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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant alternative to the incessant showings of It's a Wonderful Life and all those moribund variations of A Christmas Carol
`Tis the season to become tired of endless showings of It's a Wonderful Life. One antidote is to watch O. Henry's Full House. Twentieth Century Fox took five stories by O. Henry, gave each to a different director and screenwriter and assigned a number of Fox's top stars to the project. The result? A movie made up of five charming, sometimes sentimental tales stuffed with...
Published on 26 Dec 2008 by C. O. DeRiemer

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3.0 out of 5 stars Charles Laughton and Anne Baxter
A good performance by Charles Laughton in the first sequence. A commendable performance by Richard Widmark as a gangster who gets his comeuppance in the second sequence. And Anne Baxter is always good delivering a sympathetic performance in the third sequence.
Published 6 months ago by Samuel Barber


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant alternative to the incessant showings of It's a Wonderful Life and all those moribund variations of A Christmas Carol, 26 Dec 2008
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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`Tis the season to become tired of endless showings of It's a Wonderful Life. One antidote is to watch O. Henry's Full House. Twentieth Century Fox took five stories by O. Henry, gave each to a different director and screenwriter and assigned a number of Fox's top stars to the project. The result? A movie made up of five charming, sometimes sentimental tales stuffed with turn-of-the-century Americana and gentle irony. We learn about human nature, good intentions, humor in adversity, hope, a bit of despair, and love that's far more important than money. We're left smiling and contented, with happy endings all around. Not bad at all. John Steinbeck gives the bridging on-screen narrative.

"The Cop and the Anthem" is directed by Henry Koster and features Charles Laughton, Marilyn Monroe and David Wayne. A down-on-his luck, sly and verbose old tramp is determined to be arrested so he can spend the wintery Christmas season in jail where it's warm and he'll be fed. His stratagems backfire, but kindness and his good intentions result in...

"The Clarion Call" is directed by Henry Hathaway and features Dale Robertson and Richard Widmark (doing his Tommy Udo shtick). A police detective and a crazed killer, acquaintances once, find out just who the smarter one is when it comes to repaying a...

"The Last Leaf" is directed by Jean Negulesco and features Anne Baxter, Jean Peters and Gregory Ratoff. A young woman who no longer wants to live believes she will die when the last leaf from a vine outside her bedroom window falls to the ground. A poor painter, ahead of his time, intervenes when he...

"The Ransom of Red Chief" is directed Howard Hawks and features Fred Allen and Oscar Levant. When two hapless confidence men decide to kidnap a young boy for ransom, they can't understand why the parents seem happy to let them keep the kid. Then they learn what they have on their hands and realize there's only one solution...

"The Gift of the Magi" is directed by Henry King and features Jeanne Crain and Farley Granger. This young couple are as poor as mice and love each other with joy. When they each make a sacrifice to ensure that the other will have a Christmas present, the irony is sweet and loving...

Sure, the movie is sentimental, but in a very nice way.

One of the pleasures of O. Henry's Full House is a chance to be reminded of Fred Allen. He's largely ancient history now, if he's remembered at all. In the Thirties and through the mid-Forties, he was one of the very best and most successful radio comedians America ever produced. Unlike Bob Hope and Jack Benny, his wit and his personality never made the bridge to movie or television success. Allen eventually was done in when radio discovered game shows after WWII and his audience migrated to a low common denominator. Allen was acerbic, inventive, very funny...and, week after week he wrote most of his own material. If you've ever heard his slightly nasal, questioning delivery you won't forget it. His autobiography, Treadmill to Oblivion, concentrates on his years in radio and what it was like grinding out wit every week and dealing with pigmy executives and humorless network censors. Fred Allen's Letters gives us a large sample of his witty, literate correspondence with all sorts of people.

The DVD video and audio transfers are just fine. There's a commentary track by Dr. Jenny Lind Porter, an O. Henry specialist. There are two short features about O. Henry and the William Sydney Porter (or O. Henry) Museum in Austin, Texas.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Head-and-shoulder above most Hollywood screen writing, 5 May 2011
No film of a story by O Henry is ever going to satisfy the fans of his writing. My father owned all of O Henry's collected short stories, many of them in first edition, which of course appeared originally in The New Yorker and other American newspapers and periodicals just after the turn of the 20th century. They were probably the first adult books I ever read, and I treasured every word and wanted to become a writer of short stories myself, which in a modest way I have. The stories work because the characters are rounded and likeable, their motivations convincing and transparent, and each story usually has a clever and unexpected ending. Also, O Henry wrote about ordinary people, which apart from Dickens had not really been done before. There was a saying at the beginning of the 20th century when he was writing that there were only 400 people worth knowing in New York City - 'the four hundred'. O Henry (real name William Sydney Porter) countered by calling one of his story collections 'The Four Million' - the total population of New York City at the time. He came to be known as 'the prophet of the century of the common man'.

In this collection, the characters have been simplified and robbed of a lot of their depth, and the squalor of the New York tenements in which most of the stories are set greatly sanitised. Nevertheless, the stories stand head-and-shoulder above most Hollywood screen writing and may well bring a tear to even the jaundiced eye of a twenty-first century viewer. The best stories on this DVD are the first one, 'The Cop and the Anthem' (where Marilyn Monroe puts in a cameo appearance as a hooker) and the third one, 'The Last Leaf', my personal favourite of O Henry's stories, where the tragedy and the triumph of the ending are both well realised. The final story, 'Gift of the Magi', is a little beyond the range of the script writers and the director (Walter Bullock) and falls a long way short of the pathos and poetry of the original. Nevertheless, this a highly entertaining five-story collection, linked by a narration from John Steinbeck (no less) and if you are an O Henry fan you won't want to be without it.

If you live in the UK you may encounter problems with the Region 1 (USA) coding of the DVD. Google will be able to help you with ways of solving this issue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class DVD, 3 May 2012
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Marcos Valenca "Taylor Fan" (Recife - PE - Brazil) - See all my reviews
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They did a great job restoring this film. The image is prestine. See Marilyn Monroe, Anne Baxter, Jeanne Crain, Farley Granger, Charles Laughton, Jean Peters and Richard Widmark.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Charles Laughton and Anne Baxter, 9 Jun 2014
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A good performance by Charles Laughton in the first sequence. A commendable performance by Richard Widmark as a gangster who gets his comeuppance in the second sequence. And Anne Baxter is always good delivering a sympathetic performance in the third sequence.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Charles Laughton is a must see., 25 Dec 2013
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This review is from: O'Henry's Full House [DVD] - Limited Edition [1952] (DVD)
This is a interesting movie. -You can say it's a child of it's time. You see it in glorious Black and White, and in this case color had been a bad choise.
All five stories by O'Henry are worth seeing, but it's the first two you remember for a long time. Henry Koster directed Laughton and David
Wayne in "The cop and the anthem" - How much Koster directed C.L. is hard to say, but not so much I think. Anyway, he owns the screen,
and when we for a short time see him together with Marilyn Monroe, you just relax and enjoy. This is a 5 star.
Second out is Henry Hathaway with "The clarion call" - A polis-story with a O.K. Dale Robertson - but the interesting point is Richard Widmark as the mad gangster. He makes a variation of his mad man in "Kiss of Death" from 1947 -also by Hathaway - and why not. That character you can see more than once. These two are worth the price alone of the DVD. You have three more stories as a bonus. Not as great, but OK. Then John Steinbeck also of course.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 24 Nov 2014
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Excellent copy and interesting different stories played out by many stars of that period
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 7 Oct 2014
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good old fashioned acting for good stories
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O' Henry DVD, 8 Sep 2009
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L. T. Chaffer "Teatro Corelli" (Beaumaris Anglesey) - See all my reviews
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O' Henry's full House A real GEM of A Film recommend it to any one a real 50s classic.
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O'Henry's Full House [DVD] - Limited Edition [1952]
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