HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
   
 
Newest Articles
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Time of Your Life, The Thirty People Walk Into A Bar...
Year: 1948
Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: James Cagney, William Bendix, Wayne Morris, Jeanne Cagney, Broderick Crawford, Ward Bond, James Barton, Paul Draper, Gale Page, Jimmy Lydon, Richard Erdman, Pedro de Cordoba, Reginald Beane, John 'Skins' Miller, Tom Powers, Natalie Schafer, Howard Freeman
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: In Nick's Bar, the owner (William Bendix) prides himself on welcoming anyone who wants to venture inside to slake their thirst and maybe strike up a conversation, though he remains a gruff type who may not necessarily make that welcome with open arms. Among his regulars is Joe (James Cagney), who holds court at one of the tables and seems to make his living by betting on the horses, since his instinct for a winner is second to none. But today will be more eventful than most other days, starting with a brittle woman, Kitty (Jeanne Cagney), who wanders in and is on the defensive whenever anyone speaks to her. But Joe's gofer Tom (Wayne Morris) takes a liking to her...

William Saroyan was the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Time of Your Life, and one of the most famous playwrights around at the time, despite bringing out wildly differing reactions in critics and audiences alike. An Armenian who had fled the Turkish-led genocide in his homeland, something that understandably remained a sore point for him ever after, he settled into a style that some found the epitome of homespun wisdom wrapped up in an American flag, yet grated on others as pure hokum and baloney for the easily pleased. Saroyan may have had the last laugh, as his plays were staged and adapted well after his passing, but the haters are undeniably hard to ignore.

In this case, a film version was an obvious choice and James Cagney snapped up the rights to take the play to the big screen almost ten years after it had been a hit, in a period for the star where he was keen to escape his gangster image. That he would return to that gangster image the following year with White Heat, to massive acclaim and a revival of interest in his work, perhaps indicates just how well his endeavours to prove himself a proper thespian went, but nevertheless he still commands a legion of fans who are just as likely to take a chance on a decidedly minor effort such as The Time of Your Life as they are his most popular works. You could, at least, tell something here.

The something was that Cagney plainly loved the material, and had great faith in its adaptation, yet the stagebound results were hard to get away from as you watched. Nick's Bar may be a fairly substantial location, but you never believe you're watching a genuine location, and Saroyan's dialogue is strained at various points, so much so that with most of the cast grandstanding every chance they could get, the experience was akin to watching an overacting contest rather than a slice of life. Despite this, some nice moments did survive, mainly down to Cagney who was most aware of how to deliver the play with a certain degree of authenticity even as you were thinking that none of this comes across as authentic, if anything it is wholly artificial from minute one to the end credits.

Not that you will see any end credits on prints of the film available now, for it fell into the public domain in a cut that edited out ten minutes so commercials could be more easily slotted into its television broadcasts. It is debatable whether yet more of Saroyan's faux-sincerity (which may have been actual sincerity, but certainly did not play that way) would have been any more palatable at nearly two hours, and there's only so much of the tap dancer (really) or the "comedy" drunk acts you can take. On the other hand, every so often there's a scene that displays the generosity of spirit intended, for instance the sole black cast member (professional pianist Reginald Beane in his only role) appears asking Nick for a job, then collapses from hunger; Nick does not throw him out, but gives him a meal instead, then allows him to stay on to play the piano. So bits like that have the desired effect, and Cagney was reliably charismatic, even enigmatic, when he was on the screen, but it's all very one-note and pleased with itself. Music by Carmen Dragon.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 989 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: