1939, The Year of Thomas Mitchell
I was watching the Turner Classic Movies documentary 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year, which is all about how the studios seemed to release some of their finest movies in the span of one memorable year. There's Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, of course. And The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gunga Din, Of Mice and Men, The Roaring Twenties, and Stagecoach. It was a busy and incredible year, the likes of which we will never see again. But what I noticed was how often character actor Thomas Mitchell appeared in the film clips. Five of Hollywood's greatest 1939 films feature Thomas Mitchell. They are The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Gone with the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Only Angels Have Wings, and Stagecoach. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in Stagecoach. He also had roles in Lost Horizon (1937), The Hurricane (1937), Our Town (1940), Moontide (1942), Bataan (1943), Buffalo Bill (1944), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), High Noon (1952), and Pocketful of Miracles (1961). What a career! What a character!