Sun Never Sets, The (1939)

“There are troublesome things taking place in different parts of the empire today that we don’t like — and don’t quite understand.” Synopsis: A man (Basil Rathbone) serving in the British colony of the Gold Coast returns home with his wife (Barbara O’Neil), hoping to stay in England — but when his tradition-bound grandfather (C. […]

Union Pacific (1939)

“A railroad from Omaha to California? One might as well think of flying!” Synopsis: A shady stock manipulator (Henry Kolker) hires a gambling hall owner (Brian Donlevy) to intentionally stall progress on the Union Pacific railroad, but Donlevy’s partner (Robert Preston) — in love with the Irish daughter (Barbara Stanwyck) of an engineer — finds […]

Oklahoma Kid, The (1939)

“I like all kinds of people… What I don’t take to is this itch for plowing up new empires.” Synopsis: During the Cherokee Strip Land Run, a sheriff (Hugh Sothern) and his son Ned (Harvey Stephens) attempt to stake a claim in a town they will call Tulsa, but must strike a bargain with an […]

Each Dawn I Die (1939)

“Okay, canary — start singin’!” Synopsis: After outing a corrupt gubernatorial candidate and his assistant (Victor Jory), an investigative journalist (James Cagney) is framed for manslaughter and sent to prison, where he meets a gangster (George Raft) who promises to help him clear his name but reneges on this promise once he escapes. Will Cagney’s […]

Jesse James (1939)

“I hate the railroads — and when I hate, I’ve got to do something about it.” Synopsis: When a thuggish railroad goon (Brian Donlevy) accidentally causes the death of their mother (Jane Darwell), brothers Jesse (Tyrone Power) and Frank (Henry Fonda) James become outlaws, robbing trains. With the help of a newly appointed lawman (Randolph […]

If I Were King (1938)

“If it’s so easy to be king, how would you begin?” Synopsis: When medieval poet Francois Villon (Ronald Colman) kills a traitor (John Miljan) in the court of King Louis XI (Basil Rathbone), he’s made Constable for a week, during which time he falls in love with a beautiful lady-in-waiting (Frances Dee), hatches a plan […]

Four Men and a Prayer (1938)

“If dad’s evidence was so important that they had to murder him, we’ll be running the same risk.” Synopsis: A disgraced British colonel (C. Aubrey Smith) falsely accused of issuing an order responsible for 90 deaths in India shares what he knows with his four sons — Geoffrey (Richard Greene), Wyatt (George Sanders), Christopher (David […]

Prisoner of Zenda, The (1937)

“History is born out of a bottle of wine.” Synopsis: An Englishman (Ronald Colman) vacationing in Ruritania is instantly spotted as a doppelganger for Rudolf V (Ronald Colman), who is due to become king the next day. When Rudolf V is drugged and kidnapped by his power-hungry brother (Raymond Massey) at a drinking party, Rudolf’s […]

Black Legion (1937)

“What this country needs is bigger and better patriots!” Synopsis: A factory worker (Humphrey Bogart) upset that an anticipated promotion has gone to his bookish co-worker (Henry Brandon) is recruited by a colleague (Joe Sawyer) to join an undercover society called the Black Legion, and soon finds himself involved in increasingly violent hate crimes. When […]

Last Gangster, The (1937)

“He is the kind of boy you really hoped for — isn’t he, Joe?” Synopsis: A gangster (Edward G. Robinson) whose newly immigrated wife (Rose Stradner) knows nothing about his criminal life is infuriated when she refuses to bring their new son to visit him in prison. Stradner marries a kind journalist (Jimmy Stewart) and […]