The Time of Your Life

Overview

After turning down several other Hollywood producers, playwright William Saroyan sold the film rights of his whimsical Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Time of Your Life to James and William Cagney. The scene is a rundown San Francisco waterfront bar, populated by a group of lovable eccentrics. Joe (James Cagney), a philosophical souse, encourages all around him to indulge in their wildest dreams. Joe's pal Tom (Wayne Morris), a born patsy, runs errands for Joe, the only person who has ever shown him kindness. ...
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Overview

After turning down several other Hollywood producers, playwright William Saroyan sold the film rights of his whimsical Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Time of Your Life to James and William Cagney. The scene is a rundown San Francisco waterfront bar, populated by a group of lovable eccentrics. Joe (James Cagney), a philosophical souse, encourages all around him to indulge in their wildest dreams. Joe's pal Tom (Wayne Morris), a born patsy, runs errands for Joe, the only person who has ever shown him kindness. Kitty (Jeanne Cagney), a streetwalker, willingly allows Joe to sponge drinks off her in exchange for a few nice words. Harry (Paul Draper), an enthusiastic but hopelessly untalented dancer-comedian, is hired by bartender Nick (William Bendix) at Joe's urging. And Kit Carson (James Barton), an addled old man who lives in a dream world, is prodded by Joe into weaving his unlikely reminiscences of the Wild West. It is Kit Carson (James Barton) who solves everyone's problems by eliminating a particularly scabrous detective named Blick (Tom Powers). Time of Your Life was originally filmed with Saroyan's bizarrely humorous ending intact, but the preview audiences reacted negatively, forcing the Cagney brothers to shoot $300,000 worth of retakes. Though many historians have written off The Time of Your Life as a brave failure, the film was actually a hit, grossing $1.5 million.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
By all rights, The Time of Your Life really shouldn't work as a film. Almost the entire action of the play occurs on one set, which usually is an anathema to the cinema. It's filled with dialogue that is heightened and artificial, which is difficult to pull off onscreen, and the plotless character study features a cipher at its center, which often leaves a big hole in the middle of a film. Yet, in Time, the limited setting doesn't feel stodgy and confined, thanks to subtle little tricks by master cinematographer James Wong Howe; the unrealistic dialogue comes across as flavorful, thanks to the expert cast that handles it with commitment and care; and James Cagney projects such warmth and overflowing humanity that most viewers won't realize -- or care -- that they know essentially nothing about the character that holds the entire movie together. "Warm" and "human" also apply to the movie as a whole, which is one of the most joyous expressions of life one is likely to encounter; joyous, but not cloyingly sentimental. While the work finds the good, the brave, and the admirable in its characters, there's still a thin vein of melancholy running underneath that enriches it considerably. As noted, James Cagney's performance is crucial, but the entire cast is splendid, with exemplary work from William Bendix, Jeanne Cagney, James Barton, and Wayne Morris, among others. The ending, altered from William Saroyan's original, is a bit out of place, but this doesn't keep Time from being a delightful, engaging, and thoroughly appealing film experience.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/21/2003
  • UPC: 089218622792
  • Original Release: 1948
  • Rating:

  • Source: Alpha Video
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 64,397

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Marlene Ammes Nick's Daughter
James Cagney Joe
James Barton Kit Carson
William Bendix Nick
Reginald Beane Wesley
Wayne Morris Tom
Jeanne Cagney Kitty Duval
Gladys Blake Sidekick
Broderick Crawford Policeman
Ward Bond McCarthy
Claire Carleton "Killer"
Paul Draper Harry
Richard Erdman Willie
Howard Freeman Society gentleman
Jimmy Lydon Dudley
Grazia Marciso Nick's Mother
John Miller Drunk
Gale Page Mary L.
Nanette Parks Girl in love
Tom Powers Blick
Lanny Rees Newsboy
Renie Riano Blind date
Natalie Schafer Society woman
Joseph Allen Jr.
Eddie Borden Salvation Army man
Ann Cameron B girl
Rena Case Salvation Army woman
Pedro de Cordoba Arab
Donald Kerr Bookie
Moy Ming Cook
Floyd Walters Sailor
Technical Credits
H.C. Potter Director
Reginald Beane Score Composer
William Cagney Producer
Nathaniel Curtis Screenwriter
Carmen Dragon Score Composer
Al Fields Set Decoration/Design
Roland A. Fields Set Decoration/Design
Walter A. Hannemann Editor
James Wong Howe Cinematographer
Wiard Ihnen Art Director
Otis Malcolm Makeup
Truman K. Wood Editor
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Chapter 1 [15:11]
2. Chapter 2 [16:29]
3. Chapter 3 [14:16]
4. Chapter 4 [15:31]
5. Chapter 5 [21:33]
6. Chapter 6 [15:07]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Index
   Catalog
      View Catalog
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