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O. Henry's Full House

1952

NR CC

A dozen top stars (including Charles Laughton, Marilyn Monroe and Anne Baxter) and five famed directors (including Howard Hawks and Henry Koster) join forces to present filmed versions of the best stories of O. Henry, all narrated by John Steinbeck.

Starring:
Fred Allen, Anne Baxter
Runtime:
1 hour, 57 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Henry Hathaway, Howard Hawks, Henry King, Henry Koster, Jean Negulesco
Starring Fred Allen, Anne Baxter
Supporting actors Jeanne Crain, Farley Granger, Charles Laughton, Oscar Levant, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Peters, Gregory Ratoff, Dale Robertson, David Wayne, Richard Widmark, Joyce Mackenzie, Lee Aaker, Richard Rober, Fred Kelsey, Richard Garrick, John Steinbeck, Richard Allen, Phil Arnold
Studio 20th Century Fox
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
At long last one of my favorite films has finally made it to DVD and I can throw my TV copy VHS away. O Henry has always been a favorite writer of mine and it just so happens that he is buried right here in Asheville, North Carolina. If you visit his grave you will find coins on it in honor of THE GIFT OF THE MAGI. I remember first seeing this film on television back in the early 1960s. I was especially taken by the story of THE LAST LEAF (and still am today). It spurred me on to find and read other O Henry short stories where I then discovered that he had written well over two hundred of them!

For this 1952 omnibus film 5 stories were chosen (THE COP AND THE ANTHEM, THE CLARION CALL, THE LAST LEAF, THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF, and of course MAGI) along with 5 different directors (Howard Hawks, Henry Hathaway, Henry King, Henry Koster, Jean Negulesco) and a top notch cast (Charles Laughton, Richard Widmark, Anne Baxter, Fred Allen, Jeanne Crain and a young Marilyn Monroe). To top it all off 20th Century Fox got author John Steinbeck to introduce the stories. As is often the case with anthology films the stories are a mixed bag with ANTHEM, LEAF, and MAGI being first rate while THE CLARION CALL and THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF miss the mark due to lack of subtlety in direction and in some of the performances (RED CHIEF was cut after the premiere but restored for TV showings).

Nevertheless this release is a 5 star effort all the way thanks to a beautifully restored print and a slew of informative extras including two silent shorts, a trip to the O. Henry Museum in Austin, Texas and no less than a recording of O Henry himself done in the mid 1900s (he died in 1910). An excellent example of the old studio system school of filmmaking at its best and a great incentive to check out the original stories which had to be altered and expanded for the movie (ie. THE LAST LEAF is only 3 pages long in a full size edition).
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Format: DVD
These 5 stories are based on O Henry's short stories about the lives of the average human being. Very heartwarming and insightful. Most have a "message" about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. Well acted and well written. Funny and poignant. My favorite is "Gift of the Magi" and the true meaning of love. Best if viewed with your family.
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O.Henry will always be remembered for his endearing short stories with a surprising twist at the end. Just as important, his characters were real people the common man could identify with. The average Joe, the man-on-the-street, the struggling homemaker---these were the memorable people O.Henry chose to write about and they made a lasting impression on anyone who ever read one of his stories. As O.Henry himself once said, "There are stories in everything. I've got some of my best yarns from park benches, lampposts, and newspaper stands."

Rather than take one story and pad it out into a two-hour movie, Hollywood made the wise decision of selecting five of his stories and stringing them together for one movie. The idea worked and was enhanced by starring some of the most famous actors of the day in each story. Another bonus is that celebrated writer John Steinbeck appears at the beginning of each story with a helpful introduction.

"The Gift of the Magi" from his collection The Four Million is perhaps his most widely read story and is arguably the crowning jewel of this video collection as well. Jeanne Crain and Farley Granger portray the young married couple short on cash but long on love who each desire to give the other a perfect Christmas present.

"The Cop and the Anthem" from the same collection stars Charles Laughton as Soapy, an elegant hobo who decides that the best way to stay warm in the winter is to get arrested and have a warm bed and three square meals a day in the city jail. David Wayne accompanies him on his attempts to get arrested and a sultry streetwalker portrayed by the legendary Marilyn Monroe adds spice to the escapade.
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Not mentioned anywhere else in the description and cast, is that the introduction to each story by John Steinbeck. He didn't do many appearances on film, so this is a special surprise and pleasure.
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`Tis the season to become tired of endless showings of It's a Wonderful Life. One antidote is to watch O. Henry's Full House. Twentieth Century Fox took five stories by O. Henry, gave each to a different director and screenwriter and assigned a number of Fox's top stars to the project. The result? A movie made up of five charming, sometimes sentimental tales stuffed with turn-of-the-century Americana and gentle irony. We learn about human nature, good intentions, humor in adversity, hope, a bit of despair, and love that's far more important than money. We're left smiling and contented, with happy endings all around. Not bad at all. John Steinbeck gives the bridging on-screen narrative.

"The Cop and the Anthem" is directed by Henry Koster and features Charles Laughton, Marilyn Monroe and David Wayne. A down-on-his luck, sly and verbose old tramp is determined to be arrested so he can spend the wintery Christmas season in jail where it's warm and he'll be fed. His stratagems backfire, but kindness and his good intentions result in...

"The Clarion Call" is directed by Henry Hathaway and features Dale Robertson and Richard Widmark (doing his Tommy Udo shtick). A police detective and a crazed killer, acquaintances once, find out just who the smarter one is when it comes to repaying a...

"The Last Leaf" is directed by Jean Negulesco and features Anne Baxter, Jean Peters and Gregory Ratoff. A young woman who no longer wants to live believes she will die when the last leaf from a vine outside her bedroom window falls to the ground. A poor painter, ahead of his time, intervenes when he...

"The Ransom of Red Chief" is directed by Howard Hawks and features Fred Allen and Oscar Levant.
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