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Beyond Tomorrow (1940)

aka Beyond Tomorrow

Written By:  Writer details not available
Details: 84 mins · English


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Small George Vale Melton
Small Michael O'Brien
No_movie_poster Josef - the butler
Small Madame Tanya
Small Arlene Terry
Small Phil Hubert
Small James Houston
Small Allan 'Chad' Chadwick
Small Jean Lawrence


No_movie_poster A. Edward Sutherland Director
No_movie_poster Lee Garmes Director
No_movie_poster Lee Garmes Production
No_movie_poster Otto Ludwig Editing


Engineers George Melton (Harry Carey) and Allan Chadwick (C. Aubrey Smith) work furiously to complete a design on time, even though it is Christmas Eve. Michael O'Brien (Charles Winninger), the third partner in the firm, arrives with presents for all and kindly lets their employees leave. The three old men then go home to the mansion they share with Madame Tanya (Maria Ouspenskaya), an elderly countess dispossessed by the Russian Revolution, for a dinner with prestigious guests.

When the guests cancel at the last minute, George is convinced it is because of his dark past. To relieve George's black mood, Michael comes up with an idea to obtain new guests for dinner. Each man throws out a wallet containing $10 and his business card into the street. George's is found by Arlene Terry (Helen Vinson), who merely gives the money to her driver and discards the wallet. However, the other two are returned by more considerate people: Texas cowboy James Houston (Richard Carlson) and teacher Jean Lawrence (Jean Parker). They stay for dinner and soon become good friends with the three men and Madame Tanya. James and Jean also fall in love with each other, delighting the three men.

When the engineers have to travel to another city on business, Madame Tanya begs Michael to take the train rather than an airplane. He assures her it is perfectly safe, but Madame Tanya's premonition proves tragically correct. The plane crashes in a storm, killing all three. When James and Jean come to announce that they are engaged, they receive the bad news. The ghosts of the three men return home, where they are dimly sensed by Madame Tanya.

It turns out that Michael had bequeathed some bonds to the young couple so they could afford to marry. The story is picked up by the press, and as a result, James is invited to be a guest on a radio show. This is the opportunity he has been waiting for to showcase his wonderful singing voice.

At the studio, he bumps into Arlene Terry, an established singing star. She wishes him well and is impressed by his performance. She had been wanting to replace her aging partner; she and her manager, Phil Hubert (Rod LaRocque), offer James a starring role in her new show. He accepts.

As he spends time with Arlene rehearsing, he becomes infatuated with her and neglects Jean, much to the distress of the ghosts, who are powerless to do anything. When Arlene's ex-husband bangs on her door, she has James leave by the back door, but not before persuading him to take a three day break from work with her in the country.

George is summoned to leave the world. Michael begs him to repent before it is too late, but George refuses to be a hypocrite and walks away amid thunder and lightning into the darkness. Soon it is Allan's turn. His son David (William Bakewell) comes to take him to Heaven to be reunited with his wife. When Michael is called, he refuses to leave James, though a voice tells him each person is summoned only once and that he will be doomed to roam the Earth forever if he turns it down.

When Arlene leaves her apartment to meet James, her ex-husband is waiting. He needs her help to get back on his feet. However, she coldly brushes him off. When Arlene and James drive away, he follows and shoots them when they stop for dinner. James dies on the operating table, and his ghost is greeted by Michael. Then Michael is summoned again (the voice explains that Michael's mother gave them no rest). Before he leaves, he pleads for a second chance for the young man. His wish is granted and James returns to life. Michael is reunited with a now-repentant George, and both are admitted into Heaven.