It Happened Tomorrow (1944)

When a couple has been married for fifty years, it’s only natural that they’d spend the night of their fiftieth anniversary reminiscing about the past.  But Larry Stevens (Dick Powell) has the most interesting story of all time to look back on: how he used to be able to get tomorrow’s news today.  When Larry was younger, he worked at The Evening News as an obituary writer and eventually worked his way up to regular reporter.  He’s so eager to make it as a reporter that he tells his friends that he’d gladly trade ten years of his own life just to be able to get tomorrow’s news today.  When Pop Benson hears him say this, he tells him how dangerous it could be to know the future.  Larry and his friends drop the conversation and head out of the offices.  As they’re walking along, they see a sign at a nightclub for Oscar Cigolini the fortune-teller and they decide to go inside and catch his act.  Oscar performs with his niece Sylvia (Linda Darnell), and when Larry sets eye on her, it’s love at first sight and he invites her to lunch.  After the guys leave the nightclub, Larry runs into Pop again and Pop gives Larry a copy of the newspaper.  Thinking nothing of it, Larry just puts it in his pocket and forgets all about it.  The next day, a friend of his sees the paper in his pocket and borrows it to look at the job listings.  But after a few minutes, Larry realizes that the paper Pop gave him the night before is full of news that hasn’t actually happened yet.

One of the stories in the paper is that the opera house box office is going to be robbed that afternoon.  When he gets to the office, Larry begs his editor Gordon to let him cover the concert being held there.  When Sylvia shows up for their date, he brings her along to the concert and sure enough, the box office is robbed while they’re there.  Before they left for the concert, Larry had copied down the article from the paper so he arrives back at the office a mere ten minutes after the robbery with the article ready to go.  Gordon is rightfully skeptical about this, but then Inspector Mulrooney confirms it.  But then Inspector Mulrooney is suspicious about how Larry knows so much about the robbery and Sylvia tells him that she predicted it.  And to prove it, she predicts that a woman will attempt suicide by jumping off a bridge.

When Larry gets another newspaper from the future from Pop, he tells the police where to find the robbers and gets to the bridge just after a woman has jumped in.  After he dives in after her, he realizes the woman was really Sylvia, who jumped in just to make her own prediction come true.  When Larry starts telling his fellow reporters that he can see the future, his friends tell him to put his money where his mouth is and tell them which horses are going to win at the racetrack tomorrow.  Larry gets another paper from Pop and, thinking he’s going to make a fortune at the racetrack, proposes to Sylvia.  But when Larry looks a little more closely at the paper, he finds out that he will be shot to death in a hotel tomorrow.  He still goes to the racetrack, wins a fortune, and marries Sylvia anyway, but one of his bookie’s minions isn’t too happy about Larry winning so much money and robs him.  When Larry gets to the hotel he’s supposed to die in, he runs into the guy who robbed him and chases him down.  The two get into a huge fight that ends with the bookie’s cohort being shot down by police.  But because he has Larry’s wallet on him, they mistakenly think they killed Larry.  Larry and Sylvia go on to live a long and happy life together and live to celebrate their golden anniversary.

By now, the idea of a movie about someone who can get tomorrow’s news today really doesn’t seem like a terribly unique idea.  In the time since it was released in 1944, the show Early Edition has used the same general concept and there was a similar episode of The Twilight Zone.  But even if it doesn’t feel terribly original to viewers nowadays, it’s still a pretty interesting movie.  Dick Powell and Linda Darnell were good in it, it’s well-directed, and the story is good.  I wouldn’t call it one of my favorites, but it is worth watching.