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15 user 4 critic

On Our Merry Way (1948)

Three short stories revolving around the topic of the daily question posed by the roving reporter to the readers of a daily newspaper.

Writers:

Laurence Stallings (screenplay), Lou Breslow (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paulette Goddard ... Martha Pease
Burgess Meredith ... Oliver M. Pease
James Stewart ... Slim
Henry Fonda ... Lank
Harry James ... Himself (as Harry James)
Dorothy Lamour ... Gloria Manners
Victor Moore ... Ashton Carrington
Fred MacMurray ... Al
William Demarest ... Floyd
Hugh Herbert ... Eli Hobbs
Charles D. Brown Charles D. Brown ... Mr. Sadd
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Maxim
Betty Caldwell ... Cynthia Robbs
Dorothy Ford ... Lola Maxim
Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer ... Leopold 'Zoot' Wirtz (as Carl Switzer)
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's Hilarious,It's Lyrical--A Comedy Miracle (original print ad) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

June 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Miracle Can Happen See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Laughton played a minister in one sequence which, because of its dramatic tone in an otherwise frothy comedy, wound up on the cutting room floor. Laughton's segment was replaced with a parody of Dorothy Lamour's South Seas movie epics. Independent producer David O. Selznick offered to buy the film in order to issue the Laughton sequence as a short, scrapping the rest of the picture. Selznick's plan was rejected by producer Benedict Bogeaus and producer-star Burgess Meredith. See more »

Alternate Versions

The version released in Spain and always seen on both TV and DVD, in dubbed and subtitled versions (bearing the title card "A Miracle Can Happen"), includes the Charles Laughton episode but not the Dorothy Lamour one. See more »


Soundtracks

My Melancholy Baby
(uncredited)
Music by Ernie Burnett
Played by two trumpeters
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ho-Hum...
12 May 2006 | by nicholas-salernoSee all my reviews

Before I committed to buying the DVD of "On Our Merry Way," I got it from Netflix and happy I am that I did so, for it's not likely I'd ever want to watch it again. "On Our Merry Way" is an anthology film in the manner of "O. Henry's Full House," but while the latter has a no-nonsense framework with John Steinbeck introducing the episodes, "On Our Merry Way" uses the gimmick of Burgess Meredith talking directly to the camera every so often. It doesn't work; it seems more like a vanity project for Meredith and his then wife Paulette Goddard.

Nor do the stories work. They are shaggy dog stories that bore you long before they reach a conclusion. The Henry Fonda-James Stewart and Fred MacMurray-William Demarest episodes are simply not funny. "On Our Merry Way" is full of overacting (especially from Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer) and shtick (from Victor Moore and Hugh Herbert). Dorothy Lamour, on the other hand,comes off extremely well both as an addle-pated secretary and then with a song that satirizes her own career; for Lamour it's a triumph over inferior material.

John O'Hara is credited for one of the stories, O. Henry is not, even though his "The Ransom of Red Chief" serves as the basis for the MacMurray-Demarest episode; for comparison, watch the Fred Allen-Oscar Levant take on the same story in "O. Henry's Full House." It's only minimally better but it moves faster.

It's inconceivable to me that so many great directors, credited or un-, would produce such a mess.

One can't help be grateful to Kino for clearing the copyright problems which had long kept the film in limbo; after all, we do want to preserve the work of our great stars, no matter how bad. But once our curiosity is satisfied, "On Our Merry Way" becomes a shelve-it-and-forget-it film.

For a much better pairing of Meredith and Goddard, I'd recommend Jean Renoir's English-language version of "The Diary of a Chambermaid."


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