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W.S. Van Dyke
Joe and Mary run a tobacco store and are just scraping by. When old friend Ted comes into the store, they renew their friendship, even though Ted is now wealthy and married to Elvira, whom Joe could have married himself, and become the rich one. After a domestic squabble Joe is hit by a car, and when he wakes up he is 20 years younger and can rectify his error and marry Elvina and her money. He does, relives his life as a wealthy man who still remembers his 'other' life, and what happened during those years. In the end he realizes that he isn't as happy as he was formerly, and things come to a head when his 'new' life catches up with his old one. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Minor film about married couple Joe (Lee Tracy) and Mary (Mae Clarke) who run a partially successful cigar shop but one night they get into a heated argument about whether or not they should invest their life savings in the stock market. Joe gets upset because years earlier he could have become rich by investing but Mary wouldn't let him and the same thing seems to be happening. The husband leaves the house drunk and gets struck by a car and he gets his wish by getting to re-live the past twenty years. TURN BACK THE CLOCK has been called an early version of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and there's no question that this does share some connections with the Capra film but this here is still far from reaching a great level. I think the biggest problem I had with the film was that when Tracy goes back to re-live his life, he's well aware of everything that's going on and this allows him to make all the right decisions. I really didn't care about him knowing everything that was going to happen because he had already lived it because these scenes were often played for laughs and I didn't think the comedy worked. Still, this is a fairly entertaining fantasy and I liked how they threw in real events to tell the story including the stock market crash of 1929. Tracy is pretty good in the lead role, although his comedy bits aren't all that good. Clarke, best known for her work in FRANKENSTEIN, is good as the wife and Otto Kruger is very good in his scenes as the friend. The Three Stooges even have a small cameo. I did like the twist that happened towards the end of the movie with our main character and his alternate life. Fans of 30's cinema should enjoy this one even if it has some flaws.
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