Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on April 6, 1940
Directed by Lewis Seiler
Written by Michael Fessier and Lawrence Kimble, from the novel by Louis Bromfield
Cast: Ann Sheridan, Jeffrey Lynn, Humphrey Bogart, Zasu Pitts, Una O’Connor, Jessie Busley, John Litel, Grant Mitchell, Felix Bressart, Charles Judels, Brandon Tynan, Howard Hickman, Lee Phelps
An offbeat combination of romance comedy, crime thriller, and musical extravaganza, It All Came True stars Ann Sheridan and Humphrey Bogart in their fifth of six on-screen pairings, and by far the most lighthearted of these collaborations. If you look hard enough, you can even see hints of Ball of Fire, That’s Entertainment, and Risky Business thrown in for good measure, as Bogart once again plays a crook with a mean streak, who softens when he gets involved with a household of senior citizens, and turns their residence into a fancy supper club.
A New York City boarding house, populated by a handful of sweet but eccentric seniors, is about to be foreclosed, and the tenants evicted. A piano player named Tommy (Jeffrey Lynn), who works for gangster Chips McGuire (Bogart) at a nightclub, is also the son of one of the tenants. When Chips kills a double-crossing co-worker, he takes it on the lam, and Tommy is blackmailed into taking him to the boarding house, where Chips hopes to lay low for a while. Meanwhile, the daughter of another tenant, Sarah Jane (Sheridan), a showgirl who aspires to be a singer, comes to the boarding house to visit, and rekindles her romance—and begins a musical partnership—with Tommy.
And that’s just the comedy and crime part. Chips is rapidly becoming bored hiding in his room all day and night, so when he hears the house is about to foreclose, he comes up with an idea: turn the place into a nightclub, which offers food, drink, and a show in the cozy setting of its 1800s-era decor. Reluctantly, the tenants agree to the plan, and the house is transformed into an exclusive club known as The Roaring 90s. And here’s where the musical aspect comes into play: on opening night, a handful of specialty acts perform several song-and-dance routines, which includes a big finale performed by the duo of Tommy and Sarah Jane, now partners in more than just music.
Sadly, it was here—just past the hour mark, when the new nightclub opened for business—that the movie came to a screeching halt, and just flat-out died. The wonderfully comedic moments between slick Bogart and the kooky but lovable tenants, the romantic sparring between Lynn and Sheridan, and the overall rom-com tone, were suddenly jettisoned in favor of vaudeville. And I mean that literally: the final thirty minutes consisted almost entirely of musical numbers, performed by vaudeville teams brought in specifically for these scenes! Who cares! At least the show wrapped up with a nice song by Sheridan and Lynn, but by then it was too late, and for me the damage had been done.
I was really liking that first hour, though. Bogart took his tough-guy persona down a notch and had a little fun as Chips, while Sheridan was her usual foxy self, and did quite well as the temperamental spitfire with a sense of humor and a coy romantic streak. And it was a hoot watching one of the tenants, The Great Boldini, perform his amateur magic act with his ‘stooge’ of a dog, Fanto; seeing the poodle enter a room on his hind legs was both hilarious and disturbing, and a definite highlight. Also hilarious, but I’m sure not intentionally, was Bogart once again sporting a goofy plural-noun first name, to go along with the Gloves, Rocks, and Bugs from his other gangster roles.
I wish I could give It All Came True a higher score, and a more enthusiastic recommendation, but that final half-hour really soured things for me, and forces me to drop my rating a bit. Still, I’d say it would be worth your while to tune in for that first hour, and watch Bogie play it for laughs amidst a household of oddballs and free spirits, along with the lovely Miss Sheridan, who I couldn’t take my eyes off whenever she was on-screen. If you’re a fan of either star, I’d say give this a look; at the very least, you’ll have Fanto to keep you company. (6/10)