|It Happened Tomorrow (1944)
Run time: 85 min
Genres: Comedy | Fantasy
Director: René Clair
Writers: Lord Dunsany, Hugh Wedlock Jr.
Stars: Dick Powell, Linda Darnell, Jack Oakie
A young turn-of-the-century newspaper man finds he can get hold of the next day’s paper. This brings more problems than fortune, especially as his new girlfriend is a part of a phony, clairvoyant act.
Release Date: 28 May 1944 (USA)
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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.
If you are a fan of the TV show "Early Edition" it should be noteworthy that it was based on the film "It Happened Tomorrow," director Rene Clair’s 1944 fantasy follow-up to his own "I Married a Witch."
This early "Early Edition" is a classic film whose story is like one of the great "Twilight Zone" episodes complete with twists, irony and a lesson to be learned. In comparison to contemporary offerings it is nice to see a film that is both fun and intelligent. Though technically a drama, this film has plenty of comedy too.
One of my favorite actresses, Lynda Darnell ("Forever Amber"), co-stars along side Dick Powell and one of the great comedic side-kick actors of all time Jack Oakie. Comedy film buffs watch for Eddie Acuff (the mailman in the Blondie series) in an uncredited role.
I first saw this film in the year of it’s release in 1944 when I was 14 years old. I haven’t seen it since I was in my early thirties and I am now in my middle seventies so perhaps I am viewing it through a rosy glow. I enjoyed Dick Powell as an actor once he got rid of playing in those silly musical films (42nd St type, etc)and rate this one a good comedy to compare at the side of his tougher vehicles like "Farewell My Lovely". His early death robbed the screen of an actor who hadn’t yet fulfilled his potential. A pity there aren’t more films like this one instead of the constant cycle of sex and violence with which the film industry is now preoccupied.
And you thought "The New York Times" was the best newspaper that you could get your hands on? Well, then, just take a look at the paper that turn-of-the- century reporter Dick Powell gets a hold of, in the 1944 comedy/fantasy "It Happened Tomorrow." This sheet gives all the news that’s fit to print a full day BEFORE the news actually happens! Imagine the possibilities for news scoops and gambling! But, oh…what happens if you should read your own obituary on page 1? Anyway, that’s the setup for what turns out to be an absolutely charming little film, featuring classy production design and a first-rate cast. Powell, mustachioed here for a change, is extremely charismatic as our leading man; Linda Darnell, all of 23 in this film, is sweet and oh-so beautiful as the bogus seeress he becomes involved with; and Jack Oakie gives an extremely likable and high-energy performance as Linda’s uncle (almost a reprise of his hilarious Benzino Napaloni from 1940’s "The Great Dictator"). Fans of old-timey movies will be happy to note such famous character actors as Edgar Kennedy, Sig Ruman and Edward Brophy also gracing this fine cast. With its sweet "Twilight Zone"-ish story and upbeat moral of the undesirability of knowing the future, this is even a movie that adults can watch with the kiddies. While perhaps not in the same league as the previous year’s turn-of-the-century fantasy "Heaven Can Wait," this is a film that should still manage to prove a winner for most viewers. It is also available on a new, crisp-looking DVD that only adds to the pleasure.