Sunday, July 21, 2019


This is my choice (choices) for Best Picture for the year 1939.  My criteria is that I can only use films that are on the 1001 list. To make it a little easier on myself, I am using the rules of the first Academy Award and name a winner for Best Picture (won by Wings for 1927-1928) and Best and Unique and Artistic Picture (won by Sunrise from 1927-1928). 

And the nominees on the entries from every edition of 1001 Movie You Must See Before You Die are...
The Adventures of Robin Hood
The Baker's Wife
Bringing Up Baby
The Lady Vanishes

And the winner for the Best Picture of 1938 is…Jezebel


I had the good fortune to meet both of director William Wyler's daughters (Melanie and Cathy) at our library as part of the Southern Literary Trail film series. We showed Cathy's 80's documentary about her father as well as the William Wyler/Bette Davis
collaborations Jezebel and The Little Foxes.

Jezebel is a story set in 1850's New Orleans featuring a cast of thousands, a look at pre-Civil War plantation life, Southern chivalry and traditions, some catchy Negro spirituals, an unfortunate red dress, a case of Yellow Jack and of course Bette Davis. Davis's role may remind some viewers of Scarlet O'Hara, but Davis really makes this her own and it is hard to argue with her receiving the Academy Award for her role.

Bringing Up Baby is without a doubt a classic comedy, but it's just a close second to Jezebel in my book.


And the Award for Unique and Artistic Picture of 1938 is...The Baker's Wife

The Baker's Wife

"Director Marcel Pagnol's village vignettes are superb and completely revelatory, telling us all we need to know about the village and its life, telling it so deftly we scarcely are conscious of his having bothered to describe it."-Frank S. Nugent, The New York Times, February 26, 1940
Pagnol's story is about a village. Those living in the village rely on the village baker for their bread. The baker relies on his wife for emotional support. His wife runs off with a shepherd. The baker is too depressed to bake his bread. The village makes a plan to get the wife back. 

That description really doesn't do The Baker's Wife justice. It is a charming film with eccentric characters whose living arrangements are thrown into disarray by the disappearance of the wife. Much of the comedy relies on the plot to get her back, as well as mach of the amusing and perceptive dialogue from Marcel Pagnol. Based on a novel by Jean Giono.-Chris Cox, 1001: A Film Odyssey

The Baker's Wife


  1. Jezebel is the undisputed best movie of the year - and it is actually a good year.
    I love The Bakes Wife, but I actually think Olympia is more of a landmark.

  2. Olympia is probably the more substantive choice. The Baker's Wife just became one of my favorite movies of the era when I saw it, so I went with it.

  3. No "Adventures of Robin Hood" or "Angels with Dirty Faces"