on 27 December 2008
Larry Stevens (Dick Powell) is a reporter who is mysteriously given the following day's newspapers by Pop Benson (John Philliber). At the same time, he begins to date Sylvia (Linda Darnell) who works as part of a stage act with Cigolini (Jack Oakie). Larry and Sylvia turn up to events that are yet to happen. What happens when Larry reads about his own death....?..
The film has a good story and Dick Powell is funny as the reporter who knows it all. There are some funny scenes, eg, at the racetrack where he predicts all the winners, and when he is resigned to his own death and just has to accept it. Jack Oakie can be generally irritating but he is not so bad in this film. The cast all do well and the film is a slice of fun with a couple of twists at the end.
on 19 April 2013
Give me Fantasy over Sci-Fi every time and this is Fantasy.. Dick Powell is a newspaper reporter in late 19th century gas lit America..He's ambitious and always looking for that special scoop to make his name.One day in the news chat room he wishes,in a kind of frivolous way,that it would be great to know the news before it happens.That's the story.A mysterious old man who also works in the building grants him that power in the form of the next days newspaper,but he advises him against using it...However he ignores the advice and finds he can pick the next days winners at the race track ,and knows where the next big crimes will happen, thus scooping all the other papers. But there is a sting in the tail. Be very careful what you wish for...You could read something that could frighten you to death.... One of my favourite Fantasy films is The Bishop's Wife,I play that every Christmas and even in-between! It's not quite up there with that,but if you like Fantasy you'll like this.The good news is you won't need a special DVD player to watch it..By the way,what a beautiful woman Linda Darnell was, but I never realized until I saw her next to Dick Powell how petite she was..It's B/W and runs for 84mins with good sound and picture.....Good oldie worth watching..
Pops Benson (John Philliber) had wise words for young reporter Larry Stephens (Dick Powell), if only Stephens had listened. "There's nothing as dead as yesterday's news," Larry had said to Pops, the aging librarian of the New York newspaper they both worked for. "You have no imagination, young man," Pops replied. "News is what happens. What's the difference if it happens 50 years ago or tomorrow?" But Larry realizes what it would mean if he could know the future, even if it were just 24 hours ahead. He could write his own ticket as a reporter. Pops cautions him. "It's no good to know the future. We've all got to die someday...but if we knew the day, even if it was 20 years off...my boy, every day of your life would be poisoned."
Late that evening, walking by the closed newspaper offices, Larry meets Pops again. And Pops hands him a copy of their newspaper and tells him not to lose it. The next morning Larry realizes it's today's paper, which isn't due to be printed for several hours. Larry finds himself on a rollercoaster...writing up a crime only he knows is going to happen, becoming a hero to his boss, meeting the love of his life, Sylvia Smith (Linda Darnell), and her blustering uncle, Oscar Smith (Jack Oakie), aka The Great Giglioni, who have a phony psychic act. He also becomes a police suspect because he seems to know too much about crimes just happening. Then Pop appears again, late at night, and gives him another paper. He races to the river to save Sylvia in a good hearted scheme to help her uncle. He makes a fortune at the race track. And he comes across a story on page one: Ace reporter Larry Stephens is shot to death at the St. George Hotel. Everything in the two newspapers Pops has given him have turned out to be true. There's no reason to think his death won't turn out to be true, too.
Well, bear in mind that this is a turn-of-the-century romantic fantasy by one of the great light romantic directors, Rene Clair. The whole story is a clever, charming fable, expertly directed by Clair and acted with assurance by Powell. There's no doubt in the world that the ending will be happy, not the least because the story starts with the 50th wedding anniversary party being held for Larry and Sylvia Stephens by their many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Only then does the movie slip back in time. Clair doesn't waste a minute reflecting on fate; there's just the set up with what Pops tells Larry. Be careful what you wish for, Clair is saying, and he shows the consequences with humor and warmth.
Dick Powell may have been a bit too old for the part of the young, eager reporter, but he carries off the role with confidence and style. He was an expert light comedian. Watch how he reacts to reading the news of his death. This same year, 1944, saw his emergence as a tough guy, playing Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet. It was a part he had to fight for. I've always thought Powell was a watchable, interesting actor. Even with Jack Oakie's comic blustering, Powell has no difficulty dominating the movie.
The film looks great. It was restored and remastered as part of the UCLA Film Archive. There are no extras.
I saw this film as a child and it made enough impression on me to want to own it on DVD. Having watched it again as an adult I found that the story is still intriguing but the humour has not aged well.
The plot concerns Larry Stevens, played by Dick Powell, who yearns to know what the future might bring. He is warned that knowing would not necessarily be good for him. When he is given tomorrow's newspaper, events start to unfold to prove the point. The first paper enables him to scoop an exclusive story but people suspect his involvement. The second sees him apparently saving the life of woman who jumps into the river. The third predicts his own death.
As the film progresses it moves from the interesting concept into an increasing amount of slapstick humour and this is where more sophisticated modern-day audiences will struggle. So, for me, the second half of the film now drags a little. But it is worth remembering that this film was made at a grim time when simple, make-me-laugh humour was very much the order of the day. It is therefore very much a product of its time.
Dick Powell, who was a class actor, is an imposing lead and dominates each scene in which he appears. The quality around him is variable.
The transcription to DVD has been done well: the black and white picture is sharp and the sound is clear. In some scenes there is the almost inevitable vertical lining, but this is not intrusive. No bonus material is supplied.
It was an enjoyable trip down memory lane to see this again, and I'm glad I did, but it's not a film that I see myself watching over and over again. It was made to cheer people up during dark times: I'm sure it did its job well. An interesting story. Great in its day: three stars today is fair, I think.