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H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941)

2:41 | Trailer
A man who lived his life as he was was told he should, not as he would have chosen to, is brought out of his shell by a beautiful young woman.


King Vidor


John P. Marquand (novel), Elizabeth Hill (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Hedy Lamarr ... Marvin Myles
Robert Young ... Harry Pulham
Ruth Hussey ... Kay Motford
Charles Coburn ... Mr. Pulham Sr.
Van Heflin ... Bill King
Fay Holden ... Mrs. John Pulham
Bonita Granville ... Mary Pulham
Douglas Wood ... Mr. Bullard
Charles Halton ... Walter Kaufman
Leif Erickson ... Rodney 'Bo-Jo' Brown (as Leif Erikson)
Phil Brown ... Joe Bingham
David Clyde ... Hugh the Butler
Sara Haden ... Miss Rollo


Fortysomething, blue blooded Boston born and bred, Harvard educated businessman Harry Pulham leads a regimented, routinized life with his wife, the former Kay Motford, who he's known since childhood. Harry outwardly believes he is all the more happy because of the way his life is, which was somewhat predetermined as part of his upbringing. This day, he receives two telephone calls which make him examine his life. The first is from Bo-Jo Brown, a Harvard colleague who is heading a twenty-five year reunion committee, with Harry foisted into the job of writing attendee biographies, which is to include his own. The second is from Marvin Myles, a former work colleague from his time over twenty years ago at the J.T. Bullard Advertising Agency in New York City, that job which Harry got from his more liberally minded Harvard friend Bill King. The result of these two telephone calls makes Harry wonder if he is happy, if he is or ever was in love with Kay, and if he never was if he would have ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


MARVIN MYLES IS THE KIND OF A GIRL THAT MEN CAN'T FORGET (original 2x7 newspaper ad-all caps) See more »


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Although the film is based on John P. Marquand's novel of the same title, originally when it was serialized in McCall's magazine from September 1940 to January 1941 it was titled "Gone Tomorrow." Soon after, it sold over 200,000 copies in its first six months of publication in book form. See more »


The flashback scenes in a taxi take place in 1919, however, the footage through rear-projection through the back window of the cab clearly show late 1930s automobiles. See more »


Harry Moulton Pulham: [laying down on a sled] Get on and hold tight.
Marvin Myles: Now, don't go speed like Ethan Frome. I want to live!
See more »


Referenced in We Must Have Music (1941) See more »


Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland
Music by Leo Friedman
Played while the children dance at school
See more »

User Reviews

Look Back at Life
8 March 2007 | by MaleejandraSee all my reviews

Right from the beginning, one might mistake this film for a comedy. In fact, the artistic opening sequences make H. M. Pulham (Robert Young) out to be a rather eccentric man. But as the film goes on, we learn that his is a complex and likable man with a life relateable to anyone at anytime. He is notified of a Harvard class reunion and for the event, he must write a personal biography. Writing it turns out to be difficult, and we journey through memories in search of the ones to include.

As a young boy, Pulham was brought up in a highly educated and somewhat rigid environment. His mother (Fay Holden), father (Charles Coburn), and sister (Bonita Granville) loved him and accepted his friends willingly, especially Bill King (Van Heflin). They even arranged for a girl to be nearby at all times (Ruth Hussey); he even eventually married her. However, the one aspect of his life that was not planned was his love affair with an advertiser named Marvin (Hedy Lamarr). Thinking about her brings back all of the passion they had for each other, and he begins to wonder why they never ended up together when they were in love.

This movie is sentimental and entertaining. Each of the actors is excellent in his part, especially Lamarr who exercises a new part of her personality. In most of her films, she plays a seductive and somewhat distant woman. Here, she is warm and inviting, much more like an ideal wife and mother. One could easily imagine her sitting by the fire mending socks or cooking over a hot stove and all the while remaining radiantly beautiful.

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English | German

Release Date:

13 August 1942 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Sol de Outono See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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