Turn Back the Clock (1933)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  25 August 1933 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 262 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 6 critic

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 ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Mary Gimlet / Mary Wright
George Barbier ...
Pete Evans
Elvina Wright / Elvina Gimlet
C. Henry Gordon ...
Dave Holmes
Clara Blandick ...
Joe's Mother


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 <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 August 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Voltando ao Passado  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


MGM production number 689. See more »


President Woodrow Wilson's letter asking for Joe Gimlet's resignation misspells his last name as "Gimlett". See more »


Joe Gimlet: I got some brand new ideas about running a drug store. We ought to sell bathing caps, alarm clocks, and sandwiches.
Mr. Cradwell: You want to sell sandwiches in my pharmacy?
Joe Gimlet: I can make things hum around here!
Mr. Cradwell: Plenty of hum around here as it is.
See more »


Remade as Repeat Performance (1947) See more »


By the Light of the Silvery Moon
(1909) (uncredited)
Music by Gus Edwards
Lyrics by Edward Madden
Played on piano by an unidentified man and Sung by Larry Fine, Curly Howard and Moe Howard at the wedding party
See more »

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User Reviews

Not bad--but it should have been better.
15 September 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"Turn Back the Clock" is an unusual film for Lee Tracy. While he nearly always played a super-fast talking sharpie in his movies, here he plays a much more ordinary sort of guy. When the film begins, Joe (Tracy) is a hard-working guy but nothing more. When he meets an old friend who has struck it rich (Otto Kruger), Joe begins to think how his life had been if he'd just made a few different decisions. After all, he could have had the life his friend now has. Soon after this, Joe is struck by a car and ends up in the hospital. During the period in which he's unconscious, he imagines that he's back 20 years and he has his married life to do all over. While he loves the girl he eventually married, he now knows that if he'd just married another girl he could have been rich--so he does so and the film shows his life he could have had. Not too surprisingly, his new life turns out to be a lot less wonderful than he'd thought--and by the end, he's much like Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz"--thinking there's no place like home--and no wife like his old wife.

So is the picture any good? After all, it's not the usual sort of Tracy role. Well, I'd have to say that the film is only fair. While I loved the ending (Tracy's lines here were great) and the plot wasn't bad, I didn't like the way the film was occasionally written. Too often, Joe seems like a moron--and as he does things, he often does them dumbly--such as telling everyone about the future and saying things that just didn't seem very realistic (particularly on his wedding day). In fact, it's a very ordinary picture aside from one thing--the Three Stooges. Despite their spending almost their entire careers with Columbia Pictures, they (and their front man Ted Healy) were first brought to Hollywood by MGM--but the studio had no idea what to do with them. Here, instead of comedy, the trio are singers. Now they did a nice job--but it's also a very tiny part and you really need to pay attention to see Moe, Curly and Larry--especially since they do not sport their usual hairdos.

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