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The Hidden Master (1940)

 |  Short  |  20 April 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 30 users  
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Shows how important luck can be in a person's life.



(screenplay) (as Doane Hoag)
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Title: The Hidden Master (1940)

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Complete credited cast:
John Nesbitt ...
Himself - Narrator (voice)


This telling of life's passing parade focuses on the theme of luck as told in three true stories. In the first story which takes place in 1744, a young man working for the British East India Company is depressed about his lot with the company. He is stuck with a clerical job, rather than be assigned to military action as he had wanted. He contemplates suicide. If he is successful, he would miss the opportunity to do for the company what he wanted. Luck intervening in what would end up being those failed suicide attempts would lead to a great military life. In the second story, Dr. Wilhelm Röntgen, on November 8, 1895, is working in his lab when an old piece of chemical cardboard on his shelf falls next to an illuminated Leonard vacuum tube. This several million to one accident would lead to one of the most important discoveries within medical history. In the final story, average joe Harry Jones feels that he doesn't get any breaks in life. A wrong number telephone call he receives in ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

20 April 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Passing Parade No. 13: The Hidden Master  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Followed by Out of Darkness (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

Three brief tales of overwhelming odds changing lives...
11 July 2008 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Luck is the hidden master, according to this John Nesbitt "Passing Parade" segment from MGM.

In 1744, suffering from melancholia, Robert Clive (PETER CUSHING) of India attempts to shoot himself. The gun misfires a couple of times with the odds being 400 to 1 that it would. A timely interruption from a fellow British patriot informs him that his service in India is over and he's free to return to his normal life.

In 1895, Dr. Renkin accidentally discovers the X-ray process when some ingredients he was mixing falls off a shelf and lands on cardboard not far from a vacuum tube. Once again, sheer luck and the odds at it happening are enormous.

Then Harry Jones, down on his luck with a wife and two children to feed on his $21 a week salary, gets a phone call in the middle of the night from a drunken bar patron. After hanging up on the intruder who woke him out of a sound sleep, he discovers that a gas leak has put his wife and children into a coma and is able to get to the phone to make an emergency call before collapsing himself from the fumes. Fortunately, the operator calls the police.

The chance that the call from a man dialing a wrong number would save his life was against all odds. He can now regard himself as "the luckiest man alive".

And that's the thrust of this brief nine minute short.

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