It Happened Tomorrow
Action / Comedy / Fantasy
It Happened Tomorrow
Action / Comedy / Fantasy
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In the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Lawrence 'Larry' Stevens is an ambitious reporter of The Evening News. One day, he is celebrating with his colleagues and he tells his friend Pop Benson that he would like to know the news in advance before it happens. While they are walking on the street, they see a poster of the clairvoyant Cigolini and his gorgeous niece Sylvia Smith and they decide to go to a theater to see the show. Larry flirts with Sylvia and on his way back home, he overhears Pop on the street and the old man tells that he is waiting for him and gives a newspaper to him. Larry does not give much attention and puts the newspaper in the pocket of his jacket. On the next morning, he finds that the newspaper is an edition of the next day. Larry uses the information to scoop about a hold up in the opera house, becoming the prime suspect of Inspector Mulrooney. Larry dates Sylvia and Pop gives another edition of The Evening News of the next day. Larry becomes a successful reporter and is promoted and has a raise on his job. He plans to marry Sylvia and decides to find the winners of the horse race. But soon he also learns that he will die on the next day. Now he questions whether the future can be changed. —Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Aug 15, 2021 at 04:23 PM
grade Movie Reviews
A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing
Reporter Dick Powell in the gaslight era of 1896 big city America would like to have the knowledge of the future. Well, think of all the scoops he could have on his job. Later on that evening another staffer on the paper John Philliber gives him a copy of tomorrow's evening addition. And for the next three days Powell's life is turned topsy turvy trying to take advantage of this most inside of information.At this point in Dick Powell's career he was looking desperately to rejuvenate his career. His musical days were over, he left Warner Brothers, signed with Paramount looking for some straight acting parts, but Paramount mostly put him musicals and not as good as the ones he did with Warner Brothers. Powell had scored some success in Preston Sturges's Christmas in July with no songs and he grabbed this one. He did well in the role here, but soon he'd change his screen image for all time later that year in Murder, My Sweet.Exiled Rene Clair helmed this whimsical tale and got good results from his cast. Linda Darnell is as lovely as ever with her uncle Jack Oakie as a mind reading carnival act. And Edgar Kennedy does his patented slow burn as a police inspector who suspects the worst when Powell is scooping the police on some crime stories.The plot has quite a few twists and turns and it would be a sin to give even one of them away. Powell and Darnell learn a most valuable lesson to take the future as it comes day by day. A little knowledge can indeed be a dangerous thing.
Is Knowing the Future Really Worth It?
A sort of fantasy counterpart of the contemporary Ernst Lubitsch film HEAVEN CAN WAIT, while parts of IT HAPPENED TOMORROW are set in the 1940s, at a vast family get together for the 50th Anniversary of patriarch Dick Powell and matriarch Linda Darnell, the bulk of the film is set in the same 1890s setting as the Lubitsch film. As it is directed here by Rene Clair, he probably enjoyed the mixture of nostalgia and fantasy (in this same period he also did I MARRIED A WITCH with Veronica Lake and Frederick March).Powell is a newspaper man who has finally been promoted from doing obituaries to reporting events by boss George Cleveland. He and some chums (including George Chandler) are celebrating his promotion when he has a conversation with the oldest employee of the paper, the newspaper morgue attendant (John Philiber). Philiber is pointing out that in every age there was a sense of a future which we now accept as part of the past, but that to know the future is not a blessing. After all, if you know the future, that includes all the bad things as well as the so-called good things. Powell, emboldened by some drinking and optimism at his promotion, feels Philiber is wrong and insists that he'd love to know the future. Powell and his friends go out to a nearby theater/bar for entertainment, and they see a mentalist act of Jack Oakie (complete with fake Italian dialect) and his niece Darnell. Powell is attracted to Darnell, and begins making a pest of himself and his intentions to Oakie. Later he actually does take Darnell back to her rooming house. The when walking home he is stopped by Philiber, who presents him with the "evening" newspaper. But Powell does not realize that the newspaper is special. The next day he reads it and finds it is the evening paper of the next day, and it's events predict the incidents of that day - specifically the robbery of a theater that Dame Nelly Melba is singing at.Powell is to meet Darnell for lunch, but takes her to the theater, and he witnesses the aftermath of the robbery. He then goes to the newspaper and presents the story, but the police (led by Edgar Kennedy) naturally are suspicious of Powell, and think he was in cahoots with the robbers. The end result is that both Powell and Darnell are under police suspicion "until they prove their innocence".What follows in the film is the incredible complications regarding foretelling the future in a newspaper and maintaining a good reputation with your employer, the authorities, and the general public. Powell and Darnell are soon forced to reveal what they know of the future (real or fake) to the Police to avoid arrest. Powell is also forced to rely on the increasingly mysterious Philiber who is not showing up at work, and only shows up to present the newspaper of the next day (or read it) to Powell.It is a very amusing film, reminding us again that Powell was a good comic actor when given good material. The crazy fight in the film's conclusion, based on his knowledge of what he believes is his fate, is excellent because he can take chances since he knows his current activities have nothing to do with what or where his fate is tied to. So are his actions that are driving Jack Oakie crazy, first in disturbing a pretty successful mentalist act (Sig Ruman is a representative of Barnum and Bailey trying to sign him up), and then apparently compromising Darnell's reputation, and then in going to the racetrack and winning four impossible horse race bets in a row. Darnell is good too, giving support to Powell (although she can't believe in his crazy source of inside information), to the point that she too predicts an event for the benefit of the Police. Kennedy is in his element, slow burning as he can't figure out how Powell knows so much in advance and is not a criminal. And several side faces in the cast remind us of another Paramount comic genius active at that moment: Preston Sturgis. Jimmy Conlon, Robert Dudley, Kennedy, Darnell, and Powell all appeared in Sturgis films in their time. Here they show that Clare could also depend on their work.In the series ONE STEP BEYOND, there was an episode about a newspaper reporter in Boston who predicted the Krackatoa Explosion in 1883 and then (possibly) McKinley's assassination in 1901. That episode treated this entire problem far more seriously, as the reporter involved never really recovered from the freak fame he momentarily got in 1883. But this film fantasy treats the matter more lightly, but still makes one really question the full value of the possibility of predicting the future. It also reminds one of Goethe's famous comment: "Be careful of what you want...you may get it!"
Writing on the Wall
"It Happened Tomorrow" could have stood a better beginning - the choice to introduce the story with elderly Dick Powell and Linda Darnell (as Larry and Sylvia Smith) celebrating 50 years of wedded bliss sacrifices the story's surprises. The film does possess the light touch required to make the framing sequence charming. But, director René Clair and Mr. Powell build an unexpectedly good level of suspense regarding Powell's courtship, and mortality. They are so good, you can almost forget how much the opening gives away Watch for a thoroughly delightful (and unfortunately rare) performance by sagely John Philliber (as "Pop" Benson). He plays the keeper of the "Evening News" "morgue" (a place where newspapers keep obituaries and other files). Possibly, Mr. Philliber had read his own notice; he died in 1944. Powell was also able to read the writing on the wall, and saved his fledgling career by pursuing more interesting roles (like this one). Jackie Oakie and Edgar Kennedy are also on board. This is a subtle celebration of life, and its mysteries.******** It Happened Tomorrow (5/28/44) René Clair ~ Dick Powell, Linda Darnell, John Philliber, Jackie Oakie
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