best film:  Bringing Up Baby is perhaps Howard Hawks greatest achievement along with the greatest achievement of the screwball comedy genre (or all of comedies genre films for that matter). It also may be the single greatest work from both Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. How’s that for a choice for best film of the year?

most overrated:  It’s not egregious is but the lady vanishes at #569 is too lofty a rating for this 2nd (or probably rather 3rd) tier Hitchcock film.

most underrated:  Again it appears I’m a sucker for a very entertaining curitz/flynn collaboration- I’m going with The Adventures of Robin Hood at #867 for my choice for most underrated film of the year.

gem I want to spotlight:  Le Bête Humaine from Renoir is depressing, grave, macabre and quite devastating to the viewer. It’s tough to watch but certainly well-orchestrated by Renoir.

trends and notables:  1938 is the calm before the storm that would come in 1939 which is Hollywood’s greatest year. There are films in and near the top 5 of this year that simply wouldn’t be on the top 10 for 1939 at all. Curtiz would give us 3 archiveable films from 1938. The Marx brothers continue their dominance of the 1930’s with their seventh archiveable film of the decade. We also have the first archiveable performance from a very young Ingrid Bergman in intermezzo

best performance male:  Cary Grant in bringing up baby is the best male performance of the year. Comedies (especially this zany) are rarely if ever acknowledged by the Oscar so Cary wasn’t even nominated (nor was Hepburn) but its become his signature performance (along with north by northwest) and he’s a top 10 actor on the all-time line. You throw in that it’s in far and away the best film of year and we have our easy choice here.

best performance female: Katharine Hepburn paired with Cary in bringing up baby is my female performance of the year. Bette Davis is stellar in jezebel but again we have probably the best performance from one of the best 5 female actresses of all-time. He and Grant are fantastic and it’s impossible to imagine the film without either.


top 10

  1. Bringing Up Baby
  2. La Bete Humaine
  3. Alexander Nevsky
  4. Port of Shadows
  5. The Adventures of Robin Hood
  6. The Lady Vanishes
  7. Holiday
  8. You Can’t Take It With You
  9. Jezebel
  10. Test Pilot



Archives, Directors, and Grades

A Slight Case of Murder-Bacon R
Alexander Nevsky- Eisenstein HR/MS
Angels With Dirty Faces- Curtiz
Boys Town R
Bringing Up Baby- Hawks MP
Four Daughters- Curtiz R
Holiday- Cukor HR
Jezebel-Wyler R/HR
La Bete Humaine- Renoir MS
Port of Shadows- Carne HR
Pygmalion HR
Room Service- Marx R
Sidewalks of London R
Test Pilot- Fleming HR
The Adventures of Robin Hood- Curtiz HR
The Citadel- Vidor R
The Dawn Patrol- Goulding R
The Lady Vanishes- Hitchcock HR
Weekend R
You Can’t Take It With You- Capra HR


*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film

MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film

HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film

R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives