Friday, December 25, 2015

Movie Review: ***^Beyond Tomorrow (aka Beyond Christmas) (1940)

Her is an old black and white movie which is very well done.  Three old business partners, George (Harry Carey), Alan (C. Aubrey Smith) and Michael (Charles Winninger), have invited people over for Christmas Eve dinner.  However their invited guest sends a last minute telegram saying they cannot make it.  George has a past where he was absolved of a crime.  George figures they still feel he is guilty and have declined dinner because of himself.  Michael convinces the others to play a game to get a dinner guest.  They will each throw a wallet out with $10 in each, and then see if anyone returns the wallet.  The wallets all include the name of the thrower.  If someone returns the wallet they will invite them to dinner.
One wallet is picked up, the $10 given to the butler as a gift and the wallet kept.  The other two however attract honest people.  A man, James (Richard Carlson) and a woman, Jean (Jean Parker) both single, are both convinced to stay for dinner.  From this starts a romance, with the three taking vicarious involvement.  The woman works at a children's hospital, and the three all show up for Christmas.  The romance is flourishing; until our three all die in a plane crash.  They continue to be involved but only as a Greek chorus as they are just ghosts.
James is quite the singer.  As their relationship with the three eccentric millionaires becomes known, he is invited to appear on the radio.  He goes as a chance to sing.  He is given the opportunity and it is his big break.  Arlene Terry, famous songstress takes an interest in him for her act.  James is wooed by her charms, and goes along even to the point of going away to the country.  In all this Jean is left behind.  Our ghosts, one by one are leaving us.  George is taken to the dark, and Alan to the light with his son.  Only Michael remains to fight the battle but there is little he can do.  James and Arlene are followed by a Arlene's drunken ex-lover.  The ex-lover goes into the restaurant where they are eating and shots them both.
When then see Michael and James, now as Spirits confronting each other.  James sees the grief Jean has at the thought of his death.  "Why should she cry for me?"  "Because she loves you Michael replies."  Then the Lord calls Michael home.  Michael pleads with the Lord that James be given another chance, and the Lord agrees.  As Michael heads to the light, he meets George.  George has been alone for sometime and doing some thinking, and in that has been repenting and forgiving and is now also prepared to head to the light.
I know I told most of the plot, but I didn't want to end on a sad light, and I would have had I not told the entire story.  Relationships are precious.  Not to be ignored for monetary or worldly gain.  I hope James learned his lesson and that Jean can forgive him.

No comments:

Post a Comment