Thursday, April 5, 2012

O. Henry's Full House (1952) "Cuatro páginas de la vida"

DIRECTOR Henry Hathaway, Howard Hawks, Henry King, Henry Koster, Jean Negulesco
Fred Allen, Anne Baxter, Jeanne Crain, Farley Granger, Charles Laughton, Oscar Levant, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Peters, Gregory Ratoff, Dale Robertson, David Wayne, Richard Widmark, Joyce Mackenzie, Lee Aaker

I'm amazed this film has never been put on video or DVD. If the people in the video department at Fox were smart they would release it every Christmas, since one of the short stories it includes is The Gift of the Magi. Another is the Cop and the Anthem, where Charles Laughton plays a tramp trying unsuccessfully to get himself arrested at Christmas so he can get a warm cell to sleep in. (Red Skelton used that story every Christmas for his Freddy the Freeloader character). As a kid I was a Warner Brothers fan, but this is the one Fox movie I never missed when it came on TV. O. Henry wrote great short stories with twist endings that influenced such TV anthology series as Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock presents. Included here is The Clarion Call, a nice tight little film noir with Richard Widmark virtually repeating his role from Kiss of Death. The Last Leaf is nice life affirming tearjerker. The Ransom of Red Chief has Fred Allen and Oscar Levant in a hilarious tale of two luckless kidnappers in a tale worthy of Mark Twain. Fox is sitting on a gold mine. Put it out on video.

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