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Tomorrow the World
     

Tomorrow the World

Director: Leslie Fenton,

Cast: Fredric March, Betty Field, Agnes Moorehead

 
The original play Tomorrow the World was an award-winning and highly topical work on Broadway. The film adaptation, co-authored by Ring Lardner Jr. and Leopold Atlas, also had a great reputation for many years, and the central performance, by Skip Homeier as the 12-year-old dedicated Nazi living in a middle-class American home, was something not seen before in

Overview

The original play Tomorrow the World was an award-winning and highly topical work on Broadway. The film adaptation, co-authored by Ring Lardner Jr. and Leopold Atlas, also had a great reputation for many years, and the central performance, by Skip Homeier as the 12-year-old dedicated Nazi living in a middle-class American home, was something not seen before in movies. The play and the film both attempted to address what was a terribly pressing problem of their era -- what do you do to make the German people, especially the young ones, give up their Nazi sympathies? The movie seems tame and compromised today, by virtue of its expansion from the play and the need to follow cinematic conventions of the period. This may have made it more accessible, but it also makes the film seem soft and predictable in most of its turns -- some scenes with Betty Field and Agnes Moorehead play very well, but a lot of the rest shows some of the same seams that start to pop on a lot of World War II home-front dramas. Image's DVD release is a fair transfer from a source with more than its share of problems: Scratches, stains in the film emulsion, and sound that is fuzzy on the loud passages (and there is a lot of shouting in various parts of this movie), plus a final scene that shows signs of having been cut awkwardly in the re-editing of the end credit. The movie was an independent production originally distributed by United Artists, and it has apparently passed through several distributors' hands over the decades, not to its advantage, though the worst part of the soundtrack is over the opening credits, and the source print has sufficient visual detail to yield a clean transfer. The digital image is clear of any major artifacts, and the 82-minute movie has been broken down into a dozen acceptable chapters. The film starts up automatically, with the menu -- reasonably clear and convenient -- popping up after the end credits.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Tomorrow the World was an important film at the time of its release in 1944, when America was one year away from victory in WWII. At the center is an American family trying to cope with a brainwashed German orphan, Emil Bruckner (child star Skippy Homeier). Emil, the product of a Hitler Youth academy, has been trained to hate his father, a leftist intellectual of the Weimar Republic. He has been brought to America by Professor Mike Frame (Fredic March), one of his father's old colleagues. Trouble starts when Emil tries to live out his Nazi ways in America, wreaking havoc on everyone around him. In many ways, the problems faced by Professor Frame in rehabilitating this child was a preview of what lay ahead for audiences of the 1940s, the problem of reintegrating the brainwashed German masses back into the civilized world. In this sense, the film did what it needed to do at the time. It educated audiences about the need to reintegrate, and more importantly, the need to show compassion and forgiveness. From a modern standpoint, however, the film comes off as a long Hitler Youth cliché, a shopping list of dastardly behavior that we've come to expect of a Nazi automaton. A compelling family drama gets lost along the way, smoke screened by an over-the-top performance by young Homeier who raises the material to comic heights. From a contemporary standpoint, Tomorrow the World has more to tell us about America than Germany during WWII.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/06/2001
UPC:
0014381980028
Original Release:
1944
Rating:
NR
Source:
Image Entertainment
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, monaural]
Time:
1:22:00

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Fredric March Mike Frame
Betty Field Leona Richards
Agnes Moorehead Jessie
Skip Homeier Emil Bruckner
Joan Carroll Pat Frame
Edith Angold Frieda
Boots Brown Roy
Rudy Wissler Stan
Marvin Davis Dennis
Mary Newton School Principal
Tom Fadden Mailman
Patsy Ann Thompson Millie

Technical Credits
Leslie Fenton Director
Leopold Atlas Screenwriter
Anne Bauchens Editor
Lester Cowan Producer
Arnaud D'Usseau Original Story
James Gow Original Story
Ring Lardner Screenwriter
Henry Sharp Cinematographer
James Sullivan Art Director

Scene Index

Chapter Listings
0. Chapter Listings
1. Main Title; The Big Question [9:38]
2. Emil's Arrival [6:44]
3. True Colors [7:29]
4. School Days [5:59]
5. Problem Child [4:37]
6. An Ally? [2:40]
7. A Good German [6:12]
8. A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing [10:05]
9. Going Too Far [8:47]
10. Hot Pursuit [5:13]
11. A Small Crack [8:29]
12. Turnabout [6:28]

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