ⓘ 1938 in film

Pygmalion (1938 film)

Pygmalion is a 1938 British film based on the George Bernard Shaw play of the same name, and adapted by him for the screen. It stars Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller. The film was a financial and critical success, and won an Oscar for Best Screenplay and three more nominations. The screenplay later was adapted into the 1956 theatrical musical My Fair Lady, which in turn led to the 1964 film of the same name.

The Great Waltz (1938 film)

The Great Waltz is a 1938 American biographical film based very loosely on the life of Johann Strauss II. It starred Luise Rainer, Fernand Gravet, and Miliza Korjus. Rainer received top billing at the producers insistence, but her role is comparatively minor as Strauss wife, Poldi Vogelhuber. It was the only starring role for Korjus, who was a famous opera soprano and played one in the film. Joseph Ruttenberg won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Korjus was nominated for Supporting Actress, and Tom Held for Film Editing. The film was popular in Australia, and was distributed large ...

The Lady Vanishes

The Lady Vanishes is a 1938 British mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave. Written by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder based on the 1936 novel The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White, the film is about a beautiful English tourist travelling by train in continental Europe who discovers that her elderly travelling companion seems to have disappeared from the train. After her fellow passengers deny ever having seen the elderly lady, the young woman is helped by a young musicologist, the two proceeding to search the train for clues to t ...

The Bear (1938 film)

The landlord Helen Popova, who is going through the death of her husband, visits the owner of the neighboring estate, Grigory Smirnov, who insistently demands the repayment of Elenas husbands debt in order to improve her unfavorable financial situation, and, having been refused, calls her to a duel.

Victory (1938 film)

S. Ostroumov - Lomov L. Kalyuzhnaya - Liza, Klims wife N. Sanov - Gudiashvili Aleksandr Grechanyy - Gorelov Z. Karpova - Anya Luka Lyashenko - Fomin Vladimir Solovyov - Klim Samoylov, stratoplane pilot Yekaterina Korchagina-Aleksandrovskaya - Mother Samoylova

You and Me (1938 film)

You and Me is a 1938 American crime film noir directed by Fritz Lang and starring Sylvia Sidney and George Raft. They play a pair of criminals on parole and working in a department store full of similar cases; Harry Careys character routinely hires ex-convicts to staff his store. The film was written by Norman Krasna and Virginia Van Upp.


ⓘ 1938 in film

  • December 23 – Margaret Hamilton is severely burned during a mishap on the set of The Wizard of Oz. Hamilton, who was cast in the role of the Wicked Witch of the West, leaves the film for six weeks.
  • October 21 – Buddy Ebsen suffers from a near fatal allergic reaction to the aluminum dust used in his Tin Woodman make-up on the set of The Wizard of Oz. Ebsen is replaced by Jack Haley.
  • April 20 – Leonard Slye appears in his first starring role as Roy Rogers in Under Western Stars. He became one of the most popular Western stars being ranked number one from 1943 to 1952 and would become known as "King of the Cowboys".
  • April 5 – Noel Langley completes the first script for The Wizard of Oz.
  • May 7 – Lyricist Edgar Yipsel Harburg and composer, Harold Arlen, begin work on the musical score for The Wizard of Oz.
  • January – MGM announces that Judy Garland will be cast in the role of Dorothy Gale in the upcoming The Wizard of Oz film. Ray Bolger is cast as the Tin Woodman and Buddy Ebsen as the Scarecrow. At Bolgers insistence, the roles are switched between the two actors. On July 25, MGM announces Bert Lahr has been cast as the Cowardly Lion.
  • Producer George Minter establishes Renown Pictures, a British film distributor.
  • Orson Welles makes Too Much Johnson, starring Joseph Cotten. It is never completed and first released only in 2013.
  • October 13 – Filming starts on The Wizard of Oz.

1. Top-grossing films U.S.

At the time, box office numbers were reported as a percentage of business for each theater in comparison to normal business. For example, Alexanders Ragtime Band performed at 227% and The Adventures of Robin Hood at 170%. This is why exact dollar grosses for films are unreliable at best.


2. Academy Awards

  • Best Director: Frank Capra – You Cant Take It with You
  • Best Supporting Actress: Fay Bainter – Jezebel
  • Best Picture: You Cant Take It with You – Columbia
  • Best Actor: Spencer Tracy – Boys Town
  • Best Actress: Bette Davis – Jezebel
  • Best Supporting Actor: Walter Brennan – Kentucky

3. Notable films released in 1938

United States unless stated


  • Blondie, starring Penny Singleton
  • Bringing Up Baby, directed by Howard Hawks, starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn – number 14 on the American Film Institute list of best comedy films
  • Bank Holiday, starring Margaret Lockwood – GB
  • Alexanders Ragtime Band, starring Tyrone Power, Don Ameche, Alice Faye
  • Algiers, starring Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr
  • The Big Broadcast of 1938, starring W.C. Fields, Martha Raye, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour
  • The Buccaneer, directed by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Fredric March
  • Boys Town, starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, directed by Norman Taurog
  • The Adventures of Marco Polo, starring Gary Cooper and Basil Rathbone
  • La Bête humaine The Human Beast, directed by Jean Renoir, starring Jean Gabin and Simone Simon – France
  • Block-Heads, starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
  • Alexander Nevsky, directed by Sergei Eisenstein, starring Nikolai Cherkasov – U.S.S.R.
  • The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse, starring Edward G. Robinson
  • Adios Buenos Aires – Argentina/Spain/Canada
  • Aguila o sol Heads or Tails, starring Cantinflas – Mexico
  • Bluebeards Eighth Wife, starring Gary Cooper and Claudette Colbert
  • Angels with Dirty Faces, starring James Cagney, Pat OBrien, Humphrey Bogart
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood, directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone


  • Crime School, starring The Dead End Kids and Humphrey Bogart
  • Cocoanut Grove, starring Fred MacMurray
  • The Crowd Roars, starring Robert Taylor and Maureen OSullivan
  • College Swing, starring George Burns, Gracie Allen, Martha Raye, Bob Hope
  • Convict 99, starring Will Hay – GB
  • Charlie Chan in Honolulu, starring Sidney Toler
  • The Divorce of Lady X, with Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon – GB
  • A Christmas Carol, starring Reginald Owen
  • Carmen, la de Triana Carmen, the girl from Triana – Spain/Germany
  • The Citadel, directed by King Vidor, starring Robert Donat and Rosalind Russell – GB
  • The Drum, with Sabu and Raymond Massey – GB
  • Climbing High, starring Michael Redgrave and Jessie Matthews – GB
  • Carefree, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
  • The Dawn Patrol, starring Errol Flynn
  • Diao Chan – China
  • Duchacek Will Fix It Duchacek to zaeidi – Czechoslovakia
  • Dangerous to Know, starring Anna May Wong and Akim Tamiroff


  • The Four Companions, directed by Carl Froelich, starring Ingrid Bergman Germany
  • Four Daughters, starring Claude Rains
  • Fours a Crowd, starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Rosalind Russell, Patric Knowles
  • La Femme du Boulanger The Bakers Wife, directed by Marcel Pagnol, starring Raimu – France
  • Fools for Scandal, starring Carole Lombard
  • Four Men and a Prayer, directed by John Ford, starring Loretta Young, Richard Greene, David Niven
  • Ferdinand the Bull, a Disney animated short


  • Holiday, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant
  • Honeysuckle, starring Hugo del Carril and Libertad Lamarque Argentina
  • The Girl of the Golden West, starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy
  • Having Wonderful Time, starring Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
  • Hotel du Nord, directed by Marcel Carne – France
  • Hard to Get, starring Olivia de Havilland and Dick Powell
  • Her Jungle Love, starring Dorothy Lamour and Ray Milland
  • The Gaunt Stranger, starring Sonnie Hale – GB
  • Heres Flash Casey, starring Eric Linden, Boots Mallory, and Cully Richards


  • Just Around the Corner, starring Shirley Temple
  • In Old Chicago, starring Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Don Ameche
  • I Am the Law, starring Edward G. Robinson
  • If I Were King, starring Ronald Colman
  • Kentucky, starring Loretta Young, Richard Greene, Walter Brennan
  • International Settlement, starring Dolores del Rio
  • Kentucky Moonshine, starring the Ritz Brothers
  • Judge Hardys Children, starring Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker, Fay Holden
  • Kidnapped, starring Warner Baxter and Freddie Bartholomew
  • Jaccuse!, directed by Abel Gance – France
  • Jezebel, starring Bette Davis and Henry Fonda
  • Inspector Hornleigh, starring Gordon Harker and Alastair Sim – GB
  • Kilometro 111 – Argentina
  • King Kong Appears in Edo ni Arawareta Kingu Kongu – Japan


  • Mad About Music, starring Deanna Durbin and Herbert Marshall
  • A Man to Remember, starring Anne Shirley and Edward Ellis
  • Love Finds Andy Hardy, starring Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Cecilia Parker, Fay Holden
  • The Mad Miss Manton, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda
  • The Lady Vanishes, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood – GB
  • Marie Antoinette, starring Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power
  • Mr. Wong, Detective, starring Boris Karloff
  • Listen, Darling, starring Judy Garland and Freddie Bartholomew
  • Merrily We Live, starring Brian Aherne, Constance Bennett, Billie Burke, Patsy Kelly
  • Lord Jeff, starring Freddie Bartholomew and Mickey Rooney
  • Little Miss Broadway, starring Shirley Temple, Jimmy Durante, Edna May Oliver
  • Mr. Motos Gamble, starring Peter Lorre and Keye Luke
  • My Bill, starring Kay Francis, Dickie Moore
  • Little Tough Guy, starring Robert Wilcox, Helen Parrish, Marjorie Main
  • The Mountain Calls Der Berg Ruft – Germany
  • Mollenard, directed by Robert Siodmak – France
  • Men with Wings, directed by William Wellman, starring Fred MacMurray and Ray Milland


  • Old Bones of the River, starring Will Hay, Moore Marriott, Graham Moffatt – GB
  • Out West with the Hardys, starring Lewis Stone, Mickey Rooney, Cecilia Parker, Fay Holden
  • Prison Break, starring Barton MacLane and Glenda Farrell
  • Paradise for Three, starring Frank Morgan, Robert Young, Mary Astor
  • Pawel i Gawel Pawel and Gawel – Poland
  • Olympia, a documentary by Leni Riefenstahl – Germany
  • Of Human Hearts, starring Walter Huston, James Stewart, Beulah Bondi
  • Port of Shadows Le quai des brumes, directed by Marcel Carne, starring Jean Gabin and Michel Simon – France
  • Pygmalion, directed by Anthony Asquith, starring Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller – GB
  • Professor Mamlock – U.S.S.R.
  • Port of Seven Seas, directed by James Whale, starring Wallace Beery and Maureen OSullivan
  • Professor Beware, starring Harold Lloyd


  • Skola zaklad zivota – Czechoslovakia
  • The Shopworn Angel, starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan
  • Sixty Glorious Years, starring Anna Neagle – GB
  • Red River Range, starring John Wayne
  • Rawhide, starring Lou Gehrig, Smith Ballew, and Evalyn Knapp
  • Sweethearts, starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy
  • The Saint in New York, starring Louis Hayward
  • Suez, starring Tyrone Power and Loretta Young
  • Radio City Revels, starring Jack Oakie
  • Sidewalks of London, starring Charles Laughton, Vivien Leigh, Rex Harrison – GB
  • Room Service, starring the Marx Brothers and Lucille Ball
  • A Slight Case of Murder, starring Edward G. Robinson
  • Save a Little Sunshine, starring Patricia Kirkwood and Tommy Trinder – GB
  • The Sisters, starring Errol Flynn and Bette Davis
  • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, starring Shirley Temple


  • Too Hot to Handle, starring Clark Gable and Myrna Loy
  • Tom Sawyer, Detective, starring Donald OConnor
  • Urlaub auf Ehrenwort Leave on Parole – Germany
  • Test Pilot, starring Clark Gable and Myrna Loy
  • Young Fugitives, starring Harry Davenport
  • Vivacious Lady, starring Ginger Rogers and James Stewart
  • Valley of the Giants, starring Wayne Morris and Claire Trevor
  • They Drive by Night, starring Emlyn Williams and Ernest Thesiger – GB
  • Three Comrades, starring Robert Taylor, Margaret Sullavan, Franchot Tone
  • That Certain Age, starring Deanna Durbin and Melvyn Douglas
  • There Goes My Heart, starring Fredric March, Virginia Bruce and Patsy Kelly
  • Volga-Volga – U.S.S.R.


  • The Young in Heart, starring Janet Gaynor, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Paulette Goddard
  • White Banners, starring Claude Rains and Fay Bainter
  • Were Going to Be Rich – starring Gracie Fields, Victor McLaglen and Brian Donlevy – GB
  • You Cant Take It with You, directed by Frank Capra, starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore – Oscars for best picture and director
  • Woman Against Woman, starring Herbert Marshall and Virginia Bruce
  • A Womans Face En kvinnas ansikte, starring Ingrid Bergman – Sweden
  • A Yank at Oxford, starring Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore, Vivien Leigh – GB
  • La Zandunga, starring Lupe Velez and Arturo de Cordova – Mexico
  • Young Dr. Kildare, starring Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore


4. Serials

  • The Lone Ranger
  • The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok
  • The Spiders Web
  • Red Barry
  • The Fighting Devil Dogs, starring Lee Powell and Herman Brix
  • Dick Tracy Returns, starring Ralph Byrd
  • Hawk of the Wilderness, starring Herman Brix
  • Flaming Frontiers
  • Flash Gordons Trip to Mars, starring Buster Crabbe
  • The Secret of Treasure Island

5. Comedy film series

  • Laurel and Hardy 1921–1945
  • The Three Stooges 1933–1962
  • Buster Keaton 1917–1944
  • Lupino Lane 1915–1939
  • Harold Lloyd 1913– 1938
  • Marx Brothers 1929–1937
  • Charlie Chaplin 1914–1940
  • Our Gang 1922–1944

6. Animated short film series

  • Krazy Kat 1925–1940
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit 1927-1938
  • Mickey Mouse 1928–1953
  • Mother Goose Goes Hollywood
  • Silly Symphonies
  • Wynken, Blynken and Nod
  • The Moth and the Flame
  • Merbabies
  • Farmyard Symphony
  • The Captain and the Kids 1938–1939
  • Screen Songs 1929-1938
  • Terrytoons 1930–1964
  • Scrappy 1931–1941
  • Color Rhapsodies 1934–1949
  • Happy Harmonies 1934-1938
  • Popeye 1933–1957
  • Looney Tunes 1930–1969
  • Betty Boop 1932–1939
  • Merrie Melodies 1931–1969
  • Donald Duck 1937–1956
  • Walter Lantz Cartunes also known as New Universal Cartoons or Cartune Comedies 1938–1942


7. Births

  • January 6 – Larisa Shepitko, Soviet director died 1979
  • March 18 – Shashi Kapoor, Indian actor died 2017
  • February 12 – Oliver Reed, English actor died 1999
  • January 12 – Lewis Fiander, Australian actor died 2016
  • March 4 – Paula Prentiss, American actress
  • January 1 – Frank Langella, American actor
  • May 12
  • February 23 – Diane Varsi, American actress died 1992
  • Luana Anders, American actress d. 1996
  • Millie Perkins, American actress
  • April 15 – Claudia Cardinale, Italian actress
  • February 17 – Yvonne Romain, English actress
  • January 26 – Henry Jaglom, English-born director and playwright
  • January 14 – Jack Jones, American singer, actor
  • February 24 – James Farentino, American actor died 2012
  • March 25 – Hoyt Axton, American country music singer-songwriter, actor died 1999
  • March 5 – Fred Williamson, American actor
  • February 19 – Rene Muñoz, Cuban-born actor, Mexico-based screenwriter died 2000
  • July 9 – Brian Dennehy, American actor
  • May 22 – Richard Benjamin, American actor, director
  • Natalie Wood, American actress died 1981
  • July 6 – Luana Patten, American actress died 1996
  • June 21 – Celia Rodriguez, Filipina actress
  • June 25 – Giampiero Littera, Italian actor
  • Diana Rigg, English actress
  • June 12 – Tom Oliver, Australian actor
  • June 16 – Michael Culver, English actor
  • July 18 – Paul Verhoeven, Dutch director
  • July 11 – Jiei Krampol, Czech actor
  • July 8 – Andrey Myagkov, Soviet/Russian actor
  • July 20
  • June 18 – Michael Sheard, Scottish actor died 2005
  • August 26 – Susan Harrison, American actress
  • August 8 – Connie Stevens, American actress, singer
  • August 29 – Elliott Gould, American actor
  • Giuliano Gemma, Italian actor d. 2013
  • September 2
  • August 6 – Paul Bartel, American actor, writer and director died 2000
  • Mary Jo Catlett, American actress
  • Clarence Felder, American actor
  • July 23 – Ronny Cox, American actor, singer-songwriter
  • Tunç Basaran, Turkish screenwriter, film director, film producer and actor died 2019
  • Stella Stevens, American actress
  • September 8 – Philip L. Clarke, American voice actor died 2013
  • October 1
  • September 28 – Ben E. King, American soul singer died 2015
  • December 12 – Connie Francis, American singer, actress
  • December 16 – Liv Ullmann, Norwegian actress
  • October 22 – Christopher Lloyd, American actor
  • November 13 – Jean Seberg, American actress died 1979
  • December 29 – Jon Voight, American actor


8. Deaths

  • October 1 – Conway Tearle, 60, American stage & film actor, The Hurricane Express, Romeo and Juliet, Stella Maris, The Lost Zeppelin
  • September 19 – Pauline Frederick, 55, American stage & film actress, Thank You, Mr. Moto, Smouldering Fires, This Modern Age, Devils Island
  • December 25 – Harry Myers, 56, American film actor and director, City Lights, Baby
  • August 6 – Warner Oland, 58, Swedish-born actor, The Jazz Singer, Shanghai Express, Charlie Chan in London, Charlie Chan at the Opera
  • January 21 – Georges Melies, 76, French film pioneer, The Impossible Voyage, A Trip to the Moon, The Merry Frolics of Satan, The Conquest of the Pole
  • January 26 – Matthew Betz, 56, American actor, The Wedding March, The Patent Leather Kid, The Big House, The Hurricane Express
  • December 28 – Florence Lawrence, 48, Canadian actress, Hollywoods first "star", Lady Helens Escapade, The Taming of the Shrew, The Mended Lute, Betrayed by a Handprint
  • January 20 – Emile Cohl, 81, French film pioneer
  • August 4 – Pearl White, 49, American silent film star, The Perils of Pauline, The Exploits of Elaine

9. Debuts

  • Glynis Johns – South Riding
  • Vincent Price – Service de Luxe
  • Maureen OHara – Kicking the Moon Around
  • Michael Redgrave – The Lady Vanishes
  • Peter Finch – Dad and Dave Come to Town
  • William Holden – Prison Farm
  • Eddie Albert – Brother Rat
  • John Garfield – Swingtime in the Movies
  • Lena Horne – The Duke is Tops
  • June Lockhart – A Christmas Carol