Year 1940

Highest Grossing Movies

#3 Rebecca 

A psychological thriller adapted from the 1938 novel by Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and produced by David O. Selznick. 

The censors insisted that a person who murders a spouse must be punished; therefore, changes were made to the film to satisfy the censors. Also, the censors prohibited any outright hint of a lesbian infatuation or relationship between Mrs. Danvers and Rebecca. So often, creativity had to bow to the warped minds of the censors.

#2 The Great Dictator 

An anti-war political satire, The Great Dictator starred Charlie Chaplin, who also wrote, directed, produced and scored the film.

A stirring condemnation of fascism, initially the Tory government in Britain banned The Great Dictator as they sought to appease Adolph Hitler and his brutal regime.

#1 Boom Town 

Boom Town was a Western with an all-star cast: Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Claudette Colbert and Hedy Lamarr.

Myrna Loy was originally considered for the role of female lead, but Claudette Colbert replaced her.

According to your sources, Spencer Tracy hated Clark Gable, or was his best mate. However, most sources suggest that Tracy did not get on with Claudette Colbert or Hedy Lamarr.

Notable Movie Debuts, 1940

Dana Andrews as Sergeant Dunn in Lucky Cisco Kid, a Western starring Cesar Romero and Mary Beth Hughes.

Dana Andrews enjoyed a long and varied career. He struggled with alcoholism, but eventually won the battle and worked actively with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. He was also the 15th President of the Screen Actors Guild.

Gene Tierney in The Return of Frank James. Gene played Eleanor Stone, a newspaper reporter for The Denver Star.

You can read a full appreciation of Gene Tierney’s life and career on my website

Donna Reed in Convicted Woman (some sources state that she made her debut in 1941 in The Getaway).

Born Donna Belle Mullenger; January 27, 1921 – January 14, 1986), Donna Reed enjoyed a forty-year career in films and television. 

Many actresses of the era married three times, and Donna maintained that average. My actress marriage theory: spouse one, pre-success; spouse two, during their heyday; spouse three, when the spotlight fades.

1920s – 1960s