPherson), Thomas Mitchell (Kid Dabb), Sig Rumann (Dutchman), Victor Kilian (Sparks), John Carroll (Gent Shelton), Allyn Joslyn (Les Peters), Donald Barry (Tex Gordon), Noah Beery, Jr. (Joe Souther), Lucio Villegas (Dr. Logario), Melissa Sierra (Lily).

In this aviation classic, the arrival of a stranded showgirl disrupts the lives of a group of American flyers in South America. Rita Hayworth had her first major success in this film, and Cary Grant demonstrates once again why he is a candidate for the greatest actor in the brief history of the movies.

Here is a chance to see (and hear) Richard Barthelmess, one of the silent era's most popular stars, twenty years after his performance in Broken Blossoms.

"[Cary Grant] is uproarious in every way, except how he talks, and that's where the film is not just ecstatic, precise, and real, but modern, absurd, and exhilirating. Here we are in 1939 as a genius sees that the medium is flimflam, and all the better for that." David Thomson

first played at the Stanford Theatre June 22, 1939; last played July 2019

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) 5:40, 9:20
d John Ford. w Lamar Trotti. ph Bert Glennon. m Alfred Newman. 20th Century Fox. 100 min.

Henry Fonda, Alice Brady, Marjorie Weaver, Arleen Whelan, Eddie Collins, Richard Cromwell, Donald Meek, Eddie Quillan, Spencer Charters.

"The idea of the picture was to give the feeling that even as a young man you could sense there was going to be something great about this man." John Ford

first played at the Stanford Theatre June 25, 1939; last played Dec 1989

December 2: closed

December 3 – 4:
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever (1939) 7:30
d W.S. Van Dyke II. w Kay Van Riper. ph Lester White. MGM. 88 min.

Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker, Ann Rutherford, Fay Holden, Sara Haden.

Spring is in the air, so Andy falls in love with his drama teacher.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Aug 20, 1939; last played Sep 2014

Charlie Chan at Treasure Island (1939) 6:05, 9:05
d Norman Foster. w John Larkin. ph Virgil Miller. md Samuel Kaylin. 20th Century-Fox. 74 min.

Sidney Toler, Cesar Romero, Pauline Moore, Sen Yung, Douglas Fowley, June Gale, Douglas Dumbrille, Sally Blanc, Billie Sewart, Wally Venon, Donald MacBride.

Charlie searches through the sideshows and exhibits at San Francisco's 1939 Treasure Island Exposition for the truth behind the supposed suicide of a novelist friend.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Aug 26, 1939; last played Sep 2014

December 5 – 6:
Each Dawn I Die (1939) 7:30
d William Keighley. w Norman Reilly Raine, Warren Duff, Charles Perry, from the novel by Jerome Odlum. ph Arthur Edeson. m Max Steiner. Warner Bros. 84 min.

James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan, George Bancroft, Maxie Rosenbloom, Stanley Ridges, Alan Baxter, Victor Jory.

James Cagney is a reporter framed for murder and sent to prison, where he befriends genuine hood George Raft.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 7, 1939; first showing by the Stanford Theatre Foundation

Blondie Takes a Vacation (1939)
d Frank R. Strayer. w Richard Flournoy, from the comic strip by Chic Young. ph Henry Freulich. md M. W. Stoloff. Columbia. 69 min.

Penny Singleton, Arthur Lake, Larry Simms, Daisy the Dog, Danny Mummert, Donald Meek, Irving Bacon.

This is the third of 28 movies based on the comic strip characters.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 7, 1939; first showing by the Stanford Theatre Foundation

December 7 – 8:
"Dr. Livingstone, I presume."
Stanley and Livingstone (1939) 3:35, 7:30
d Henry King. w Philip Dunne and Julian Josephson. ph George Barnes. m David Raksin, David Buttolph, Cyril Mockreidge, Alfred Newman. 20th Century Fox. 101 min.

Spencer Tracy, Cedric Hardwicke, Richard Greene, Nancy Kelly, Walter Brennan, Charles Coburn, Henry Hull, Henry Travers, Miles Mander, Holmes Herbert.

Tracy's understated performance highlights this story of a New York newspaperman assigned to find the lost missionary in Africa.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Aug 26, 1939; last played May 1991

Beau Geste (1939) 5:25, 9:20
d William Wellman. w Robert Carson. ph Theodor Sparkuhl, Archie Stout. m Alfred Newman. Paramount. 120 min.

Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Robert Preston, Brian Donlevy, Susan Hayward, J. Carrol Naish, Albert Dekker, Broderick Crawford, Charles Thatcher.

Faithful sound remake of the famous silent film, with Gary Cooper playing the Ronald Colman role.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 23, 1939; last played Apr 2012

December 9: closed

December 10 – 11:
"Elementary, my dear Watson."
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939) 7:30
d Alfred L. Werker. w Edwin Blum, from the play by William Gillette. ph Leon Shamroy. m Cyril Mockridge. 20th Century Fox. 85 min.

Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Ida Lupino, George Zucco, Alan Marshal, Terry Kilburn, Henry Stephenson, Arthur Hohl.

Holmes must stop his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty from stealing the Crown Jewels.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 29, 1939; last played Aug 2014

Jamaica Inn (1939) 5:40, 9:05
d Alfred Hitchcock. w Sidney Gilliat, Joan Harrison, J.B. Priestley, Alma Reville, based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier. ph Harry Stradling. m Eric Fenby. Mayflower. 99 min.

Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, Leslie Banks, Emlyn Williams, Robert Newton, Wylie Watson, Marie Ney, Morland Graham, Stephen Haggard, Mervyn Johns, Edwin Greenwood.

Gothic tale about smugglers off the Cornish coast, with Charles Laughton as a sinister squire, Robert Newton the hero who infiltrates the pirates' lair, and 19-year-old Maureen O'Hara the young woman who stumbles upon it all when she comes to stay at Jamaica Inn.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 15, 1939; last played Mar 2000

December 12 – 13:
The Four Feathers (1939) 7:30
d Zoltan Korda. w R.C. Sherriff, Lajos Biro, Arthur Wimperis. ph George Périnal, Osmond Borradaile, Jack Cardiff. m Miklos Rozsa. Korda / London Films. 130 min.

John Clements, Ralph Richardson, C. Aubrey Smith, June Duprez, Allan Jeayes, Jack Allen, Donald Gray, Henry Oscar, John Laurie.

The son of a distinguished military family resigns his commission. His friends send him the traditional white feather to show contempt for his assumed cowardice, but he proves his courage beyond all doubt.

Beautifully photographed on location in the Sudan, this is one more remarkable film made in the Golden Year of 1939.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Oct 5, 1939; last played Aug 2014

The Rains Came (1939) 5:35, 9:35
d Clarence Brown. w Philip Dunne, Julien Josephson, from the novel by Louis Bromfield. ph Arthur Miller. m Alfred Newman. 20th Century Fox. 103 min.

Myrna Loy, George Brent, Tyrone Power, Brenda Joyce, Maria Ouspenskaya, Joseph Schildkraut, H. B. Warner, Nigel Bruce, Mary Nash, Jane Darwell, Marjorie Rambeau, Henry Travers.

Romance and natural disasters in the British Raj. The flood and earthquake won the Oscar for Special Effects.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Oct 1, 1939; last played Jan 1990

December 14 – 15:
"There's a word for you ladies, but it is seldom used in high society, outside of a kennel."
The Women (1939) 3:20, 7:30
d George Cukor. w Anita Loos & Jane Murfin, from the play by Clare Booth. ph Oliver T. Marsh & Joseph Ruttenberg. m Edward Ward & David Snell. MGM. 132 min.

Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Mary Boland, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine, Lucile Watson, Phyllis Povah, Virginia Weidler, Ruth Hussey, Margaret Dumont, Marjorie Main, Hedda Hopper.

Adapted from the hit Broadway play, the film boasts a cast of 130 stylish, gossippy, wisecracking women and no men. MGM publicists described The Women as "135 women with men on their minds!" The cast is exclusively women, but it's really about their relationships with one another. While Shearer's sweet socialite and Crawford's aggressive gold-digger battle it out over Shearer's husband, Russell nearly steals the picture as the wonderfully horrible Sylvia.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Oct 13, 1939; last played Aug 2009

The Old Maid (1939) 5:45, 9:55
d Edmund Goulding. w Casey Robinson, from the play by Zoe Akins. ph Tony Gaudio. m Max Steiner. Warner Bros. 95 min.

Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, George Brent, Jane Bryan, Donald Crisp, Louise Fazenda, James Stephenson.

In the 1860's, a woman bears a child out of wedlock. Her socially prominent cousin adopts the child and invites them both to live with her. The child grows up treating her mother as a pathetic spinster aunt.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 1, 1939; last played Aug 2008

December 16: closed

December 17 – 18:
"He used to be a big shot."
The Roaring Twenties (1939) 7:30
d Raoul Walsh. w Jerry Wald, Richard Macaulay & Robert Rossen. ph Ernest Haller. m Heinz Roemheld & Ray Heindorf. Warner Bros. 104 min.

James Cagney, Priscilla Lane, Humphrey Bogart, Gladys George, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh, Paul Kelly, Elizabeth Risdon, Edward Keane, Joseph Sawyer, Joseph Crehan, George Meeker, John Hamilton, Robert Elliott, Eddie Chandler, Abner Biberman, Vera Lewis, Elliott Sullivan, Bert Hanlon, Murray Alper, Dick Wessel, George Humbert, Ben Weldon.

Three World War I soldiers return to find that their world has changed, and they get involved in bootlegging.

The dynamic film is overflowing with energy. The colorful underworld characters and 1920's music suggest the mood of The Great Gatsby.

Bogart is utterly convincing as a truly evil man, while Cagney injects hints of humanity into his character.

Gladys George delivers the celebrated final line over the dying Cagney.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 19, 1939; last played Sep 2017

Drums Along the Mohawk (1939) 5:35, 9:30
d John Ford. w Lamar Trotti, Sonya Levien, from the novel by Walter Edmonds. ph Bert Glennon, Ray Rennahan. m Alfred Newman. 20th Century Fox. 103 min.

Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda, Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins, John Carradine, Dorris Bowdon, Jessie Ralph, Arthur Shields, Robert Lowery, Roger Imhof, Ward Bond.

In revolutionary America, newlyweds defend their farm in the Mohawk valley.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 23, 1939; last played Dec 1989

December 19 – 20:
Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939) 7:30
d Gregory Ratoff. w George O'Neil, Gosta Stevens, Gustav Molander. ph Gregg Toland. m Robert Henning, Heinz Prevost. Selznick. 69 min.

Leslie Howard, Ingrid Bergman, John Halliday, Edna Best, Cecil Kellaway.

A celebrated violinist falls in love with a young music student.

After seeing the original Swedish version of this film, Selznick signed Ingrid Bergman to an exclusive contract, and created a major new star in America.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 1, 1939; last played Nov. 1992

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) 5:30, 8:50
d Michael Curtiz. w Norman Reilly Raine, Aeneas Mackenzie. ph Sol Polito. m Hugo Friedhofer. Milan Roder. Warner Bros. 102 min.

Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Donald Crisp, Alan Hale, Vincent Price, Henry Stephenson, Henry Daniell.

The aging Queen Elizabeth is infatuated with the handsome young Lord Essex. He uses her feelings to his advantage, but he loses his head over her in the end.

The same year as her triumph as Melanie in Gone With the Wind, Warners relegated Olivia de Havilland to this third-billed role as Errol Flynn's love interest.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Nov 26, 1939; last played June 2016

December 21 – 22:
"I want your opinion, your honest opinion."
The Shop Around the Corner (1940) 3:45, 7:30
d Ernst Lubitsch. w Samuel Raphaelson, from the play by Nikolaus Laszlo. ph William Daniels. m Werner Heymann. MGM. 97 min.

James Stewart (Alfred Kralik), Margaret Sullavan (Klara Novak), Frank Morgan (Hugo Matuschek), Joseph Schildkraut (Ferencz Vadas), Sara Haden (Flora), Felix Bressart (Pirovitch), William Tracy (Pepi Katona), Inez Courtney (Ilona), Charles Halton (Detective), Charles Smith (Rudy),.

In the days before Christmas. a new sales clerk (Margaret Sullavan) is hired by a Budapest shop. She and the manager (Jimmy Stewart) have a stressful relationship on the job, unaware that they have been conducting a romance as pen pals who have never met in person.

"Among the greatest of films... The cafe conversation may be the best meeting in American Film." David Thomson
"One of the most beautifully acted and paced romantic comedies ever made." Pauline Kael
"Never did I make a picture in which the atmosphere and the characters were truer than in this picture." Ernst Lubitsch

first played at the Stanford Theatre Feb 4, 1940; last played Dec 2018

"We're off to see..."
The Wizard of Oz (1939) 5:35, 9:20
d Victor Fleming & King Vidor. w Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Wolfe, from the book by L. Frank Baum. ph Harold Rosson. songs E. Y. Harburg & Harold Arlen. MGM. 102 min.

Judy Garland (Dorothy Gale), Frank Morgan (Prof. Marvel / Oz, the Wizard), Ray Bolger (Hunk / The Scarecrow), Jack Haley (Hickory / The Tin Woodmasn), Bert Lahr (Zeke / The Cowardly Lion), Margaret Hamilton (Almira Gulch / The Wicked Witch of the West), Billie Burke (Glinda, the Good Witch of the South), Charley Grapewin (Uncle Henry), Clara Blandick (Aunt Em), Pat Walsh (Nikko), Terry the Dog (Toto).

One of the most beloved films of Hollywood's Golden Age, The Wizard of Oz continues to enchant adiences more than 70 years after its premiere. You haven't really been to Oz until you've seen it on our big screen in glorious Technicolor, with an audience.

The Wizard of Oz has been the fourteenth most widely attended film at the Stanford Theatre — 45,762 tickets since 1989.
first played at the Stanford Theatre Sep 3, 1939; last played Dec 2017

December 23: closed

December 24:
"All you can take with you is that which you've given away."
It's a Wonderful Life (1946) 4:00, 9:00
d Frank Capra. w Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra, based on the short story The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern. ph Joseph Walker, Joseph Biroc. m Dimitri Tiomkin. Liberty. 130 min.

James Stewart (George Bailey), Donna Reed (Mary Hatch), Lionel Barrymore (Mr. Potter), Thomas Mitchell (Uncle Billie), Henry Travers (Clarence), Beulah Bondi (Mrs. Bailey), Frank Faylen (Ernie), Ward Bond (Bert), Gloria Grahame (Violet Bick), H. B. Warner (Mr. Gower), Frank Albertson (Sam Wainwright), Todd Karns (Harry Bailey), Samuel S. Hinds (Pa Bailey), Mary Treen (Cousin Tilly), Virginia Patton (Ruth Dakin), Bobby Anderson (Little George Bailey), Jean Gale (Little Mary Hatch).

The traditional Christmas Eve screening of what Frank Capra modestly called "the greatest movie anybody ever made." Every Christmas Eve more than 1000 people watch George Bailey's Odyssey at The Stanford Theatre. It's our most important tradition. Advance tickets go on sale December 7 at 3:00.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Apr 27, 1947; last played Dec 2018

December 25: closed

December 26 – 27:
"Remember the first day you got here? What you said about Mr Lincoln? You said he was sitting there waiting for someone. You were right. He was waiting for a man who could see his job and sail into it. A man who could tear into the Taylors and root them out into the open. I think he was waiting for you, Jeff."
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) 7:30
d Frank Capra. w Sidney Buchman. ph Joseph Walker. m Dimitri Tiomkin. Columbia. 125 min.

James Stewart (Jefferson Smith), Jean Arthur (Clarissa Saunders), Claude Rains (Sen. Joseph Paine), Edward Arnold (Jim Taylor), Guy Kibbee (Gov. Hubert Hopper), Thomas Mitchell (Diz Moore), Eugene Pallette (Chick McGann), Beulah Bondi (Ma Smith), H. B. Warner (Sen. Fuller), Harry Carey (President of the Senate), Astrid Allwyn (Susan Paine), Ruth Donnelly (Mrs. Emma Hopper), Charles Lane (Nosey), Porter Hall (Sen. Monroe), Grant Mitchell (Sen. MacPherson), H. V. Kaltenborn (Broadcaster).

Frank Capra's story about an idealistic junior senator who discovers the truth about Washington has lost none of its power after more than 75 years as an American classic. Indeed, the Library of Congress now presents special educational screenings for newly elected senators!

first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 13, 1939; last played June 2019

Another Thin Man (1939) 5:35, 9:50
d W. S. Van Dyke II. w Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, from a story by Dashiell Hammett. ph Oliver T. Marsh, William Daniels. m Edward Ward. MGM. 105 min.

William Powell, Myrna Loy, C. Aubrey Smith, Otto Kruger, Nat Pendleton, Virginia Grey, Tom Neal, Muriel Hutchinson, Ruth Hussey, Sheldon Leonard, Patric Knowles, Harry Bellaver, Abner Biberman, Marjorie Main, Asta.

Coloner MacFay summons Nick and Nora to his Long Island home. They arrive to find the colonel under heavy protection and the target of a vengeful former employee. Nick, Jr. appears for the first time in this installment of the series.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 24, 1939; last played Apr 2004

December 28 – 29:
"That was restful."
Ninotchka (1939) 4:05, 7:30
d Ernst Lubitsch. w Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Walter Reisch, from a story by Melchior Lengyel. ph William Daniels. m Werner Heymann. MGM. 110 min.

Greta Garbo (Lena Yakushova), Melvyn Douglas (Count Leon Dolga), Sig Rumann (Michael Ironoff), Alexander Granach (Kopalski), Felix Bressart (Buljanoff), Ina Claire (Grand Duchess Swana), Bela Lugosi (Commissar Razinin), Richard Carle (Gaston).

A Bolshevik special envoy (Greta Garbo) is sent to Paris to bring back three wayward comrades, who have become charmed by the freedom of the decadent west.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 17, 1939; last played July 2018

"Don't those big empty houses scare you?"
"Not me, I was in vaudeville."
The Cat and the Canary (1939) 6:05, 9:30
d Elliott Nugent. w Walter de Leon & Lynn Starling, from the play by John Willard. ph Charles Lang. m Ernst Toch. Paramount. 72 min.

Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Gale Sondergaard, Douglas Montgomery, John Beal, George Zucco, Nydia Westman, Elizabeth Patterson, John Wray.

When the heirs to a spooky Bayou mansion gather at midnight to read the will, it's up to Bob to protect heiress Paulette Goddard from the sinister goings-on. The Cat and the Canary was such a hit that Hope and Goddard were teamed the following year in The Ghostbreakers, another scary comedy.

first played at the Stanford Theatre Dec 6, 1939; last played Aug 2016

December 30 – January 1: closed
January 2 – 5:
"Tara. I want to go home to Tara."
Gone With the Wind (1939) (3:00), 7:30
d Victor Fleming (and George Cukor, Sam Wood). w Sidney Howard and others, from the novel by Margaret Mitchell. ph Ernest Haller, Ray Rennahan. m Max Steiner. Selznick International. 221 min.

Clark Gable (Rhett Butler), Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O'Hara), Olivia de Havilland (Melanie Hamilton), Leslie Howard (Ashley Wilkes), Thomas Mitchell (Gerald O'Hara), Barbara O'Neil (Ellen O'Hara), Hattie McDaniel (Mammy), Butterfly McQueen (Prissy), Victor Jory (Jonas Wilkerson), Evelyn Keyes (Suellen O'Hara), Ann Rutherford (Carreen O'Hara), Laura Hope Crews (Aunt Pittypat Hamilton), Harry Davenport (Dr. Meade), Jane Darwell (Dolly Merriweather), Ona Munson (Belle Watling), Ward Bond (Capt. Tom), Carroll Nye (Frank Kennedy).

Everyone knows the famous names and the drama that "made" Gone With the Wind. Let's therefore mention a couple who get less attention: production designer William Cameron Menzies, who conceived the look of the movie and story-boarded most of it; and Jack Cosgrove, who painted matte backgrounds on glass for effects scenes. Their art is all through the picture and testifies to Selznick's command of detail and painstaking craft — old-fashioned movie-making, to say nothing of magic. There's one other name: Technicolor, a system that came of age with Gone With the Wind. Many in Hollywood doubted color (notably Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). But after Gone With the Wind, and the enforced economizing of war, color became irresistable. Later on, Technicolor was abandoned for other systems supposedly truer to life. Today we regret the lost, painterly passion of Technicolor and its durability, for the new color systems fade, while Technicolor still burns.

Olivia de Havilland was determined to play the role of Melanie, even though the film was being made at a different studio. She auditioned in secret and was offered the role. The great difficulty came in convincing Jack Warner to make a deal to lend her to Selznick for the filming. According to Olivia, she invited Mrs. Warner to tea, explained her predicament, and Mrs. Warner agreed to help her.

A great film epic deserves to be seen in a theatre of epic proportions.

first played at the Stanford Theatre May 3, 1940; last played July 2016