O. Henry's Full House

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John Steinbeck, looking and sounding disconcertingly like Ward Bond, hosts five tales by O Henry, of which only Hathaway's segment ('The Clarion Call') is devoid of interest. Negulesco and King both contribute sentimental valentines ('The Last Leaf' and 'The Gift of the Magi') in which love transcends the miseries of illness and poverty respectively. Hawks' 'The Ransom of Red Chief' is about two child-kidnappers who end up paying their victim's dad to take the little horror off their hands. It's noteworthy for the casting of the two most mournful comics of the day as a double act; and for the fact that the adventures of such unprofessional no-hopers interested someone like Hawks in the first place. At the front of the movie, Laughton characteristically generates his own atmosphere of benign fantasy, playing a bum trying to get himself jailed for the winter. This episode ('The Cop and the Anthem') also includes an encounter between two sacred monsters - Laughton's hobo and Monroe's hooker meeting on a windy street corner for a brief demonstration of the virtues of kindliness and respect.

Release details

Duration: 117 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Henry Koster, Henry Hathaway, Jean Negulesco, Howard Hawks, Henry King
Screenwriter: 'The Last Leaf' Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts, Nunnally Johnson, Howard Hawks, Lamar Trotti, Richard L Breen, Walter Bullock
Cast: Charles Laughton
David Wayne
Marilyn Monroe
Richard Widmark
Dale Robertson
Joyce MacKenzie
Anne Baxter
Jean Peters
Gregory Ratoff
Fred Allen
Oscar Levant
Lee Aaker
Kathleen Freeman
Jeanne Crain
Farley Granger
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