This week, we’ve got a 1944 movie that attempts to blend comedy, thriller, and fantasy on a wartime budget. Does it succeed?
Cast, Crew, and Other Info
Dick Powell as Lawrence “Larry” Stevens
Linda Darnell as Sylvia Smith
Jack Oakie as Uncle Oscar / Cigolini
Edgar Kennedy as Inspector Mulrooney
John Philliber as Pop Benson
Screenplay by Dudley Nichols and Rene Clair, based on ideas, stories and plays by Lord Dunsany, Hugh Wedlock Jr., Howard Snyder, Lewis R. Foster, and Helene Fraenkel
Directed by Rene Clair
Complete information is
available from the IMDB.
Past movie reviews can
be found here.
A newspaper reporter starts to receive tomorrow’s edition of the paper, which leads to consequences he doesn’t expect.
“You think a fall can kill me?”
The comedy feels far too forced.
As you can see by the writers list, it’s adapted from a number of sources, which isn’t going to help its originality. It is, however, the first such story I’ve seen in this particular medium. I give it 4 out of 6.
The only visual effect was a camera filter that did an absolutely terrible job of simulating fog. I give it 3 out of 6.
The story is extremely predictable, and not just because the framing story is set 50 years in the future, eliminating much of the suspense. It is, however, logically consistent, even if there are a lot of coincidences. I give it 4 out of 6.
The acting is overplayed and unconvincing. I like my live-action comedy to be subtle, and this is far from it. Exaggerated takes abound. I give it 3 out of 6.
The emotional response is poor. The slow pace and exaggerated takes defuse the comedic aspects, which cuts out half of the goal. The suspense based around the story is undermined in two major ways; one, the framing story is set 50 years in the future, revealing the two leads are not only alive, but are healthy and celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Moreover, they are arguing in this scene. When we next see them, he seems to be a greedy, selfish opportunist, and she’s a fraud. By the time they end up in danger, we are not only lacking sympathy for them, but feeling that this is a perfectly natural and expected consequence of the decisions they’ve made until now. It’s just not a good start. I give it 2 out of 6.
The production was slow and pedestrian. This could have worked out much better had it been about 20 minutes shorter than its 84 minute runtime. All of the scenes and events could have been kept, but the direction and editing could easily tighten that up. There’s a “race against time” element in the plot that doesn’t translate to the screen because the pacing is so slow. I give it 2 out of 6.
Overall, it’s worth watching if you run across it while you have no other plans, but I wouldn’t go looking for it. I give it 3 out of 6.
In total, It Happened Tomorrow receives 21 out of 42.