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Gangway for Tomorrow (1943)

On the way to work, five defence workers contemplate their pasts and their own reasons for working.



(screen play), (based on an original story by)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lisette Rene
Mr. Wellington
Joe Dunham
Amelita Ward ...
Mary Jones, Miss America
William Terry ...
Bob Nolan
Fred Taylor
James Bell ...
Tom Burke
Charles Arnt ...
Jim Benson
Erford Gage ...
Col. Mueller
Michael St. Angel ...
Jim Johnson - Mechanic
Don Dillaway ...
Frank Danielson - Mechanic


On the way to work, five defence workers contemplate their pasts and their own reasons for working.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sensational Drama That X-rays the Secret Hearts of 5 "Ordinary" Men and Women!







Release Date:

3 November 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

An American Story  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During the Indianapolis 500 Joe races in, it is shown that most cars are using a "riding mechanic", as Joe does. The last year that occurred was the 1937 race. See more »


During the auto race, which Joe Dunham is supposedly leading, several rear projection shots show he is actually behind a number of other cars. See more »

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User Reviews

Anthology film from the pen of Arch Oboler
29 July 2015 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

1943's "Gangway for Tomorrow" is another anthology film from the war years, nowhere near as ambitious as Fox's "Tales of Manhattan" or Universal's "Flesh and Fantasy," just a tight little RKO 'B' that served its purpose then, and still resonates today. Scripted from the prolific pen of radio writer Arch Oboler, best remembered for the horror series LIGHTS OUT, whose career as a movie director (always scripting his own material) turned out such intriguing oddities as "Strange Holiday," "Bewitched," "Five," "Bwana Devil" (the first 3-D feature release), "The Twonky," and the notorious 1966 "The Bubble," later seen on television under the incredibly deceptive title "Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth" (also a 3-D release). Five strangers are driven to work building airplanes for the war effort, their driver sharing his innocent fantasies about what kind of lives they led before they wound up at the local defense plant, each character's backstory unfolding in individual segments. Driver Jim Benson (Charles Arnt) told his wife that Lisette Rene (Margo) was a descendant of Marie Antoinette, actually a former member of the French Resistance, barely escaping Paris with her life after her comrades are betrayed by one of their own. A flat tire finds Joe Dunham (Robert Ryan) in familiar territory, a former race car driver whose last victorious finish ended in a near fatal crash resulting in his failure to join his friends in the Air Force. Former prison warden Tom Burke (James Bell) continues to brood over the awful circumstances of how he was forced to execute his own brother, convicted of taking four innocent lives in a bank holdup, the news of which was enough of a shock to kill their mother. Benson's description of Mary Jones (Amelita Ward) as 'a pretty home girl' isn't far from the mark, except that her recent crowning as Miss America proved neither professionally nor personally rewarding (her neglected boyfriend ran off to war), so she's now dedicated to helping out by working at the plant. Last but certainly not least, we have legendary scene stealer John Carradine, whose sleepy Wellington was believed to be a former banker who tired of playing with finances to travel around; again not far from the truth, as he's really a vagrant whose journey to California aboard a train with fellow hobo Swallow (Alan Carney) finds them both arrested and put on trial for avoiding a war they claimed to know nothing about. The sentiments expressed by Harry Davenport's judge shine just as brightly today as they did then, a time when Americans were united, had a backbone and refused to quit, Wellington free to go his own way but now anxious to perform his patriotic duty (if it's not too taxing of course). All five are perfectly happy to have Benson's wife believe what her husband said about them, and accept her invitation for Sunday dinner. At 69 minutes, no segment runs on longer than it should, with Margo's opener the longest, Robert Ryan's the shortest (Wally Brown and Alan Carney, RKO's answer to Universal's Abbott and Costello, are cast in separate stories, not a team in this one). Carradine is naturally a constant delight, offering his second-to-none impersonation of John Barrymore, which he would essentially repeat in 1946's "Down Missouri Way," and in a 1985 episode of FAME, "Leroy and the Kid," still possessing 'the Divine Madness' at age 79.

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