It Could Happen to You (1939)

70-72 mins | Comedy-drama | 30 June 1939

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HISTORY

HR reported that this film was associate producer David Hempstead's first producing assignment under the Sol M. Wurtzel unit at Twentieth Century-Fox. News items in MPD and HR stated that the film's story was published in SEP , however, the film's credits read "original story by." According to HR , Fox wanted Lucille Ball for this picture, but RKO refused to loan her. Burgess Meredith was originally slated for the lead, but could not get free of his Broadway ... More Less

HR reported that this film was associate producer David Hempstead's first producing assignment under the Sol M. Wurtzel unit at Twentieth Century-Fox. News items in MPD and HR stated that the film's story was published in SEP , however, the film's credits read "original story by." According to HR , Fox wanted Lucille Ball for this picture, but RKO refused to loan her. Burgess Meredith was originally slated for the lead, but could not get free of his Broadway commitments. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3-Jun-39
---
Daily Variety
9 Jun 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Jun 39
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jan 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Feb 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
12 Jan 39
p. 13.
Motion Picture Herald
13 May 39
p. 35.
Motion Picture Herald
17 Jun 39
p. 52.
New York Times
9 Jun 39
p. 26.
Variety
14 Jun 39
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
DETAILS
Release Date:
30 June 1939
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 8 June 1939
Production Date:
27 March--mid April 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
30 June 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9249
Physical Properties:
Sound
High Fidelity RCA Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70-72
Length(in feet):
6,360
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5290
SYNOPSIS

Awakened by his dog "Quirky," MacKinley "Mac" Winslow prepares for another work day. As his wife Doris attempts to prepare his breakfast, both the juicer and the coffee pot break down. After breakfast, Freddie Barlow and his wife Agnes arrive at the Winslows'. Freddie, Mac's best friend at the Word Advertising Agency, has made a name for himself by presenting Mac's ad ideas as his own. While Mac and Freddie discuss business in the kitchen, Agnes flaunts her new clothes and jewelry. Agnes tells Doris that Freddie is in line for a promotion to vice president in charge of publications. When Doris invites the Barlows to dinner to celebrate the Winslows' fifth wedding anniversary, Agnes tells her that Freddie has been invited to a party by his boss. After Freddie and Agnes leave, Doris confronts Mac, telling him he needs to be more assertive, that he has to make people "know he's good." At work, J. Hadden Quigley, the president of the company, calls Freddie to ask about the new malt meal breakfast slogan. Freddie calls Mac in, who tells him he can only be creative at night. Backed into a corner, Freddie agrees to take Mac to Quigley's party. At the party, Mac discovers that big businessmen are more interested in liquor and chorus girls than talking business and politics. After meeting Pedley, Mac thinks he has found a man of substance to sell his "movies on the subway" brainstorm, but discovers that Pedley is just a laborer with the W.P.A. While looking in his old college yearbook, Mac reads how he was voted "Most Likely to ... +


Awakened by his dog "Quirky," MacKinley "Mac" Winslow prepares for another work day. As his wife Doris attempts to prepare his breakfast, both the juicer and the coffee pot break down. After breakfast, Freddie Barlow and his wife Agnes arrive at the Winslows'. Freddie, Mac's best friend at the Word Advertising Agency, has made a name for himself by presenting Mac's ad ideas as his own. While Mac and Freddie discuss business in the kitchen, Agnes flaunts her new clothes and jewelry. Agnes tells Doris that Freddie is in line for a promotion to vice president in charge of publications. When Doris invites the Barlows to dinner to celebrate the Winslows' fifth wedding anniversary, Agnes tells her that Freddie has been invited to a party by his boss. After Freddie and Agnes leave, Doris confronts Mac, telling him he needs to be more assertive, that he has to make people "know he's good." At work, J. Hadden Quigley, the president of the company, calls Freddie to ask about the new malt meal breakfast slogan. Freddie calls Mac in, who tells him he can only be creative at night. Backed into a corner, Freddie agrees to take Mac to Quigley's party. At the party, Mac discovers that big businessmen are more interested in liquor and chorus girls than talking business and politics. After meeting Pedley, Mac thinks he has found a man of substance to sell his "movies on the subway" brainstorm, but discovers that Pedley is just a laborer with the W.P.A. While looking in his old college yearbook, Mac reads how he was voted "Most Likely to Succeed." Finally meeting his boss, Mac pitches his idea, and Quigley agrees to a lunch meeting the next day. On the drive home, a drunk Mac and Freddie stop at The Speckled Duck for a few more drinks. When Mac arrives home, Doris tells him she left her purse in the car and goes down to get it. Upon returning, she angrily informs Mac that there is a drunk girl in the back seat. In the garage, Mac discovers that the girl is dead and calls Freddie, who comes over immediately. Mac then calls the police, telling them that he was at the movies with Doris. With great fanfare, the district attorney announces that Mac is being charged with murder. Freddie tries to get lawyer Albert Wiman to defend Mac. When Mac can't pay his fee, however, Wiman refuses his case. Doris confronts Quigley and steals Freddie's black book, which contains the names of the chorus girls who attended the party. She then threatens Wiman, who was also at the party, with full disclosure of the party's guest and events. Quigley and Wiman meet with their friends, who all agree that Mac must somehow be bought. At the jail, Doris finds an ecstatic Mac, whose cell is filled with gifts. Mac informs her that he has been made vice president in charge of publications. Doris tells Mac that she is going find the real killer herself and takes Freddie in their car to retrace their actions. At The Speckled Duck, Doris discovers another car identical to hers which belongs to Steve Hugo, the bar's owner. Calling the district attorney from the bar, Doris is about to name Hugo as the killer when he comes up behind her and hangs up the phone. After Doris calls for Freddie's help, he jumps in the car and races to the district attorney. Chased by motorcycle policemen, Freddie makes a wild ride back to the bar where Doris is saved in the nick of time. Headlines proclaim Hugo's capture and Mac's release. At home, Mac and Doris prepare for bed. When Doris tells him she left her purse in the car again, Mac produces it from behind his back. +

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

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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.