The Guy Who Came Back (1951)

91-92 mins | Drama | July 1951

Director:

Joseph Newman

Writer:

Allan Scott

Producer:

Julian Blaustein

Cinematographer:

Joseph La Shelle

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Chester Gore

Production Company:

Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Man Who Sank the Navy , The Guy Who Sank the Navy , Just One More Chance and Humpty Dumpty . William Fay's short story was included in the anthology The Saturday Evening Post Sport Stories (New York, 1949). According to a 10 Aug 1949 HR news item, when Twentieth Century-Fox purchased Fay's story, he was under consideration to write the film's screenplay. Although a 29 Nov 1950 HR news item announced that James Millican was being tested for a role, it is unlikely that he appeared in the released picture. Other HR news items note that some scenes were filmed on location at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, CA, and that Kathleen Hughes had been added to the cast, although her appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. Filming of the football sequences had to be postponed after star Paul Douglas broke two ribs during a rehearsal, according to Nov and Dec 1950 HR news ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Man Who Sank the Navy , The Guy Who Sank the Navy , Just One More Chance and Humpty Dumpty . William Fay's short story was included in the anthology The Saturday Evening Post Sport Stories (New York, 1949). According to a 10 Aug 1949 HR news item, when Twentieth Century-Fox purchased Fay's story, he was under consideration to write the film's screenplay. Although a 29 Nov 1950 HR news item announced that James Millican was being tested for a role, it is unlikely that he appeared in the released picture. Other HR news items note that some scenes were filmed on location at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, CA, and that Kathleen Hughes had been added to the cast, although her appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. Filming of the football sequences had to be postponed after star Paul Douglas broke two ribs during a rehearsal, according to Nov and Dec 1950 HR news items. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 May 1951.
---
Daily Variety
13 Mar 1951.
---
Daily Variety
21 May 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
23 May 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Aug 49
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Oct 50
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Nov 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 50
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 50
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 50
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 50
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 51
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
23 Jun 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 May 51
p. 861.
New York Times
17 Aug 51
p. 13.
Variety
24 Oct 1950.
---
Variety
23 May 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
Furrier
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Man Who Sank the Navy" by William Fay in The Saturday Evening Post (17 Oct 1942).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Keep Your Eye on the Ball," music and lyrics by Ken Darby.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Humpty Dumpty
Just One More Chance
The Guy Who Sank the Navy
The Man Who Sank the Navy
Release Date:
July 1951
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 22 June 1951
Production Date:
27 November 1950--early January 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
22 June 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1100
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
91-92
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15028
SYNOPSIS

During World War II, former football star "Hurricane" Harry Joplin is deeply disappointed when an old ankle injury prevents him from enlisting in the Navy. Capt. Charlie Shallock urges Harry to leave New York City to work in a San Francisco shipbuilding yard, and Harry reluctantly agrees. Harry then goes to the nightclub owned by his pal, onetime boxing champion Boots Mullins, and meets his paramour, Dee Shane. Harry confesses to Dee that he bumped into his wife Kathy, from whom he is separated, and that she wants him to visit her that evening to see their son Willy. Dee allows Harry to break their date, but warns him that "when you lose something, it stays lost." Harry then muses about the breakup of his marriage: In September 1940, Harry, Kathy and Willy live in their country home outside New York. Harry is convalescing after an ankle injury and is working hard to get back into shape, while Kathy supports the family. Harry's mother disapproves of Kathy's having to work, but Harry reassures her that the New York Titans will be sending him a new contract soon. Willy and Harry dote on each other, and Harry enjoys teaching his son about the game he loves. Kathy is concerned about Harry's immaturity but is thrilled when a letter from the Titans finally arrives. Much to Harry's dismay, however, the letter offers him a coaching job rather than a playing contract, which Harry stubbornly refuses. The following year, the family suffers both financially and emotionally, especially when sports columnist Fred O'Mara lambasts the still unemployed Harry in his column, calling him a "whale belly." ... +


During World War II, former football star "Hurricane" Harry Joplin is deeply disappointed when an old ankle injury prevents him from enlisting in the Navy. Capt. Charlie Shallock urges Harry to leave New York City to work in a San Francisco shipbuilding yard, and Harry reluctantly agrees. Harry then goes to the nightclub owned by his pal, onetime boxing champion Boots Mullins, and meets his paramour, Dee Shane. Harry confesses to Dee that he bumped into his wife Kathy, from whom he is separated, and that she wants him to visit her that evening to see their son Willy. Dee allows Harry to break their date, but warns him that "when you lose something, it stays lost." Harry then muses about the breakup of his marriage: In September 1940, Harry, Kathy and Willy live in their country home outside New York. Harry is convalescing after an ankle injury and is working hard to get back into shape, while Kathy supports the family. Harry's mother disapproves of Kathy's having to work, but Harry reassures her that the New York Titans will be sending him a new contract soon. Willy and Harry dote on each other, and Harry enjoys teaching his son about the game he loves. Kathy is concerned about Harry's immaturity but is thrilled when a letter from the Titans finally arrives. Much to Harry's dismay, however, the letter offers him a coaching job rather than a playing contract, which Harry stubbornly refuses. The following year, the family suffers both financially and emotionally, especially when sports columnist Fred O'Mara lambasts the still unemployed Harry in his column, calling him a "whale belly." Willy is crushed, and so Harry, still believing that he can play, asks coach Joe Demarcus to allow him to work out with the Titans. By the end of the day, however, Demarcus bluntly informs the middle-aged, flabby Harry that he has lost the magic that makes a great player. Dejected, Harry goes to Boots's nightclub, where he meets the beautiful Dee for the first time. Trying to impress Dee, Harry regales the appreciative patrons with one of his famous gridiron stories. Dee follows Harry as he leaves and, slipping into his taxi, tells the driver to take them to her apartment. There, Dee tells Harry that he should become an entertainer and emcee like Jack Dempsey or Maxie Rosenbloom. Won over by Dee's enthusiasm and sympathy, Harry rehearses endlessly, despite Kathy's misgivings. Finally, jealous of Dee and worried that Harry will humiliate himself, Kathy begs him to quit, but Harry insists that he will be a sensation. During his opening night, however, Harry is a painful flop and goes on a three-day drinking binge. Gordon Towne, the Joplins' friend, locates Harry and brings him home, and although Dee accompanies them to assure Kathy that Harry has not been with her, Kathy is heartbroken by Harry's irresponsibility and asks him to move out. Back in the bar, Harry's reminiscences end, and Dee warns him that he is endangering their relationship by living in the past. Harry then goes to Kathy's apartment, where she flirts with him. Harry is dismayed to learn that Kathy and Gordon have been dating, and attempts to impress Willy by claiming to have a top-secret government job in San Francisco. Admitting that she misses him, Kathy asks Harry to return home, but he insists that he is not worthy of her love. When Gordon arrives, Harry tells him that he will divorce Kathy so that they can marry. Although Gordon is uncertain, Harry assures him that it would be best for Kathy and Willy, and Gordon, who has loved Kathy for years, agrees. Soon after, Kathy visits Dee and asks her to convince Harry to pursue a coaching job, as he cannot live without football. Dee bitterly declares that she will never allow Harry to return to football, and is surprised when Kathy reveals that Harry is about to leave for San Francisco. After Kathy departs, Dee tracks Harry to the arena where he has been working as a wrestler, and he tells her that she cannot accompany him to the West Coast. Realizing that Harry will always love Kathy, Dee calls her and tells her where Harry is. Kathy arrives for that evening's bout, and Dee assures her that she can "handle" Demarcus for her. After the match, Kathy begs Harry to return to the family and to ask Demarcus for a coaching job, for Willy's sake. Harry decides instead to ask Demarcus for a job as a player, and thanks to Dee's persuasion, Demarcus reluctantly agrees. Soon after, the ragtag Titans, decimated by the wartime man shortage, are competing against the superior Navy team. Kathy and a delighted Willy are in the audience, and are horrified when, during his first play, Harry is knocked unconscious. Harry comes to at the end of the first half, and although Demarcus announces that his comeback is over, Harry insists on sitting on the bench so that Willy will not be disappointed. During the last five minutes of the game, with all of the other players injured, Demarcus is forced to put Harry back on the field, and Harry eventually makes a touchdown, despite being tackled numerous times. The Titans win a surprising victory, thanks to Harry's perseverance, and Demarcus offers Harry a new playing contract. Realizing his playing days are over, Harry asks for a coaching job instead, but is stunned when an admiral offers to enlist him in the Navy, stating: "It isn't every Navy that can acquire the ship that sinks it." Harry then humbly asks Kathy if she still wants him, and the reunited couple walk out of the locker room with Willy. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.