Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

BEYOND TOMORROW


BEYOND TOMORROW (1940). Director: A. Edward Sutherland.

Three elderly millionaires (Charles Winninger, Harry Carey, C. Aubrey Smith) get involved in the life of a handsome young singer, James (Richard Carlson), whom they meet on Christmas Eve, even after all three are killed in a plane crash. This rather silly, occasionally touching, movie presents the after-life as a misty limbo with voices calling you either up or down to you-know-where. There is a big difference between honest sentiment and sappiness, which this movie doesn't seem to realize. Jean Parker and Helen Vinson are the two women who get involved with Carlson. Frankly, it's irritating watching these ghosts trying to influence what a grown man should do, just as it's somewhat misogynous to suggest that the supposedly "bad" [or sexier] woman in the story is responsible for every terrible thing that happens. It's a pleasure to see Maria Ouspenskaya being warm, pleasant and grandmotherly instead of muttering gypsy curses.

Verdict: This is no It's a Wonderful Life but it has its moments, however rare. **.

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