Movie Mirrors Index

Tales of Manhattan

(1942 b 118')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Cursed tails are shot when an actor is killed, are loaned to a valet for a wedding that is canceled, rip during a performance, and assist the poor.

Paul Orman (Charles Boyer) buys a dress suit that was cursed by the tailor. After being shot on stage, he goes to Ethel Halloway (Rita Hayworth), who is worried about her husband John Halloway (Thomas Mitchell). Paul and Ethel meet the next day, but John comes in and shows them his guns. John shoots Paul and says it was an accident; when Ethel agrees, Paul says he was acting and leaves, collapsing in his car. His driver Luther (Eugene Pallette) takes the coat to the valet Edgar (Roland Young) for a $10 loan. Diane (Ginger Rogers) calls Harry Wilson (Cesar Romero) about their wedding. Diane and Ellen (Gail Patrick) look in the pockets of Harry's suit and find a love letter. Edgar tells George (Henry Fonda) to take Orman's suit to Harry and say Harry's is his. Diane teases George with the letter and asks him to roar like a lion. They speak romantically to each other and kiss. The Squirrel (Marion Martin) arrives and slaps Harry. Diane gives the ring back to Harry and leaves with George.

Luther and Edgar sell the coat to a shop for $10, and Elsa Smith (Elsa Lanchester) wants it for her husband Charles Smith (Charles Laughton), who plays piano in a bar. Charles gets an audition with conductor Arturo Bellini (Victor Francen) and runs home with good news. Elsa buys the coat, but Charles says it is too small. As Charles conducts, the coat rips, causing laughter. Charles is told, removes the coat, and cries. Bellini removes his coat and tells Charles to continue. Other men remove their coats. Charles gives the coat to charity as a rabbit's foot.

Father Joe (James Gleason) finds Larry Browne (Edward G. Robinson) sleeping in an alley to give him a letter about a college reunion. Joe persuades alcoholic Larry to go and gives him clothes to wear. Larry is greeted by old friends and says he was in China. Davis offers him a job on Wall Street. Professor Lyons (Harry Davenport) reflects on their success. Henderson says he lost his wallet. Williams (George Sanders) suggests they take off their coats, but Larry refuses to be searched and is put on trial, prosecuted by Williams. Larry tells how he was a lawyer, but during Prohibition he lost his wife and drifted to Chinatown. Larry pleads guilty and leaves, though Henderson's driver returns the wallet. Joe sees Larry come home drunk, but Davis comes to remind Larry of his new job.

A thief steals the coat from a second-hand store and then robs a gambling party. On a plane he sees fire and throws it out. Poor Luke (Paul Robeson) and Esther (Ethel Waters) find it with $43,000. They take it to Reverend Lazarus (Eddie Anderson), who gives out money to people to get what they prayed for. They sing and rejoice, and Luke says they can buy the land and share. Esther says Christopher may have prayed for it, but he says he prayed for a scarecrow. Luke sings a spiritual as the coat is put up.

Poetic justice follows the tails from the upper classes to the poor in most need of the capital windfall they receive.

Copyright © 2004 by Sanderson Beck

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