Once Upon a Time (1944)

once upon a time 1944

Absurd fantasy about a theater owner and producer and his nine year old pal who has a dancing caterpillar.

Jerry Flynn (Cary Grant) is about to lose his theater. He’s produced three bombs in a row and the bank won’t give him another extension. Outside the theater he runs into Arthur “Pinky” Thompson and his friend Fatso. Inside a shoebox Pinky has a caterpillar named Curly. He brings out a harmonica and plays “Yes Sir That’s My Baby.” Jerry looks into the shoebox and watches the caterpillar dance. Jerry sees an opportunity and forms a partnership with Pinky. His sister and guardian Jeannie (Janet Blair) isn’t happy about it and wants to break it up.

The next day Jerry brings Pinky and Curly to his hotel room and has them meet his best friend Moke (James Gleason). He invites the press up to see Curly in action. All of them including Brandt (William Demerest) walk out without even bothering to look in the shoebox. Then he gets a visit from a man named Dunhill. He represents Walt Disney who is interested in Curly. Dunhill says Walt will pay a thousand bucks for him. Jerry says no sale. It has to be a hundred thousand. Dunhill leaves saying that’s impossible.

One believer is newsman Gabriel Heater (portraying himself). He tells the story of Pinky and Curly on his radio broadcast and that makes them huge celebrities that the papers can no longer ignore. Jerry and Pinky come up with a scheme that has Jeannie allowing Pinky and Curly to move in with Jerry. They don’t know that Jerry is hoping to get a hundred grand from Disney so he can pay off his debt.

Skeptical scientists say Curly is for real and they want to keep him. A battle ensues over who really owns Curly. Disney approves the price and Jerry plots with Moke to steal Curly while Pinky is asleep. Just as he’s about to nab Curly, Pinky wakes up and catches him. He grabs the shoebox and takes off. Jerry is out with Jeannie. When they get back to her place Pinky is waiting. Pinky hides Curly and Jerry loses it and slaps him. Jerry realizes what a jerk he’s been and gives the shoebox back to Pinky. Curly’s missing. A nationwide caterpillar hunt is on.

It all comes to an “Awww Shucks” type of feel good ending. It’s the kind of movie you have to be in the mood for or you’ll book out before it’s over…maybe way before.

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
This entry was posted in Comedy, Fantasy, vintage movies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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