Warner Home Video has released a Blu-ray box set saluting 1939, known by movie fans as Hollywood’s ‘Golden Year’ and titled as such. Featured in the set: Gone With the Wind, Dark Victory, Dodge City, Ninotchka and the newly restored The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The Golden Year Collection synopses by Warner Home Video ($70; discs also available separately):
Gone With the Wind
Period romance. War epic. Family saga. Popular fiction adapted with crowd-pleasing brilliance. Star acting aglow with charisma and passion. Moviemaking craft at its height. These are sublimely joined in the words Gone with the Wind. Starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland.
A young socialite is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, and must decide whether she'll meet her final days with dignity. Bette Davis' bravura, moving-but-never-morbid performance as Judith Traheme, a dying heiress determined to find happiness in her few remaining months remains a three-hankie classic. Co-starring George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Ronald Reagan.
Thirsty, trigger-happy cowmen pour into Dodge City, where might too often makes right. There ought to be a law in this corrupt, bullet-ridden town. Once trail boss Wade Hatton pins on a badge, there is. Starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.
A stern Russian woman (Greta Garbo) sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest.
Garbo Laughs! cheered the publicity for her first comedy, a frothy tale of a dour Russian envoy sublimating her womanhood for Soviet brotherhood until she falls for a suave Parisian man-about-town (Melvyn Douglas).
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Charles Laughton endured a daily five-and-a-half-hour makeup session to become Quasimodo, the mocked and vilified bellringer of Notre Dame. The result was one of his best performances: outsized yet nuanced, heartrending yet inspiring. Maureen O'Hara is the gypsy Esmeralda, whose simple act of pity frees the emotions within him. When she is wrongly condemned, he rescues her from hanging, sweeping all of Paris into a fight for justice.
A restored print of this film, available for the first time in high definition, was screened earlier this year at the TCM Classic Film Festival.