Film Review: Once Upon a Time (1944)

By: Victoria Standeven

Looking for a good fantasy film to take your mind off things? Well, then you’ve come to the right place! Recently I watched Alexander Hall’s Once Upon A Time(1944), starring Cary Grant, Janet Blair, Ted Donaldson, and James Gleason. Cary Grant stars as Jerry Flynn a suave, handsome, and charming theatrical producer who after a number of flops is about to lose his theater. Outside his theater one night he meets a little boy( played by Ted Donaldson) with a dancing Caterpillar named Curly(Source: IMDB. Com). For anyone, who is a Cary Grant fan, enjoys classics films, or even enjoys good wholesome entertainment this film is perfect for you! Why? It is perfect for you because it is a good story with a heartwarming message about friendship. The film itself is black and white, has a running time of 89 minutes, was produced by Columbia Pictures Corporation, and was released in theaters on June 29, 1944(Source IMDB. Com).

As a huge Cary Grant fan, I myself was really excited and surprised when I came across this hidden gem of a film. Now, Once Upon A Time is not one of his best known films. It was made during 1944, when the United States and the world was heavily engaged in World War Two. Therefore, the purpose of this film is to entertain and allow escape from the horrors of World War 2. Two other things I found out when I looked this film up on IMDB was that this film was based on a 1940 radio play called, “ My client Curly”, and Rita Hayworth was supposed to be the female lead; however she refused to be in this and was placed on a nine week suspension(Source: IMDB.Com), so instead the female lead was played by Janet Blair(Source: IMDB.Com).

If I were to give this film a rating I would give it an A.

I would give it an A because I loved the storyline, the characters, all the performances of the actors, but most of all I thought it was a cute and entertaining film, but that it also allowed me as a modern day viewer in 2018, to transport myself back in time to seventy four years ago in 1944 when this film was being shown, and put myself in that time frame and understand what was going on in the world at that particular time and how that helped shape films. Unfortunately, this film did not do well at the box office( Source: IMDB.Com), but it’s purpose was to help cheer people up during the dark days of World War 2. Now, this film may not be on par with some of Cary Grant’s other iconic and well known films such as The Awful Truth and His Girl Friday, but I think this is one of his best performances! Go ahead and see for yourself and enjoy!

2 Responses

  1. Liz H at |

    I have seen this film and I agree- it’s a gem! The themes of transformation and hope are timely- especially today. Great review!! Thanks for the recommendation.

    1. Victoria S Standeven at |

      Cary Grant is wonderful


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