Monday, March 18, 2013

It All Came True

Yet another movie I thought I'd blogged about in the past, but which a Blogger search claims I haven't, is It All Came True. TCM is running it tomorrow afternoon at 12:45 PM.

Humphrey Bogart only gets third billing in the movie, but he is more of the star than the two leads. Bogart plays Chips, a gangster who, like a lot of Hollywood's gangsters, tries to look respectable by running a nightclub. Needless to say, he's going to get involved in a crime, and it's that crime which will drive the plot forward. Specifically, it's a murder. But, Chips isn't that stupid: he did the deed with a gun registered to the club's pianist, Tommy Taylor (Jeffrey Lynn). Taylor's a struggling composer playing the piano to make ends meet, and now he's over a barrel. Since he could be implicated in the murder, Tommy is in a spot to be blackmailed by Chips, and Chips takes that opportunity, making Tommy find him a place to stay that the cops don't know about.

That place happens to be his mother's house, and a very interesting place it is. Mrs. Taylor (Jessie Busley) runs a boarding house for people trying to break in to the entertainment racket -- the sort of place you'd see in Stage Door, together with Mrs. Ryan (Una O'Connor), who also happens to be the mother of struggling singer Sarah (Ann Sheridan), who is Tommy's friend since childhood, and could become Mrs. Tommy Taylor if only the two of them could make a success of life. They're not the only ones struggling, though; the mothers' boarding house is in constant financial difficulty, mostly because the mothers are renting out rooms to old time entertainers who are no longer in fashion.

What happens next is something you might be able to guess, but also something that needs to be seen to be believed. Chips wants to be left alone so that nobody will recognize him; in fact, Sarah does know who he is but has her own reasons for not turning him in just yet. Chips is also eventually introduced to all the other residents of the house, and gives the mothers the idea that turning their place into a Gay Nineties-themed nightclub could be just the thing they need to make the money for the back taxes they owe. After all, the mothers have the talent right under their noses. All the good people will live happily ever after, and the criminals will get caught by the virtuous law enforcement, as demanded by the Production Code, at which point the title card reading "The End" can finally pop up.

It All Came True isn't your typical Humphrey Bogart gangster movie, in that it's more light-hearted than any of the others, what with all those quirky old-fashioned variety acts more or less around. The talented tenants are all played by character actors whom you've seen dozens of times before; once the Gay Nineties nightclub opens for the movie's finale, there are some real acts as well. The movie has an air of unreality because of that, and also because of those Production Code restraints that evetually require people to act in ways they wouldn't be motivated to do in real life. But It All Came True rises above that to be an entertaining little film. It may not be as great as The Petrified Forest or High Sierra, but it more than does its job of entertaining the viewer.

It All Came True has received a DVD release courtesy of the Warner Archive.

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