“O. Henry’s Full House” is a film divided into five segments telling five tales at the beginning of the twentieth century. 1) “The Cop and the Anthem”: The winter is coming and the homeless drifter Soapy wants to go to jail for three months to get shelter and food. His partner Horace suggests they look for shelter with the Salvation Army, but Soapy refuses. He forces many situations to be arrested, but he is always forgiven. When he goes to the church, there is a miracle and Soapy decides to seek a job position. Will he succeed? 2) “The Clarion Call”: When a thief kills a man, the police investigators do not have any lead to follow. Police Sergeant Barney Woods sees a pen that was found in the crime scene and he seeks out a man called Johnny Kernan. He finds Johnny, who invites Barney to drink with him, and they go to his hotel room. Johnny recalls their youth, when they were friends, but Barney tells him that he must arrest him since he recognized the pen that belonged to Johnny. …
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
User Reviews: Terrific 1952 film highlighting the famous writer’s work. It certainly must have been a pleasure to be a contract player for 20th Century Fox at that time so that you could have a part in such a great film.
The most poignant of the 5 vignettes shown was where Anne Baxter, a rejected woman, is succumbing to pneumonia and equates her situation to falling leaves. With her sister, Jean Peters at her side, she continues to fail as the leaves fall off. Gregory Ratoff is marvelous as the upstairs neighbor, Mr. Berman, whose paintings aren’t appreciated as he paints out of the ordinary sequences. His final effort, a life-saver for Baxter, is memorable and so touching.
2 segments provided comic relief. Charles Laughton is sensational as the hobo trying to get arrested so as to avoid the cold wintry weather on the streets. While in church he promises to mend his ways and look for work only to finally be arrested for vagrancy and sentenced to 90 days. Laughton, as versatile as ever, is aided by David Wayne. The second comedy is where Fred Allen and Oscar Levant kidnap a young boy only to get more than they bargained for in "Ransom of Red Chief." Both men are hilarious as they fall victim to the young menacing brat.
The always excellent Richard Widmark almost reprises his role in 1947’s "Kiss of Death." He again displays that sinister laugh and face in a segment with Dale Robertson, both men matching wits as friends. Robertson grew up as a cop and you can guess what Widmark has become.
The film ends with the final segment of the meaning of the Christmas holiday with Jean Crain and Farley Granger.
The film is so good because each story essentially deals with sacrifice in its own way. This is truly a classic to be remembered through the ages.