It Happened Tomorrow

Like a good number of European directors fleeing Fascist oppression, French director René Clair eventually ended up in Hollywood, where he found work making such lightweight science-fiction and fantasy films as the enormously popular I Married A Witch and It Happened Tomorrow, a charming 1944 release about an enterprising newspaper reporter who every night is given a newspaper detailing the next day's events. That reporter is played by the perpetually suave Dick Powell, who quickly uses his inside information to become his paper's top reporter. In blatantly moralistic Twilight Zone fashion, however, Powell soon begins to see his knowledge of the future as a double-edged sword, particularly when he receives a newspaper with a front-page story detailing his own violent demise. Along the way, he woos the pretty daughter (Linda Darnell) of a sham psychic (Jack Oakie) who is understandably suspicious of Powell's uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time. The film begins with Powell and Darnell's 50th wedding anniversary, and the rest of the film plays out as an elaborate flashback detailing the couple's eccentric courtship. It Happened Tomorrow is a minor film running a mere 84 minutes, but it's always engaging and brimming with a sort of old-fashioned, low-key charm. Powell and Darnell are both likable as the film's semi-star-crossed lovers, though the clearly middle-aged Powell was probably at least 10 years too old to be playing a cub reporter. Its supporting cast is similarly fine, particularly Edgar Kennedy as a suspicious detective and Oakie, who gets most of the biggest laughs as a comically sputtering psychic whose predictions—such as an imminent presidential victory for William Jennings Bryan—have a way of not coming true.

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