Monday, October 6, 2014

Nugget Reviews - 14

The Adventures of Robin Hood ( 1938 ) 24k

When Prince John takes over the throne of England in King Richard's absence, Sir Robin Hood of Locksley, dons the green tights and rallies up the Normans to fight against Prince John's tyrannical rule.  Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Alan Hale, Claude Rains, Eugene Pallette, Patric Knowles. Warner Brothers. Directed by Michael Curtiz.

There just isn't any adventure film more entertaining than this gem! Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland and the whole cast were in their prime and they clearly were enjoying their roles. The beautiful cinematography, especially during the Sherwood forest sequences ( filmed in Bidwell Park, California ), make this a storybook tale come to life. 

That Certain Age ( 1938 ) 14k

A young girl falls in love with a visiting reporter at her family estate. He tries his best to snap her out of her puppy love. Deanna Durbin, Jackie Cooper, Melvyn Douglas, John Halliday, Irene Rich, Nancy Carroll. Universal Pictures. Directed by Edward Ludwig. 

Ah yes, the puppy love age. In this case, who could blame Alice for falling in love with the dashing Vincent ( Melvyn Douglas )? Sigh. The film starts off rather slow but picks up in pace midway through with Durbin singing the lovely tune "My Own". Cooper was just seventeen when this film was made and he plays again with his co-star from The Champ ( 1932 ), Irene Rich. That Certain Age marks the final film appearance of silent actress Nancy Carroll, who was rumored to have received more fan mail than any other actress in Hollywood during the 1930s.

Stanley and Livingstone ( 1939 ) 14k

New York Herald reporter Henry Stanley is assigned to deepest darkest Africa to discover whether Dr. Livingstone is still living or not. The Herald's competing newspaper, The London Globe, claims he is dead. Spencer Tracy, Charles Coburn, Walter Brennan, Cedric Hardwicke, Nancy Kelly, and Richard Greene. 

Spencer Tracy really enjoyed picking meaty roles in the 1930s. This one he got to sink his teeth firmly into and did quite well with it....until his character came to the realization of the importance of spiritual matters. Here, Tracy floundered and couldn't quite convince the audience of his transformation. Acting can only go so far, Mr. Tracy. Walter Brennan and Charles Coburn are splendid supports, and overall this is a really fine adventure film. Makes one feel like trekking across Africa even today!  

Wife, Husband and Friend ( 1939 ) 18k

A woman decides to take up opera singing, against her husbands pleas of protest. She discovers she is a flop, and in the mean time, her husband finds he has quite a voice hidden within him! Loretta Young, Warner Baxter, Binnie Barnes, Eugene Palette, Cesar Romero. 20th Century Fox. Directed by Gregory Ratoff.

Warner Baxter was such an underrated talent. He was a most versatile actor and excelled in musicals, mysteries, and dramas alike. Here, he plays for laughs and, once again, is great. After the success of Wife, Doctor, and Nurse ( 1937 ), Young and Baxter teamed up for this spoof and they proved to be a winning duo. Too bad they didn't make more films together. Nunnally Johnson penned the screenplay to this amusing screwball, which was remade as Everybody Does It ( 1949 ).

A Date with Judy ( 1948 )  18k 

Judy Foster falls in love with the new soda jerk in town, much to the chagrin of her steady beau, Oogie. Whilst in the rapture of puppy bliss she discovers that her father is seeing another woman...a rumbo teacher! Jane Powell, Scotty Beckett, Robert Stack, Elizabeth Taylor, Wallace Beery, Selena Royle, Carmen Miranda, Xavier Cugat. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Directed by Richard Thorpe.

Some movies have a special place in your heart just because of the memories they bring to mind. This film we often watched on a Saturday morning while our mother gave us breakfast in bed. We'll forever classify it along with Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer and Good News. Re-watching it recently, we find it to be just as fun as we remembered, if not more so. Beery is such a lovable papa...maybe he wasn't at all like his character in real life, but he sure knew how to act like a lamb. Two thumbs for this film's "feel good" quality alone. Simply delightful. 


  1. In my book, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is tied with THE WIZARD OF OZ for all-time best cast film. 24 carats indeed!

    1. We couldn't agree with you more Rick. Each one of the players are just PERFECT in their roles. I even read "Robin Hood" envisioning Eugene Palette as Friar Tuck, Hale as Little John, etc.

    2. I likely first saw ROBIN HOOD in a theater on a re-issue and then later caught it in color on a TV broadcast. Loved the film and was thrilled when I found out it is was from the year of my birth -- 1938!
      For me the three special films from my birth year are in addition to THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD Frank Capra's YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU and Selznick's Technicolor THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER.