The Fox DVD release of their 1952 "O. Henry' Full House" is a gem in every way. Not only do we get a beautifully restored rendition of five of O. Henry's finest short stories, but we also get a wonderful set of special features that enrich our appreciation and understanding of the author. It starts with the enclosed insert that gives some fascinating information on one of America's pure-eminent storytellers. This insert is very well written and tells a great deal about William Sidney Porter, who took up the pen name of O. Henry. And the "goodies" continue with <more>
the DVD. Both the featurette "The Life and Writing of O. Henry and the commentary are in the capable hands of Dr. Jenny Lind Porter, Ph.D. I don't know if the Porter's are related, but she certainly knows a great deal about O. Henry -- and loves her subject. She is a delight to learn from. The featurette of "The O. Henry Museum" in Texas, is also a treat. There are dozens and dozens of stills from the film and on the set, as well as a nice look at the original Press Book that theatres used in selling the film. The BIG "Extra" are two treasures from the vault when 20th Century Fox was known as the studio of William Fox. Most of the silent films of the William Fox period no longer survive, so it is very special to find in very nice condition two O. Henry short stories from the year 1927! One is called "Girls" and the other "Man About Town". Each run a little under 20 minutes. These are two of thirteen silent O. Henry short stories turned into films by Fox during the silent era. Saddly they haven't been scored, but they do come with tints and are in nice condition. This DVD is a true treasure that is well worth adding to your collection.
The Bright New Indian Head Penny. Feel the time, its 1900. Ragtime (by wesprichard)
Perhaps I am getting too old, but this film grows in my eyes as the years pass. The old saying they don't make films like this anymore is set in granite here. The under 40 generations has perhaps heard of a few of the stars here, but each in his day and time has their moment in the sun. They made a moved called Ragtime a few years back, it never hit the spot, marked the era as well as this film did. 1890-1910, the United State from the small towns to big New York City. The more you know about history the more I think you can feel the verse and sense the style of this movie. Ragtime, 1900 <more>
in New York, the city of Teddy Roosevelt, The time of Ben Hecht and Ring Lardner.... The Clarion Call is to my mind, a classic that seems to ring out a sense of the era. The other critics think that Richard Widmarks over the top performance was a bit much. No way, he was playing a type, a person you might find in Guys and Dolls that at one time and day did exist. The feel of the day, the period of Yellow Journalism, the sense of honor and betrayal. all speak to me. I give the Clarion Call a big thumbs up. The Last Leaf and The Gift Of The Magi will leave romantics smiling or crying. Short films are not made like this anymore. Each of these stories is put to film by a master filmmaker and most people just need to sit back and move back to those days of yesteryear's. For a story to read, O'Henry will knock the sock off your average reader as he lived much of what was in each story. The Ransome of Red Chief and The Cop And The Anthem....Are each good casting and funny and ironic. Marilyn Monroe fans will want to watch this movie to see her at her most lovely. If you missed Oscar Levant or don't know about Fred Allen, here a time to pause and reflect. The time is 1900,Scott Joplins music is playing, Tin Pan Alley really exists...The coin of the realm is an Indian Head Penny and O'Henrys characters come alive in this classic movie. Too bad you don't get to see Alias Jimmy Valentine, or the Cisco Kid and his tales of Old California. but for the price of admission you can be taken back to yesteryear when the 20th century was new. American society is so different now, but ... if you turn off the lights... put this movie on, you too can start to better understand America. Marilyn, its time for your close up.........
A Trove Of Literary Treasures Brought To The Screen (by atlasmb)
Watching a film may not be the same as reading the book, but this anthology of O. Henry stories does a good job of capturing the author's talent for crafting a story, thanks to good direction and wonderful casting. Here are a few highlights:In "The Cop and the Anthem", the versatile and talented Charles Laughton brings nobility to his portrayal of a bum. Marilyn Monroe adds a touch of class.In "The Clarion Call", Richard Widmark's portrayal of a cocky criminal jumps off the screen. The story centers around the concept of honor--even among the less than <more>
honorable."The Last Leaf" deals with the humanity, sometimes hidden, that lies within all people. Surprisingly, the concept of artistic realism is elevated over expressionism, though a spiritual thread runs through the story.I read "The Ransom of Red Chief" as a boy and the memory of that story is still vivid for me. Here, O' Henry turns a dramatic story on its ear, producing comedic results. It's a fish out of water story about two Yankee conmen who think that uneducated Southerners are easy marks. Fred Allen and Oscar Levant are well matched in this classic."The Gift of the Magi" is perhaps O. Henry's best known story. This tale has Dickensian roots and celebrates the true spirit of Christmas. Jeanne Crain brightens this story with her beauty and sensitivity.The film is narrated by John Steinbeck, who helps unify the five parts into a tribute to O. Henry.
I first saw this movie on TV as a child in the 1960s, and never watched it again until now 2005 , but it's strange how many characters and even specific shots lingered in my mind all those years. This is a gem that has something for everyone: sentimentality, humor, pathos, and loads of good performances. "The Cop and the Anthem" is probably the most tightly written of them all, with subtle touches of humor throughout besides the most obvious gags . If I had to single out one performer who delighted me the most it would be David Wayne, doing a twitchy down-and-outer playing off <more>
of Laughton's haughty tramp especially just having seen him play a totally different character in ADAM'S RIB just a week ago .As an old thespian friend of mine would say, "The Last Leaf" could bring a tear to a glass eye. And in "Red Chief," Fred Allen and Oscar Levant make a strange but fun team. Not having seen Richard Widmark in the other movie mentioned in reviewer's comments, I could only think how much he reminded me of Frank Gorshin in various roles he played in the 60s. Watch this segment again and think "Frank." Your whole family will like this movie. Why doesn't someone bring it out nice and crispy clean on DVD?
"Full House" A Fulfilling Deck of A Film ***1/2 (by edwagreen)
Terrific 1952 film highlighting the famous writer's work. It certainly must have been a pleasure to be a contract player for 20th Century Fox at that time so that you could have a part in such a great film.The most poignant of the 5 vignettes shown was where Anne Baxter, a rejected woman, is succumbing to pneumonia and equates her situation to falling leaves. With her sister, Jean Peters at her side, she continues to fail as the leaves fall off. Gregory Ratoff is marvelous as the upstairs neighbor, Mr. Berman, whose paintings aren't appreciated as he paints out of the ordinary <more>
sequences. His final effort, a life-saver for Baxter, is memorable and so touching.2 segments provided comic relief. Charles Laughton is sensational as the hobo trying to get arrested so as to avoid the cold wintry weather on the streets. While in church he promises to mend his ways and look for work only to finally be arrested for vagrancy and sentenced to 90 days. Laughton, as versatile as ever, is aided by David Wayne. The second comedy is where Fred Allen and Oscar Levant kidnap a young boy only to get more than they bargained for in "Ransom of Red Chief." Both men are hilarious as they fall victim to the young menacing brat.The always excellent Richard Widmark almost reprises his role in 1947's "Kiss of Death." He again displays that sinister laugh and face in a segment with Dale Robertson, both men matching wits as friends. Robertson grew up as a cop and you can guess what Widmark has become.The film ends with the final segment of the meaning of the Christmas holiday with Jean Crain and Farley Granger.The film is so good because each story essentially deals with sacrifice in its own way. This is truly a classic to be remembered through the ages.
When I first saw this film some 45 years ago, I recognized Francis Ford in the last episode, "The Gift of the Magi," as the street corner Santa whom Jeanne Crain addresses as Mr. Schultz and inquires about his lumbago. He appears in three scenes, and despite the fact that his face is partially hidden by his beard, his bloated eyes and deep bronchial voice with that trademark Maine accent seem unmistakeably Fordian. Ford, older brother of legendary director John Ford, appeared periodically for Fox during this time, and I chalked this up as another one of his uncredited roles.Recently <more>
watching the film on DVD, I checked out IMDb's cast and saw perennial movie policeman Fred Kelsey credited as Santa. Kelsey, who made a career of playing cops, doesn't seem to be in the film in his traditional role in a movie that has numerous police parts.If that isn't Kelsey as Santa, then why is he billed in the film's credits? I suspect he's not in the film at all. The film underwent severe cutting after previews and elements of the prologue and the entire "Ransom of Red Chief" episode were eliminated, not to be reinstated until the film's TV premiere in the early 60's.I think there are problems with the film's opening credits. The first billed supporting player after the twelve stars is supposedly Joyce MacKenzie in the role of Hazel. Neither MacKenzie nor a character named Hazel appears in the current DVD version film either.One last point: Kelsey spent the 1940's and early 50's in Columbia shorts and is visible in uncredited bits in Warner films, not at Fox. Please check out the three Santa Claus scenes and come to your own conclusions as to who's playing Santa.
O'Henry's short stories are a joy to read. This master of the genre left behind a number of small gems that never seem to go out of style, as they are timeless. The author had an incredible eye to spot situations in which human beings are shown at a moment of crisis only to have fate intervene with ironic twists."O'Henry's Full House" offers five of his best works directed by five distinguished directors. Howard Hawks, Henry Hathaway, Henry Koster, Henry King and Jean Negulesco do an excellent job in bringing the five stories to the screen adapted by some of <more>
Hollywood's best writers of the time in which they were filmed. John Steinbeck does the introductions.The first story, "The Cop and the Anthem" presents us with Soapy, brilliantly played by Charles Laughton, as a poor homeless person in the middle of a crude winter in New York who wants to be taken to jail in the worst way. He goes to extremes to have him sent to prison, without much luck. David Wayne plays his pal Horace and Marilyn Monroe is seen briefly at the end.The second installment, "The Clarion Call" shows a police detective, Barney, and his adversary, Johnny, a man to whom he is tied by a loan that stands between them. Dale Robertson is Barney and an annoying Richard Widmark plays the bad guy. Unfortunaly, Mr. Widmark's performance full of silly laughter and tics ruined the story for this viewer.The third tale is "The Last Leaf". We have two sisters in the middle of a blizzard in Manhattan. Joanna, played by the fine Anne Baxter, who we see after an apparent breakup with her boyfriend, gets pneumonia as a result of her exposure to the elements. Her good sister Susan goes crazy trying to nurse Joanna to health. Enter the painter Behrman, who is the upstairs neighbor to the rescue. Behrman sells his painting in order to buy medicine and when Joanna in her feverish state believes the tree across the street full of dry leaves is an omen, because as the leaves keep falling, so are the chances for her to get well. Thanks to the caring painter, Joanna survives. Jean Peters plays the kind sister and the wonderful Ratoff is the painter.The fourth segment is the weakest. "The Ransosm of Red Chief" presents us two con men in Alabama kidnapping a young boy who is wiser and acts much older than what the two con men thought. Fred Allen and Oscar Levant play the kidnappers.The last, and perhaps the best realized story of the O'Henry's stories is the unforgettable "The Gift of the Magi", which is the equivalent to Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". As directed by Henry King and played wonderfully by a beautiful Jeanne Crain and the handsome Farley Granger, this is a story about love and sacrifice under the worst possible circumstances. Della and Jim, with their youth, are penniless, yet, they sacrifice whatever little each one has in order to give the other partner a small token as proof of their love.This is an immensely endearing film thanks to the legacy of O'Henry.
Five Wonderful Tales in the Beginning of the Twentieth Century (by claudio_carvalho)
"O. Henry's Full House" is a film divided in five segments telling five wonderful tales in the beginning of the Twentieth Century.1 "The Cop and the Anthem": the winter is coming and the homeless drifter Soapy Charles Laughton wants to go to jail for three months to get shelter and food. His partner Horace David Wayne suggests they look for shelter with the Salvation Army, but Soapy refuses. He forces many situations to be arrested but he is always forgiven. When he goes to the church, there is a miracle and Soapy decides to seek a job position. Will he <more>
succeed?Directed by Henry Koster, this segment tells an ironic story of a bum with top-notch performance of Charles Laughton and a cameo of Marilyn Monroe.2 "The Clarion Call": when a thief kills a man, the police investigators do not have any lead to follow. Police Sergeant Barney Woods Dale Robertson sees a pen that was found in the crime scene and he seeks out a man called Johnny Kernan Richard Widmark . He finds Johnny that invites Barney to drink with him and they go to his hotel room. Johnny recalls their youth, when they were friends but Barney tells that he must arrest him since he recognized the pen that belonged to Johnny. However the criminal recalls that Barney owes him $ 1,000 that Barney lost in a card game. Barney unsuccessfully tries to raise the money to quit the debt. He decides to tell to the Chief of Police but out of the blue, he sees the spotlight on "The Clarion Call" and and runs to the newspaper. What did he see?Directed by Henry Hathaway, this segment tells the story of an honest policeman that has a debt with a criminal that is wanted by the police. Richard Widmark is excellent in the usual role of a felon.3 "The Last Leaf": When the lover of the twenty-one year-old Joanna Goodwin Anne Baxter breaks up with her, she wanders on the snow and gets pneumonia. Her older sister Susan Goodwin Jean Peters finds that Joanna does not want to live anymore and is following the leaves that keep falling from a tree. Their upstairs neighbor, the painter Behrman Gregory Ratoff , tries to help the girls the best he can. Will he be able to save Joanna?Directed by Jean Negulesco, this is the most sensitive and touching segment, with a heartbreaking conclusion. Anne Baxter is very beautiful in the role of a young woman with broken heart.4 "The Ransom of Red Chief": the con men Sam 'Slick' Brown Fred Allen and Bill Peoria Oscar Levant flee to the countryside in their car and plot to kidnap the boy J.B. Dorset Lee Aaker to ask for ransom to his parents. But soon they find that the boy is a little devil.Directed by Howarks, the segment is a funny comedy about two confidence men that make a wrong move kidnapping an evil boy. Lee Aaker's character seems to be Dennis, the Menace, created in 1951.5 "The Gift of the Magi": In Christmas Eve, Della Jeanne Crain and her beloved husband Jim Farley Granger are penniless and in love with each other. Jim dreams on giving a tiara to Della since she has a wonderful hair and Della wants to give a chain to the pocket watch of Jim. On the Christmas night, they find a way to buy the gifts.Directed by Henry King, this segment is a delightful love story with an ironic and funny conclusion. My vote is eight.Title Brazil : "Páginas da Vida" "Pages of the Life"
O. Henry's Full House is an interesting experiment. Introduced by John Steinbeck, it features adaptations of five of O. Henry's literally dozens of stories. Two of them have a genuine feel for the early twentieth century New York the author knew so well: The Cop and the Anthem and The Clarion Call. The former features Charles Laughton as a tramp with big ideas, and offers Marilyn Monroe in a bizarre cameo; while the latter is a tough little crime story about two boyhood friends from Erie, Pennsylvania whose lives could scarcely have turned out more differently. Jean Negulesco <more>
sensitively directed the sentimental The Last Leaf, the most accomplished of the group. On the downside, The Gift Of the Magi is ruined by unsympathetic lead players; and the Howard Hawkes-directed Ransom Of Red Chief is a near-total disaster.A mixed bag, to say the least, the film was doubtless inspired by the success of the British series of movies adapted from Somerset Maugham's stories. This one isn't nearly as good, but is a good try. Had the producers stuck to dealing with O. Henry's more rugged, ironic New York tales the film might have worked out better, but it opted for heavy doses of sentiment and broad comedy instead. This is a pity, as O. Henry's influence on American literature and popular culture was enormous, and can be seen in many television anthology series, such as The Twilight Zone, and in dramatic shows such as The Naked City. In the first two stories in the film one can see much of the irony and love of simple humanity that must have inspired such later authors as Rod Serling.