AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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It Happened Tomorrow
Director: René Clair (Dir)
Release Date:   25 Feb 1944
Production Date:   early Oct--mid-Dec 1943; addl scenes 24 Dec 1943
Duration (in mins):   84
Duration (in feet):   7,639
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Cast:   Dick Powell (Larry Stevens)  
    Linda Darnell (Sylvia Smith Stevens)  
    Jack Oakie (Oscar Cigolini)  
    Edgar Kennedy (Inspector Mulrooney)  
    John Philliber (Pop Benson)  
    Edward Brophy (Jake Schomberg)  
    George Cleveland (Mr. Gordon)  
    Sig Ruman (Mr. Bernstein)  
    Paul Guilfoyle (Shep)  
    George Chandler (Bob)  
    Eddie Acuff (Jim)  
    Marion Martin (Nurse)  
    Jack Gardner (Reporter)  
    Eddie Cole (Sweeney)  
    Robert Homans (Mulcahey)  
    Emma Dunn (Mrs. Keever)  
    Robert Dudley (Justice of the peace)  
    Ethel Griffies (Justice of the peace's wife)  
    Earle Hodgins (Man with watch)  
    Robert Emmett Keane (Stage manager)  
    James Conlin (Man at boardinghouse)  
    Dorothy Vaughn (Woman at boardinghouse)  
    Fern Emmett (Woman at boardinghouse)  
    Luis Alberni (Restaurant owner)  
    Mary Field (Cashier at restaurant)  
    Charles Halton (Doctor)  
    Stanley Andrews (Policeman)  
    Harry Hayden (Bartender)  
    Eileen Janssen (Great-granddaughter)  
    Patsy Nash (Great-granddaughter)  

Summary: On the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary, Larry and Sylvia Stevens argue about Larry's wish to publish his story about a miracle that occurred fifty years earlier: Near the end of the nineteenth century, Larry, an obituary writer on the Evening News , has just been promoted to reporter and brashly boasts that he would give ten years of his life in exchange for knowing tomorrow's news. Pop Benson, the paper's sage librarian, warns him that it can be dangerous to know the future. After leaving the office, Larry and several reporters see a poster promoting Oscar Cigolini, the fortune-teller, and his niece, Sylvia Smith, and decide to attend the show. Smitten, Larry invites the beautiful Sylvia to lunch the next day. Later that evening, as Larry passes the Evening News office, he hears Pop call his name. Stepping out of the shadows, Pop hands Larry a copy of the paper and then disappears into the night. Larry sticks the paper into his jacket pocket and forgets about it until the next morning when an unemployed friend borrows it to read the classified ads. Stunned to read about an unseasonal snowfall that is happening just at that moment, Larry sees a story about a robbery at the opera house that afternoon and realizes that the edition is forecasting the day's events. He then hurries to the paper's office to beg Gordon, his editor, to allow him to cover the concert. When Sylvia arrives for their lunch date, Larry invites her to join him at the concert. As they listen to the performance, three bandits rob the box office and Larry scurries back to the paper with his written account of the robbery. Gordon refuses to believe Larry's story until Inspector Mulrooney appears at the newspaper office to confirm the theft. When Mulrooney becomes suspicious of Larry's intimate knowledge of the holdup, Sylvia tries to protect him by claiming that she predicted the crime. After jailing Larry, Mulrooney accompanies Sylvia back to the theater and asks her for another prediction. To prove her psychic abilities, Sylvia foretells of a woman jumping to her death from a bridge spanning the river. Meanwhile, at the police station, Larry hears Pop calling to him from outside his cell window. After directing Larry to the river to save a woman's life, Pop reads him the next day's news about the bandits' arrest at the Union Bank. Larry is released after he informs the police that the bandits can be found at the Union Bank, and hurries to the river, arriving just after a woman has plunged into the water. Diving in after her, Larry finds Sylvia clinging to a boat, and she explains that she was trying to prove her credibility by making her prediction come true. After pulling her to shore, Larry takes the water-logged Sylvia to his apartment, lends her a dry suit of clothes and then escorts her home. Having left her keys behind, Sylvia sneaks in through an open window, and when her neighbors see the figure of a man in her room, they suspect that she has a lover and inform Cigolini. Cigolini bursts into his niece's room, and upon finding a man's suit hidden under the bed, assumes that Larry has just fled out the window. Larry, meanwhile, delivers the story of the bandits' capture to the Evening News . When he brags that he can foretell the future, the other reporters goad him into picking the winners at the race track the next day. After scouring the library for Pop, Larry finally finds him in the alley and begs him for one last paper. Confident of his impending wealth, Larry then goes to the theater to propose to Sylvia. Larry's proposal placates the angry Cigolini, who questions Larry's ability to support his niece. When Larry boasts that he will win $100,000 at the race track the next day, Cigolini insists on accompanying him there. That night, after scrutinizing the next day's race results on the back page of the paper, Larry is stunned to read the front page account of his death at the St. George Hotel at 6:25 the next evening. Distraught, Larry collapses and awakens to find himself in the hospital the next morning. Resolved to accept his fate, Larry marries Sylvia and then determines to leave her a rich widow by winning at the track. As horse after horse wins, Larry collects his winning from bookie Jake Schomberg but becomes more depressed, now certain that the day will end in his death. On the carriage ride back to town, Shep, a cohort of Schomberg's, snatches Larry's wallet and flees. Larry returns to the newspaper office to ask for Pop's advice, and there learns that Pop died three days earlier. When Larry glumly confides to Gordon that he expects to be sent to the St. George Hotel, Gordon insists that he follow his instincts and go there. Near the hotel, Larry spies Shep and fearlessly chases him across the rooftops. On the roof of the St. George Hotel, the two fall through the chimney and into the lobby where Shep pulls out a gun. When the police see a man brandishing a gun, they rush into the hotel, and Shep begins to fire at them. After Larry collapses in fear, the police shoot and kill Shep. Finding Larry's wallet in his pocket, they assume that Shep is the reporter and notify Gordon, who publishes the story of Larry's death on the front page. Upon regaining consciousness, Larry is so relieved to be alive that he doesn't care that his wallet is now empty. As it begins to pour outside, Sylvia predicts a long, happy future together and imagines their golden anniversary party. The newlyweds then walk out into the rain, using the edition of the Evening News as their umbrella and dreaming of their golden wedding anniversary. 

Production Company: Arnold Productions, Inc.  
Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.  
Director: René Clair (Dir)
  Henry Kesler (Asst dir)
Producer: Arnold Pressburger (Pres)
  T. W. Baumfeld (Assoc prod)
  Carley Harriman (Asst to prod)
Writer: Dudley Nichols (Scr and adpt)
  René Clair (Scr and adpt)
  Lord Dunsany (Based on originals by)
  Hugh Wedlock (Based on originals by)
  Howard Snyder (Based on originals by)
  Lewis R. Foster (and ideas of)
  Helene Fraenkel (Addl dial)
Photography: Archie Stout (Dir of photog)
  Guy Roe (Cam op)
Art Direction: Erno Metzner (Art dir)
Film Editor: Fred Pressburger (Ed)
Set Decoration: Emile Kuri (Set dressing)
Costumes: Renè Hubert (Cost)
Music: Robert Stolz (Mus comp and cond)
Sound: William Lynch (Sd)
  Jack Whitney (Sd dir)
Make Up: Ted Larson (Makeup)
  The House of Westmore (Cosmetics by)
Production Misc: Eugen Schufftan (Tech dir)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Arnold Productions, Inc. 7/4/1944 dd/mm/yyyy LP12609

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

Genre: Romantic comedy
Sub-Genre: Newspaper
Subjects (Major): Fortune-tellers
Subjects (Minor): Attempted suicide
  False accusations
  Justices of the peace
  Libraries and librarians
  Mistaken identity
  Police inspectors
  Wedding anniversaries

Note: According to news items in HR and NYT , Frank Capra purchased the original story on which this film is based from Hugh Wedlock and Howard Snyder. When Capra discovered that the story was remotely similiar to the one-act play The Jest of Haha Laba by Lord Dunsany, which was produced in London twenty years earlier, he purchased the rights to the play to avoid a plagiarism suit. After enlisting in the Army, however, Capra sold the rights to producer Arnold Pressburger. Intrigued by the story, René Clair approached Pressburger about directing the film, and the two then enlisted Dudley Nichols to help write the screenplay. Nichols and Clair decided to avoid all references to the war by setting the picture in the 1890s. Although HR news items list Ralph Linn, Edmund Cobb, Claire Whitney, Bud Jamison, Sam Adams, Frances Morris, Jean Wayne, Herbert Heyes, Pass Lenoir, Kay Linaker, William Forrest, Romaine Callender, Kate Herrington, Chick Collins, Howard Mitchell, Tom Quinn and Bruce Cameron's acrobatic troupe in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The film received Academy Award nominations in the Music (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) and Sound Recording categories. On 3 Jul 1944, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a radio adaptation of the story starring Don Ameche. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   25 Mar 1944.   
Daily Variety   20 Mar 44   p. 3.
Daily Variety   22 Mar 44   p. 1.
Film Daily   24 Mar 44   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Oct 43   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Nov 43   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Nov 43   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Nov 43   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Nov 43   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Nov 43   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Dec 43   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Dec 43   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Dec 43   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Mar 44   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   29 May 44   p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   25 Mar 44   p. 1813.
New York Times   16 Apr 1944.   
New York Times   29 May 44   p. 18.
Variety   22 Mar 44   p. 18.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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