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O. Henry's Full House (1952) Mon. 12/16


FredCDobbs
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8 PM Eastern time

 

A wonderful classic film with several episodes of short stories.

 

D: Henry Hathaway, Howard Hawks, Henry King, Henry Koster, Jean Negulesco.

 

Fred Allen, Anne Baxter, Charles Laughton, Marilyn Monroe, Gregory Ratoff, Jeanne Crain, Oscar Levant, Jean Peters, Richard Widmark, Farley Granger.

 

Five varying stories by O. Henry, introduced by John Steinbeck; cast better than script. "The Clarion Call,'' "Last Leaf,'' "Ransom of Red Chief,'' "Gift of the Magi,'' and "Cop and the Anthem.''

 

O._Henry%27s_Full_House_Poster.jpg

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O. Henry lovers think little of this movie. Indeed, a couple of Henry's classic stories aren't done too well. But a good yarn is a good yarn, and this movie might STILL spark interest in O. Henry's written work, and help it live even longer.

 

I've read these stories years before I ever saw the movie, and seeing them played out is always a bit of fun. But READING O. Henry is even more interesting.

 

There is even one story, I forget which, that takes place at a garden party somewhere in "uppercrust" Connecticut, attended by upper middle class teenagers. At one point of the story, which was written sometime before 1911, one upper class teen-age boy explains to an upper-class girl that he's combing his hair in effort "to look FLY"!

 

Everything old IS new again!

 

Sepiatone PS: For a short time, I even nicknamed my younger daughter "Red Chief" for obvious reasons. ;)

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Charles Laughton's performance is the stand out here. "The Last Leaf" may be the best story (I love Jean Peters in this), Fred Allen and Oscar Levant are a good comic pairing (and watch for Kathleen Freeman in that one), "the Gift of the Magi" is probably the best known story (redone in many, many variations). I'm afraid that "The Clarion Call " is the weak link, I'm as big a Richard Widmark fan as there is but I think he over does it in this one.

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I love the little twists at the end of the stories. I think I'll read a few too. It's not often you see an actor try to typecast himself but I suppose that's what they were looking for in Widmark. I can see him doing the same sthick as Wilmer the gunsel in Maltese Falcon.

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I have no doubt that Richard Widmark's character in "O'Henry's Full House" was meant to be spoofing his Tommy Udo character from "Kiss Of Death" . Since Widmark had been working hard to distance himself from the typecasting of the Udo character I have to guess that he was having some fun in temporarily reviving that same character. He really was hamming it up , I just wish he had not overdone it so much. He really was in sharp contrast to that "wooden" Dale Robertson character. Widmark should have played it more like the "Skip McCoy" he would soon do so well in "Pickup On South Street".

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> Fly, or super fly, was used heavily in the 70s. Is it back again!?

 

"Super Fly" in the '70's was a referrence to a high quality cocaine. The usage of "fly" in popular vernacular emerged in the '90's largely among African-American youth to mean positive re-enforcement. Such as, "He's lookin' FLY" to mean he's exceptionally sharply well dressed or groomed. Consequently, it meant the same thing to the rich white kids 100 years ago in O. Henry's story.

 

I just think that's funny.

 

Sepiatone

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