Thursday, November 14, 2013
'Turn Back the Clock' DVD Release: It's A Wonderful Predestined Life
Warner Archive's DVD release of 1933's "Turn Back the Clock" within days of the nation except for those malcontents in Arizona turning its clocks back an hour is one of a few chances that Archive has provided modern audiences a chance to discover fast-talking '30s leading man Lee Tracy; Unreal TV will review the companion Tracy flick "The Nuisance" in the next few weeks.
"Clock" is a great example of a classic '30s comedy in that it has the "how ya doin' Pally" vibe of the era and nicely depicts the economic chasm and resulting attitudes that existed in the Depression era.
The film centers around Tracy's character "Average" Joe Gimlet, who is maintaining a decent lifestyle running a tobacco shop with his wife Mary, who is the harder working and more sensible member of their team.
Joe's world begins to turn upside down when his aptly named childhood chum Ted Wright walks into his store one day. Ted has the life that could have been Joe's in that he married the wealthy Elvira, who gladly would have married Joe, and prospered.
Joe's next step in his journey down the rabbit hole occurs when Ted offers him an investment opportunity during a reunion dinner. Joe is eager to blindly hand over the life savings that he and Mary took 15 years to accumulate, but Mary refuses to take that risk.
A subsequent fight between Mary and Joe leads to a turn of events that send Joe back 20 years in time with full knowledge of personal and national events that occurred during those two decades. The first scene from this portion of the film presents nice images of small-town life during an era in which horse-drawn carriages greatly outnumbered the sans equine variety.
Joe quickly (and cruelly) throws over Mary for the aptly-named from a modern perspective Elvira and uses his knowledge of the future to prosper. Scenes in which he confuses Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt and is considered crazy for stating that America and Germany will go to war are especially amusing and reminiscent of a personal experience of essentially being laughed out a college classroom in 1983 for spot-on separately predicting personal computers designed for children and teleconferencing.
Providing more spoilers would ruin the enjoyment of the film. Suffice it to say that the movie and Tracy do not disappoint, nice messages are conveyed, and Joe Gimlet does say to his bride when worlds collide that he will give her an adequate thrill.
The conclusion based on more than 20 years of watching films, including the torture that is the reviewed not so "Magic Mike," is that "Clock" passes the test of time. It is well-written and acted story that depicts several eternal truths without being preachy or relying on special effects that cost as much as the annual budget of a small country to convey.
Additionally, Tracy portrays Gimlet just as nicely as Jimmy Stewart brings George Bailey to life and Michael J (NO PERIOD; HIS REAL MIDDLE NAME IS ANDREW FOLKS) Fox provides a look at the life of Marty McFly.
Anyone with questions about "Clock" or any of the peripheral subjects in this review is welcome to email me; you can also contact me on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.