Mortimer was brought up by his aunt’s Abby and Martha in the old family home. Abby and Martha still live in the house and are much loved by the community. Also living with them is Mortimer’s brother Teddy who thinks he is President Theodore Roosevelt. One of the aunts had gone out and when she comes back the other aunt tells her she had to hide a dead man under the window seat! Mortimer comes into the house surprising his aunts. He sits down on the window seat when the aunts go into the kitchen and he takes a look he finds the body in the seat! Mortimer thinks Teddy hid the dead man. He knows his brother is crazy so to protect him he gets papers together to have Teddy committed to a mental facility. The aunts tell Mortimer that they are the ones who put the body there and that there are twelve more like him in the basement. They say they do it as an act of kindness only killing lonely men who had no families then they have Teddy burry the bodies by telling him that the men have died from Yellow Fever. Now Mortimer begins to go out of his mind almost as bad as his aunts and Teddy.
Elaine comes by the house to see what is going on since Mortimer is not answering her whistle. She sees he is a total mess and he throws her out. While Mortimer is getting a judge to sign off on the papers to send Teddy away, two ominous looking men come to the door. The two men come in. One is a tall scary looking man who looks like Boris Karloff and the other is short nervous man. The aunts were hiding on the stairs and ask who the men are and what they want. The taller man says that he is their nephew Jonathan. Jonathan is a criminal who is wanted all over the world for murdering people. He is traveling with his plastic surgeon Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre). Mortimer comes back from seeing the judge and sees Jonathan in the house. By this time Mortimer has just become a nut case himself. He goes in and out of being in oblivion and alert.
Jonathan and Einstein have a dead body on their hands. When the aunts lets slip that Teddy digs in Panama Jonathan plans to hide the body down there. The aunts will not have it they do not want a stranger among their other bodies. In a scene where Jonathan brings the body down to the cellar, Mortimer stays upstairs and talks to Einstein. He tells Einstein about a play he saw that drove him crazy where a man has his back turned to the bad guy as he is talking and is oblivious to the fact that the bad guy is behind him and sits down in a chair. The bad guy comes up behind the guy and strangles him. Well the same thing happens to Mortimer only Jonathan ties him up.
Richard Aiken is about to marry a woman name Susan Darell (Joan Fontaine). He has just recently proposed to her and wants to marry her right away. At Susan’s apartment he sees pictures of the three previous men in her life. She tells him she was married to one of them and almost married to the other two. Susan holds a party at her place where Richard meets Roger (George Brent), Mike, and Bill the men who once held a place in her heart. He gets nervous and wants to talk to the other men so he can see what went wrong with them so he will not make the same mistake. Each man’s view of Susan are completely different, she was a different woman with each men.
Roger goes first since he was the first to know her and he is the only one who knows the real Susan. He was away before starting a play of Joan of Arc. He was getting away from an actress he could not stand when he came upon a house across the lake from him. The house belongs to Susan and her uncle. At first Roger thought she was singing and wearing plain clothes to attract his attention but it turns out she is very naïve and when asked if she ever wanted to be a star she really thought he meant being a star in the sky. While on a walk on the shore she speaks of Joan of Arc and Roger is really taken with the way she recited the story. He has her read the script and likes her rendition. Roger makes Susan the star of his show and married her. While her reviews are good the play fails. The play fails mostly because Susan is so honest and says that the play is not doing well. Roger becomes really upset with her because she cannot lie but finds her perfect for it and so perfect he feels she is that he cannot be with her anymore.
Mike met Susan when Roger brought him into his office to talk about backing a play. Mike is a rich rancher from the Midwest so he has some money to spare. Susan sneaks into Roger’s office and when Mike sees her he is head over heels in love. Susan is no longer the shy and brutally honest woman Roger knew she is now a breezy wild woman who cannot help but tell a fib. Being the naïve one now Mike asks Susan to marry him but unfortunately Susan’s fibbing and sneaking around get her into trouble and he breaks off the engagement.
Things get rough with Michael only making thirty-five dollars a week and she is not working. Their bills are weeks and even months behind. Towards the end of the film their furniture gets reposed. It is New Year’s Day when their furniture gets taken. Michael wants to take her out with the fifty dollars he got working. She tries to make him see that they need to be saved but he thinks everything is financially alright. They go out and she brings up the fact that she needs to go to work but that does not go over well. The couple get back home and Carolyn sees the furniture is back in the house. Hugh has helped them out.
Now the rest of the cast was great except for Gene Raymond. I am not a fan of Raymond’s. I have seen him in other films and to me he is just a filler. He was so odd looking and not that great as an actor he was terrible as the leading man. Robert Young would have been perfect I can see Stanwyck going back to him and being in love with him instead of Raymond. The film would have been perfection if the lead male roles were reversed. Helen Broderick was awesome I love her deadpan-ness. She always seems to be paired with a bum for a boyfriend or husband and plays off that. She had a great scene where she was crying because she was afraid her husband would get hurt.
The Bride Walks Out is a really cute film. I enjoyed seeing Barbara Stanwyck in a comedy makes the whole story so much more enjoyable then it should have been.
Errol Flynn takes a rare turn in a comedy film in Footsteps in the Dark as lawyer by day amateur detective running around with the cops by night. In his spare time Francis is a mystery writer writing under the penname F.X. Pettyjohn. His new book entitled Footsteps in the Dark has sparked some controversy. His mother-in-law and her book club want to sue the author for slander since he has based some of his story on them. His wife and mother-in-law do not know he is the author of the book so throughout the film he has to try to keep his identities in order.
Francis goes out with the police at night working to get ideas for his stories. He comes home late climbing up a lader and through his bedroom window. He has a loving wife Rita who does not suspect anything at first.
At his office one day a man named Leopold Fissue comes in pretty much demanding that he become Francis’s client. The man deals with diamonds and he wants Francis to help him invest them. Francis says that he is not the kind of client he normally takes on but the man is shady and very persuasive. Fissue tells Francis to come by his place that night and they can talk the deal over. Francis goes to Fissue’s place but the man does not show up. His butler tells Francis that Fissue went out on his boat but he cannot imagine what could be keeping him.
Francis finds it odd that Fissue never showed up so he goes to hang out with his police buddies. The station gets a call that a man was found dead on his boat, Francis tags along. The man on the boat is Fissue. The police do not know that Francis is Francis Warren the lawyer they know him only by his pen name so they do not know that Fissue had seen and set up a meeting with the lawyer during the day. Francis is one step ahead of the police who he sees and we see as incompetent and bumbling and are more than happy to stop the case once the coroner reports that Fissue died from cardiac arrest due to alcoholism. Francis knows better and starts his own investigation while the real detectives chase their tails.
The further Francis investigates on his own the more he gets in trouble both with the law and with his wife and mother-in-law.
The very ending of the film is really cute. You know that Francis will never stop doing what does chasing after the police seeking a thrill so his wife figures if he will not stop she will go with him.
As I was watching this film I could not help but thinking of the show Castle with Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. If you do not watch Castle the show is about an author who tags along with a detective and her team to get information for his books and also helps to solve murders. I would not be surprised if the creator of the show got the idea from Footsteps in the Dark. I enjoyed this film very much. Errol Flynn when he was given the chance to do something more than play cowboys and action heroes was so fabulous. He was so charming and handsome and slick. I like seeing him in his modern roles rather than period pieces. Ralph Bellamy also stars in the film, he is not in it a lot but he has a very important role and one that is so out of character from what he usually played.
Footsteps in the Dark is very different for a classic film which is the reason why it is fun to watch today. The story and plot is light, entertaining and fun. Errol Flynn does not fail to capture and keep your attention with his handsomeness and his charm as he outsmarts the police. Footsteps in the Dark is a hidden classic comedic gem that must be seen by all those who call themselves film buff.
I believe every person on earth has some kind of wish to know the future. Sometimes I think it would be interesting to know if I am going in the right direction with my life. In the 1944 film It Happened Tomorrow, turn of the century reporter Larry Stevens (Dick Powell) get the chance to read the future.
Larry is an ambitious young reporter who like almost all reporters wants to out scoop other reporters. An older man working at the newspaper named Pop tells Larry he can read the future and gives Larry a printed copy of the next day’s paper. The old man cautions that serious consequences can come about but Larry does not really heed the cautions too seriously. Larry feels he has landed the opportunity of a life time. He reads the things in the paper the night before and the next day he excitedly asks his boss to cover the story.
In the midst of everything he meets a young woman named Sylvia Smith (Linda Darnell). She and her Uncle Oscar (Jack Oakie) are performers outing on a fake clairvoyant act. Larry is very taken with Sylvia asking her out and even bringing her home even though she is reluctant at first. The next day he takes Sylvia to the opera where he knows a crime will happen. He reports the whole deal but then he is later questioned in connection with the crime.
The more Larry reads the next day’s paper the more he gets in trouble. One day he reads a notice in the paper that he has died! He quickly marries Sylvia and just as quickly gets into big trouble that threatens his life.
I really liked the film I liked the story and the acting was very good. Dick Powell is so good in anything he does. He had the perfect touch of drama and comedy. Linda Darnell I had never seen before in a film but I liked her. Jack Oakie ever since I saw him in The Great Dictator just cracks me up he was so funny.
My favorite scene in the film is when Sylvia has to wear Larry’s suit, hat, and shoes because her clothes are wet. Her keys are in her dress but the dress is at Larry’s so she has to climb through the window to get to her room. Everything she touches is noisy and sets a dog off barking. One of the ladies living in the same boarding house as she sees Sylvia climbing in the window but because she is in Larry’s clothes the lady things a man is climbing into Sylvia’s room and robbing her!! The scenes after that are so funny.
It Happened Tomorrow is very good. I liked the story of Larry innocently wanting to be a good reporter and kind of cheating his way through it and experiencing the consequences. It Happened Tomorrow is light, short, entertaining film with a nice story.
The moral of the film is to take life a day at the time which we should all do and not rush to know what tomorrow will bring.
“Such a nice young thing. Not a bit like an American.”
Going into The White Cliffs of Dover I was expecting the most sappy, over dramatic love story that was most likely going to be alright with the only saving grace being Irene Dunne in the lead role. Yes the film is very dramatic and romantic but it is so sentimental, happy, sad, and tragic.
The story of the film is told through a flashback of a woman who is working as a nurse during World War II named Susan Ashwood (Dunne). In 1914 before World War I started Susan along with her father Hiram Dunn (Frank Morgan) travel to England for vacation. As the ship is nearing the dock in London she can see the white cliffs of the island of Dover. Upon seeing the cliffs for the first time she cries she cannot believe the beauty that is before her eyes.
Susan has a fantastic time in London even though the whole time people keep commenting on how un-American her actions, speech, and mannerisms are. Her father is very stubborn and ignorant towards the British he cannot wait for their week in the city to be over so they can go home to their small American town. Before they are set to leave Susan is invited to a ball where the only way she can get in is to pretend she is an Australian cousin of someone she knows. At the party a young man named Sir John Ashwood comes up to her thinking she is of Australian nobility. As the party progresses and ends the two fall in love. John takes her through bits and pieces of London and Susan is totally taken with him and the city.
John and Susan eventually marry but not long after their marriage World War I breaks out and John must join his regiment. Susan and John’s mother wait on pins and needles to hear from him. The last time Susan sees John is when the wives of English soldiers are allowed to travel to France to see their husbands who have been away for more than two years. The reunion is happy but full of sadness not knowing what the future holds.
Susan kept saying that she wanted America to join the War so that it could end and John can come home. When the Americans finally do enter the War they march through London Susan holds up her son who at the time is only three months old and tells him that they are his people as well since he is part Yankee and that he has witnessed the greatest men of them all march through London and that they will bring his father home. Unfortunately the Americans join the fight too late, John dies for his country. Susan is so distraught she takes her son and promises that no matter what he will not fight in any army British or American that he will never have to sacrifice his life for what she sees as something so stupid.
John Jr. grows up and when he is still a young boy Susan wants to take him back to American. The young boy stops the trip when he innocently and passionately says that he wants to be like his father and fight for his country he is not scared to do so.
Back in the present Susan hears that there are men coming in from battle and waits to see if her son could possibly be one of the wounded. He is and the outcome is not good for him. As Susan stands with her son the Americans are marching in just as they did twenty-five years previous.
I cannot even describe to you how heartbreaking and amazing this film is. I was damn near crying so many times it was nuts. Irene Dunne is the reason why this film is so amazing. For the life of me I do not understand why she was not nominated and how she did not win an Academy Award. Dunne was a fabulous actress to begin with but in this film she was just utter perfection. I am so used to seeing her in her comedic roles that seeing her dramatic just blew me away. She was not over the top in any sense of the word. When watching Dunne in The White Cliffs of Dover you are not just watching an actress it is as if Susan Ashwood was a real caring and loving widow and mother. I will never ever stop being confused as to why she is not well known today and why she is so underrated. Irene Dunne is one of the best actresses ever.
The older John Ashwood is played by Alan Marshal who I have never seen in a film before but liked him so much it was so sad to see him go so soon. The young John Jr. is played by Roddy MacDowell and at the end by a young Peter Lawford. Seeing Lawford playing Dunne’s son seemed a bit odd but she was twenty-five years older than him. Frank Morgan will always be the Wizard from The Wizard of Oz but he is always a good time to see in other films. He was funny always screaming out how Americans were better than the British. Elizabeth Taylor has a small part in the film as a little girl who lives on the Ashwood land with her family and whom John Jr. regularly visits.
I cannot even pinpoint the best scene of the film because they are all so fantastic. I liked the scene when Susan has gone back to the hotel after taking John to the train to rejoin his regiment at the front. There is a bandstand outside the room and all the people outside start shouting and become all excited. American has entered the War and the band starts to play the Star Spangled Banner. The only thing I really did not like was the back and forth about the Americans and the Brits. I love the Brits too much and I think I become more upset if someone says something nasty about them than if someone says something nasty about Americans (I am such a good American right?).
At no point during The White Cliffs of Dover was I ever bored or wanted it to end. Let me tell you that with me that rarely happens when I watch any kind of movie. I can just gush forever and ever about how incredible this film is (even if it is one big shout of American propaganda) but just take it from me The White Cliffs of Dover is one of the best films ever made.
“Why is it that you sneer every time you refer to this country?”
Rarely is there a Hitchcock film that is not perfect. Some of his films have their slight misses, too much going on at the same time, and confusion but unfortunately Saboteur is one Hitchcock’s flat out misses.
Barry Kane (Robert Cummings) works in a plant manufacturing things for the government to be used in the war. There is a fire and Barry’s friend dies while trying to fight it. For some reason Barry is blamed for the fire and is now on the run across the country trying to clear his name. He has some clues and tries to piece those clues together. They lead him to a man named Tobin (Otto Krueger). Tobin is an evil man but he has a reputation as an upstanding citizen no one will ever realize or believe what illegal things he is up to.
Barry manages to get away from the police after they have been called to Tobin’s house by jumping into a river and evading the police. He comes across the house of a blind man. The blind man knows that Barry has handcuffs on but believes him innocent. The man’s niece Patricia (Priscilla Lane) is not so convinced. When her uncle has her take Barry to the locksmith to take the cuffs off she intends to go to the police. Barry foils her plans and she winds up coming with him on his name clearing journey.
Things begin to get pieced together and the danger becomes higher. By the time the two get to New York Barry and Patricia’s safety becomes uncertain.
Basically the film screams American patriotism and “American values.” I was so completely bored by the film I kind of lost interest by a certain point. As Hitchcock put it the plot was confusing because the characters were confused. Normally I would not mind that idea but I did because the plot was boring. Hitchcock himself said the actors were boring they were not the kind of actors he wanted: Robert Cummings had too much of a happy, calm face and Priscilla Lane was too familiar. To top things off the director was not at RKO Selznick had him loaned out to an independent producer at Universal Pictures where the only actors on hand were Cummings and Lane and the script was written in two weeks. Not one of Hitchcock’s better ideas he set out to make Saboteur as an American version of The 39 Steps.
Priscilla Lane and Robert Cummings were not bad actors. Hitchcock even said that Cummings was a very capable actor but he was just not suited for the film. He wanted Gary Cooper for Barry Kane but could not get him. If IMDB is true he also wanted Barbara Stanwyck… ugh what could have been with Cooper and Stanwyck in the leads!!! Lane is a good actress but like Cummings she just does not fit in a Hitchcock film. To make matters worse for me I just thought of her in Arsenic and Old Lace and I started to laugh. Even the villain was very miscast, I say he was miscast more than Cummings and Lane. Otto Krueger was a stock villain for Universal. He just looked silly in the role I laughed more than I was anxious with him.
When I think of a cast for a Hitchcock film I have come to expect actresses like Ingrid Bergman, Joan Fontaine, Grace Kelly and actors like Cary Grant and Gregory Peck. They are brand name classic actresses and actors. These are the type of people the director wanted and he even said this is part of the reason the film felt flat as well.
The only really Hitchcock scene in the whole film is at the end which the climax of the story where the characters are at the Statue of Liberty and the real saboteur is found. If you have ever seen North By Northwest where Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint are on Mount Rushmore the Statue of Liberty scene is like that
Saboteur is definitely not one of Hitchcock’s best films acting, story, and even direction wise. The ending just ends I actually thought there was something wrong the DVD player for a few seconds. As one IMDB reviewer posted about Saboteur said the film feels like a product of second- tier directing by a director in the Hitchcockian style than by the master himself. I could not have described the direction any better. It is a shame because the story has potential but nothing really works out for it.
Do not completely blow off seeing Saboteur as much as it does fall flat. The film does have its entertaining moments and it is a Hitchcock film and all his films should be seen.
Virgil found out the Emperor will be up at his hunting lodge for a while. His plan is to play the record player while the Emperor is in the woods thinking the man would like what he hears and want to buy one. Johanna and her father and dog are heading up to the lodge as well. Their car passes Virgil as he is walking. The two dogs attack each other yet again. Not long later Johanna’s dog has a nervous breakdown because of Buttons. A doctor tells her the only way the dog can get over her fear is if she confronts the dog that has scared her. Johanna finds Virgil staying at an inn in the village. Virgil has a talk with Buttons about being nice to the girl dog and to not let his pride get in the way with being nice to her. Buttons and Johanna’s dog become friends and Johanna falls in love with Virgil.
Break of Hearts sounds like a soppy romantic melodrama and it is. Charles Boyer is an orchestra conductor named Franz Roberti. He is a notorious playboy who can get any woman he wants and it is no secret that he does. At the home of a friend he meets a young woman named Constance Dane played by Katharine Hepburn. Constance is a musician herself and idolizes Franz. She tells him she has sent him numerous works she has composed but he rejected them. He likes how simple and sweet Constance is. In typical old Hollywood style it is not long before Franz proposes to Constance.
Constance and Franz are very happy together. They travel throughout Europe on their honeymoon until he is called back to begin rehearsals for a new show. Back no longer than a few weeks Franz is up to his old womanizing ways. Constance goes out with a friend of Franz’s to the Ritz and she finds out while sitting in the ladies room with the other woman that her husband is not faithful to her. That night Constance leaves Franz and both become lost without each other.
Of course in the end Hepburn and Boyer get back together and live happily ever after. Nothing shocking there.
Although this is not considered one of Katharine Hepburn’s greatest films and is quite forgettable I will say it was one of Hepburn’s better acted films. I thought she was perfect in Break of Hearts. Since RKO was having a hard time with Hepburn by this film and trying to find out what the audiences liked with her they stuck her in a romantic melodrama. Needless to say the film did not do well because she was still labeled “box office poison.” The role definitely did not suit Hepburn but I really liked her in it. I sometimes find Hepburn to be over the top and annoying but here she was excellent. She was calm, it felt like she was not trying to be the best actress ever she was just acting. This is where I can see why Katharine Hepburn is considered the best actress ever but I cannot as far as her other films (I recently read a book about the actress and I have some issues with her). I do not know how well I did explaining Hepburn’s acting but trust me she was excellent and is the main reason to sit through the film. I guess it comes down to her character not being the independent type she always played but a common girl who is awed by a man and her love and world revolve around him. It is something different than what we are used to seeing from her and I liked it. Charles Boyer was Charles Boyer. Franz is the type character and a role that he played over and over. I liked him paired with Katharine Hepburn though it was different and interesting.
There were several good scenes. Constance wanted to get a ticket to see Franz and his orchestra. The show was sold out but she heard them in rehearsal and snuck in. She is so inspired and awed by the performance. Franz hears her and gets to her before she runs out. Then in an apology he has the orchestra play something for her and when the arrangement is over they all stand up and bow to her. That night Franz takes her to his apartment for dinner. He asks her if it is the first time she is alone with a man in his apartment and some other things. The next night Franz is over her place and as she makes him a sandwich she asks mockingly the same things he had asked her.
Famed RKO costume designer Bernard Newman made Hepburn’s clothes for the film. Now if you have ever seen any of Ginger Rogers’s films with Fred Astaire you will know that Newman’s costumes are very whimsical and over the top at times and they perfectly suit Ginger she had the look and the figure for it and she was just glamorous. Katharine Hepburn was a twig and one of the most unglamorous women (but not ugly) in Hollywood. Her plain costumes at the beginning were perfect but once Constance married Franz and her wardrobe became elegant the costumes just completely took her over and became distracting. Some costumes in the rest of the film I admit were very nice on the actress but for the most part they were wicked because she was so skinny and as I said unglamorous. Just some of the costume choices I did like several of her hairstyles and many were unflattering as well.
Break of Hearts although a typical 1930s melodrama is not a bad film. It is only an hour and a half so it is tolerable and straight to the point.