Oliver Pease gets a dose of courage from his wife Martha and tricks the editor of the paper (where he writes lost pet notices) into assigning him the day's roving question. Martha suggests,... See full summary »
Oliver Pease gets a dose of courage from his wife Martha and tricks the editor of the paper (where he writes lost pet notices) into assigning him the day's roving question. Martha suggests, "Has a little child ever changed your life?" Oliver gets answers from two slow-talking musicians, an actress whose roles usually feature a sarong, and an itinerant cardsharp. In each case the "little child" is hardly innocent: in the first, a local auto mechanic's "baby" turns out to be fully developed as a woman and a musician; in the second, a spoiled child star learns kindness; in the third, the family of a lost brat doesn't want him returned. And Oliver, what becomes of him? Written by
Not the "rediscovered gem from the Golden Age of Cinema" as it is proclaimed on the Kino Video DVD case, but a curiosity nonetheless. It is an anthology movie with four different stories tied together by a young Burgess Meredith asking the question "How has a child influenced your life?" The most successful sequence (directed by the unbilled John Huston & George Stevens) involves James Stewart and Henry Fonda as a couple of down-on-their-luck musicians. Not only is it great to see these two real-life pals work together for the first time, but their chemistry & easy slapstick antics are quite funny. Seeing Henry Fonda playing the trumpet while gradually getting seasick, and taking Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer down with him, is worth the whole movie. I guess the copyright on O. Henry's "The Ransom of Red Chief" had expired as the Fred MacMurray, William Demerest sequence (years before they were teamed again on T.V.'s "My Three Sons") is a blatant and not very inspired rip-off.
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