Seventy years ago while the world prepared for war, people flocked to theaters to escape their everyday life. They rode a “Stagecoach” with a rising new star, John Wayne, they went to Washington with Mr. Smith, went somewhere over the rainbow with Dorothy and they were blown away by “Gone With The Wind”.
1939 was a defining year in history and most historians, critics and fans agree that 1939 was also a defining year in movie history as well.
The biggest and greatest movie of 1939 (and probably of all time) was “Gone With the Wind”. Released in December and starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, “Gone With the Wind” was not only the top grossing film of the year but the most nominated at the Academy Awards.
“Gone With the Wind” was awarded ten Academy Awards, a record that would stand for years, including Best Picture, Best Director for Victor Fleming and Best Actress for Vivien Leigh. Hattie McDaniel who portrayed Mamie was also awarded the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and became the first African American to be nominated for and win an Academy Award.
Running a close second at the box office was another Victor Fleming film, “The Wizard Of Oz”. Initially, it was not considered a success in relation to its large budget. The songs however, became extremely popular with “Over the Rainbow” receiving the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
“The Wizard of Oz” was first televised in 1956 and then not again until 1959. Since then it has become an annual event and due to the airings it has become one of the most beloved films of all time and according the Library of Congress, the most watched film in history.
This month to celebrate the 70th anniversary of “The Wizard Of Oz”, NCM Fathom, Warner Home Video and Turner Classic Movies will give theatergoers the opportunity to experience this family classic for the fist time in high definition on the big screen.
For one night only, September 23rd, you can experience the film the way it was meant to be seen. In the Columbus area it will be showing at 7:00pm at AMC Easton, AMC Lennox and Georgesville Stadium. For tickets visit www.FathomEvents.com.
Celebrate the 70th anniversary of the greatest films ever made at home. Check out the ten films nominated for best picture of 1939 (all films are available on DVD at Netflix.com):
Gone With The Wind – winner
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Of Mice and Men
The Wizard of Oz