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Tales of Manhattan (1942)

aka Tales of Manhattan

Directed By: 
Written By:  Writer details not available
Details: 118 mins · English

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Cast:

Small Paul Orman
Small Ethel Halloway
Small Diane
Small George
Small Charles Smith
Small Avery L. 'Larry' Browne
Small Luke
Small Esther
Small Rev. Lazarus
Small John Halloway
Small Luther - Orman's butler
Small Harry Wilson
Small Ellen - Diane's friend
Small Edgar - Wilson's butler
No_movie_poster 'Squirrel'
Small Elsa (Mrs Charles) Smith
Small Arturo Bellini - Symphony conductor
Small Williams
Small Joe - Mission Aid Society
Small Prof. Lyons
Small Burglar - Robber #1
Small -
Small

Crew:

No_movie_poster Julien Duvivier Director
No_movie_poster Sam Spiegel Production
No_movie_poster Boris Morros Production
No_movie_poster Gene Fowler Jr. Editing

Plot:

The stories follow a black formal tailcoat as it goes from owner to owner, in five otherwise unconnected stories.

The first is a love triangle between Charles Boyer, Thomas Mitchell, and Rita Hayworth. Boyer plays an actor who gives his finest performance when he's shot while wearing the jacket.

The second tale is a comic story featuring Ginger Rogers who finds a romantic love letter in her future husband's jacket. Her boyfriend (Cesar Romero) enlists his best man (Henry Fonda) to help bail him out. Things don't go as expected when Rogers falls in love with Fonda and dumps her boyfriend.

The third tale stars Charles Laughton. He plays a poor but brilliant musician, composer and conductor whose one big chance at fame and recognition is in jeopardy. While he attempts to conduct, the small jacket rips and the audience erupts with laughter. In a poignant moment the audience emphathises with him by removing their own coats and he triumphs.

The fourth story stars Edward G. Robinson as an alcoholic derelict who takes a last shot at life by borrowing the tailcoat to attend his 25th college reunion. The lawyer tries to convince his former classmates that he is successful, but one of his classmates (George Sanders) knew Robinson was disbarred for unethical behaviour as a lawyer. When one of the guests loses his wallet the group hold a mock trial where Robinson ultimately decides to admit that he is a derelict. The next morning his classmates come to his mission where he is offered a good job, and is back on the road to respectability.

A fifth story involves a thief (J. Carrol Naish) stealing the coat from a second-hand store and then committing a robbery at an illegal casino where no one is admitted unless wearing evening dress. When he attempts to escape by plane in an open cockpit, the jacket catches fire from sparks from the engine with a panicked Naish removing his burning jacket with the money still in the pockets and throwing it out of the plane. A poor African-American couple (Paul Robeson and Ethel Waters) in a deep South shanty community finds the jacket along with over $40,000. They take it to their minister (Eddie Anderson) who gives out the "money from heaven" to people so that they can buy what they prayed for. After distributing the cash, the minister asks loner Christopher (George Reed) what his wish was. He says he prayed for a scarecrow for the fields. They take the now practically shredded jacket and make a scarecrow out of it. The sequence features musical numbers by Paul Robeson and the Hall Johnson choir.

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