Happened Tomorrow makes an interesting companion piece
to director Rene Clair’s other whimsical fantasy, the better-known
(and superior) I Married a Witch. Like that film,
this is a winning mixture of the supernatural, comedy and romance.
Dick Powell plays ambitious reporter Larry Stevens, who finds
himself in the position that most journalists would kill for –
he’s handed a copy of tomorrow’s newspaper by kindly
old Pop Benson (John Philliber), who appears in the middle of
night and gives it to him on the street. But he warns that such
knowledge comes at a price. At first, this is being arrested as
a suspected accomplice, when Stevens smugly arrives at an Opera
House in time for the robbery predicted in the newspaper –
making it very clear to everyone that he knows exactly where,
when and how the robbery will occur. But things take a darker
turn two days later when he reads of his own death.
In many ways, this might seem to be fairly insubstantial stuff,
but here’s no denying its charm. With excellent performances
from Powell and Linda Darnell as the mind-reader’s assistant
that he meets and, in classic movie style, falls in love with
(and marries!) within three days, plus excellent support from
the likes of Edgar Kennedy as the put-upon cop and Jack Oakie
as his over-protective father-in-law, the film is a warmly entertaining,
rather sweet production. While critics may think that Clair’s
US films were nowhere near as impressive as his French movies,
I’d disagree – this and I Married a Witch
are both excellent comedic fantasy tales, and both with a bit
of an edge (in this case the realisation that knowing the future
is not necessarily the good thing you might expect) that avoids
tipping them into the world of the twee.
A long overdue DVD release, this comes highly recommended..
IT NOW (UK)
IT NOW (USA)