Beyond Tomorrow (1940)

Article #406 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 4-25-2002
Posting date: 9-18-2002

Three eccentric old men find themselves alone at Christmas, and on a bet, they throw their wallets out in the street and plan to invite anyone who returns them in for Christmas. Two of the wallets are returned, and the two people (a man and a woman) who return them become romantically attached. Then the three men die in a plane accident and return as ghosts to watch over the couple.

Yes, this is pure Hollywood schmaltz at work here, and though there is a part of me that wants to discard the movie like a stinky sock and have a good laugh at its expense, there’s a part of me that would recognize my hypocrisy. In truth, I really enjoyed the movie for the most part, and a lot of it has to do with the great performances by Charles Winninger, C. Aubrey Smith and Harry Carey (as the three old men) and especially Maria Ouspenskaya as one of their servants; her scene on the discovery of their deaths is the work of a consummate actress indeed. These four thespians are the blood and soul of this movie; the interest level drops dramatically when the story veers away from them, as it does during the second half of the movie. Richard Carlson is on hand as the young Texan who returns one of the wallets, but he has one of the least interesting roles, and is saddled with a less than convincing Texas accent to further complicate matters, and the romantic tribulations that end up being tied to his singing career are by the book. Yes, the sap level is very high in this one, but it could have been quite intolerable indeed without the help of those fine character actors that are the real stars of the film.


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