May 7, 2009


Most critics and cinema aficionados agree that the definitive golden year in Hollywood history is 1939.

Not only were 2 of the biggest Hollywood classics released that year – GONE WITH THE WIND and THE WIZARD OF OZ – but the quality of pictures in general exemplified by the outstanding list of Best Picture contenders is unparalleled.

2009 marks the 70th Anniversary of that year, and Hollywood is doing its best to remember it all.

First off, THE ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES is following up from their previous screening series – Facets (which screened every Best Picture Winner from 1927 – 2002) and It’s Great to Be Nominated (which screened the movies with the most nominations that didn’t win from 1927 – 2007) – with another Monday screening series celebrating the 10 Nominees for Best Picture starting with the winner GONE WITH THE WIND on May 18 (which by the way, is already sold out).

Entitled HOLLYWOOD’S GREATEST YEAR: THE BEST PICTURE NOMINEES OF 1939, there will be guests and the screenings will be preceded by an animated short from that year as well as a chapter of a Buck Rogers serial.

The schedule is as follows:

May 18 – Gone with the Wind (SOLD OUT)

The film version of Margaret Mitchell’s epic Civil War romance was the biggest box office hit of Golden Age Hollywood, presenting Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in their iconic roles as Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. 238 mins. Scheduled special guests: cast members Ann Rutherford, Cammie King, Mickey Kuhn and Patrick Curtis.

June 1 – Stagecoach

John Wayne found his star-making role in this Western classic, teaming up with a colorful supporting cast and director John Ford for non-stop action and adventure.

June 8 – Wuthering Heights

Director William Wyler brought Emily Brontë’s classic Gothic romance to life, with Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon as the star-crossed lovers, Heathcliff and Cathy.

June 15 – Dark Victory

Bette Davis teamed up with rising stars Humphrey Bogart and Ronald Reagan for this classic romantic tearjerker about a young woman facing a tragic fate.

June 22 – Love Affair

Leo McCarey produced, directed and co-wrote this romantic teaming of Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne, which inspired two remakes including McCarey’s own “An Affair to Remember.”

June 29 – Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Robert Donat won the Oscar for his memorable portrayal of a beloved English schoolmaster in this adaptation of James Hilton’s bestseller, with Greer Garson as the love of Chips’s life.

July 13 – Ninotchka

“Garbo Laughs” was the adline for Ernst Lubitsch’s classic romantic comedy, co-written by Billy Wilder, with Greta Garbo as a frosty Russian warmed up by French charmer Melvyn Douglas during a visit to Paris.

July 20 – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Director Frank Capra sent Senator James Stewart to the nation’s capital to teach his fellow lawmakers a lesson about American ideals in this political comedy-drama.

July 27 – Of Mice and Men

Horror star Lon Chaney Jr. had his greatest dramatic role as Lennie in this moving adaptation of the John Steinbeck classic, co-starring Burgess Meredith.

August 3 – The Wizard of Oz (SOLD OUT)

One of the most beloved of all Hollywood films, an imaginative and tuneful musical fantasy with glorious visuals, classic original songs, and Judy Garland in all her youthful glory.

Full details and tickets are available HERE.

In addition to that, Warner Home Video is releasing Ultimate collector editions of THE WIZARD OF OZ and GONE WITH THE WIND, both which will be released on Blu-Ray for the first time (both were made by MGM, but became part of the Warner Library thanks to the Turner acquisition of the MGM library).

The tentative release date for THE WIZARD OF OZ is October 27, while GONE WITH THE WIND is due December 1. Both will be remastered and will feature the usual stellar assortment of enhanced features that Warner Home Video is known for.