Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Festive cheer 3

O HENRY’S FULL HOUSE – This 1952 20th Century Fox compendium of 5 O Henry stories has never surfaced anywhere during my years here in England, so when I saw it on Amazon I just had to get it, and its quite nice if nothing very special. Odd for a film about one writer’s work it is introduced by another: the much better known John Steinbeck (whom I had not seen on film before) who links the stories. It has that early ‘50s Fox look and a lot of those young Fox players of the time, but the most interesting sequence is a practically wordless one of hobo Charles Laughton trying to get back into jail for the winter – Marilyn Monroe appears for maybe a minute as the streetwalker he insults, and its just great seeing them together.
Oddly enough the story directed by Howard Hawks works least of all and is rather bizarre - but Fox stalwarts Henry Hathaway, Jean Negulseco, Henrys Koster and King direct the other episodes: cop Dale Robertson having to arrest old school pal Richard Widmark (guying his tough guy image) is a lively diversion; poor newly weds Jeanne Crain and Farley Granger trying to afford Christmas presents is nicely touching; and sisters Anne Baxter and Jean Peters play in an amusing anecdote with Gregory Ratoff.
Its a nice little diversion for this time of year. 

3 comments:

  1. This is a variable collection of O. Henry's stories but overall it's enjoyable.

    I didn't mind the Laughton/Monroe vignette except that it went on a trifle too long. The one that fell flat for me was The Ransom of Red Chief, it was just missing something.

    However I LOVED The Last Leaf segment finding it delicate and lovely with both Jean Peters and Gregory Ratoff giving the film's best performances.

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    1. Welcome back, we have not seen you here for a while.

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  2. There's a chance you're qualified to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

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