Reaching from Heaven (1948)

81 mins | Drama | February 1948

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HISTORY

Although this film bears a copyright statement in the onscreen credits, it was not registered for copyright. "Sophia," the character played by Margaret Hamilton, is also called "Sophie" in the ... More Less

Although this film bears a copyright statement in the onscreen credits, it was not registered for copyright. "Sophia," the character played by Margaret Hamilton, is also called "Sophie" in the film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 50
p. 7.
The Exhibitor
6 May 53
p. 3518.
DETAILS
Release Date:
February 1948
Production Date:
1947 at Enterprise Studios
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
81
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a small American town, a lonely, humble immigrant receives a telegram advising him that his wife has died in Europe just as she and their young daughter were about to embark on a ship to join him. In need of someone to talk with about his troubles, "The Stranger" approaches several people, but they will not listen to him. He stops in front of a Lutheran Church, but is unable to speak with the pastor, who is busy greeting his congregation after a service. The stranger walks away and is hit by a car driven by Madeline Bradley, who is on her way to play golf, and is criticized by church member Bill Starling as the stranger is taken off to a hospital. Later, the pastor tells his wife that he has doubts about the effectiveness of his sermons on the theme of "Each one, reach one" and the need for people to become responsible for each other's welfare. Meanwhile, when Madeline contritely tells her parents about the accident, her father, Max, assures her that his insurance will pay for the stranger's hospital bills and that a quick settlement will be made to avoid a lawsuit. Madeline's mother points out that if the family had all been in church, where they belonged, the accident would not have happened. Max, however, who as a child was forced to practice religion, feels that his child does not need that. Assuming responsibility for her actions, Madeline decides to visit the stranger in the hospital and firmly rejects her father's offer to fix everything with money. At the hospital, after donating blood to help the stranger, Bill encounters Madeline again and she ... +


In a small American town, a lonely, humble immigrant receives a telegram advising him that his wife has died in Europe just as she and their young daughter were about to embark on a ship to join him. In need of someone to talk with about his troubles, "The Stranger" approaches several people, but they will not listen to him. He stops in front of a Lutheran Church, but is unable to speak with the pastor, who is busy greeting his congregation after a service. The stranger walks away and is hit by a car driven by Madeline Bradley, who is on her way to play golf, and is criticized by church member Bill Starling as the stranger is taken off to a hospital. Later, the pastor tells his wife that he has doubts about the effectiveness of his sermons on the theme of "Each one, reach one" and the need for people to become responsible for each other's welfare. Meanwhile, when Madeline contritely tells her parents about the accident, her father, Max, assures her that his insurance will pay for the stranger's hospital bills and that a quick settlement will be made to avoid a lawsuit. Madeline's mother points out that if the family had all been in church, where they belonged, the accident would not have happened. Max, however, who as a child was forced to practice religion, feels that his child does not need that. Assuming responsibility for her actions, Madeline decides to visit the stranger in the hospital and firmly rejects her father's offer to fix everything with money. At the hospital, after donating blood to help the stranger, Bill encounters Madeline again and she convinces him of her genuine concern for the stranger. Bill works as a construction foreman for contractor Walter Graves, a competitor and old friend of Madeline's father, whom she regards as an "uncle." Madeline, who wants to earn money of her own and not be dependent upon her father, asks Walt for a job and is hired to work in the office with Walt's secretary, Sophia Manley. After the pastor visits the stranger in the hospital and reads another telegram stating that the man's young daughter will be arriving shortly, he tells members of the congregation that he has discovered that the stranger was separated from his family by the war and that his wife and daughter Anna were on their way to join him when the wife died. The pastor then decides to find the stranger work and a home and church members volunteer to fix up an unused apartment for him. When Bill invites Madeline to go to church with him, she declines, as she feels that she does not need the church. Later, when Madeline's father and Walt are bidding on a construction project, her father asks her to get him details of Walt's bid. As the stranger recovers in the hospital, he tells the pastor that he has repented for his life of lies and theft, and would like to join the church. After Bill and Madeline work on getting the job bid finalized, he shows her the apartment the congregation is fixing up and tries to convince her to accept Jesus Christ as her savior. She is not totally convinced, although she is falling in love with Bill. At a tunnel construction site which Bill and Madeline visit, foreman Buck Huggins, who has been teasing Bill about his church-going, sets off an unapproved dynamite blast and becomes trapped. Bill goes to his rescue, and although both are injured in the explosion, they recover and Buck tells his crew that they will be attending church the next Sunday morning. When the bids are announced, it is revealed that Walt's was not received because the love-struck Madeline had forgotten to mail it. Sophia accuses Madeline of deliberately sabotaging the bid, causing Walt to now face bankruptcy. When the contract is awarded to Madeline's father, he assumes that she sold Walt out and promises her a new car as a reward. Madeline is very upset about letting Walt down and faces the prospect of losing Bill. She decides to leave town, but before doing so visits the stranger, who tells her that he has found solace and help in the Bible and in God and that she, too, can experience this. Later, Bill and the stranger meet Anna at the railroad station and Bill drives them to their new home where they are surprised and overcome by the congregation's welcome. In the meantime, Madeline's parents discover that she has gone but has left for them the bid envelope she forgot to mail. They realize that they have been wrong and although they have made a fortune, they have lost everything that matters. They then decide to make a new start and pray for guidance. At the welcoming party, the pastor announces that the stranger will become the church's custodian. Madeline's father finds her at the party and returns the envelope, after which Madeline explains to the group that she simply forgot to mail the bid. Sophia and Walt forgive her and her father announces that he has signed over the contract to Walt, seeks forgiveness and will be in church the following Sunday. Madeline and Bill are reunited and she indicates that she will be attending church with him for a long, long time. +

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.