The Time of Their Lives (1946)

80 or 82 mins | Fantasy | 16 August 1946

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Ghost Steps Out . The film boasts elaborate special effects, including ghosts passing through walls, driverless cars and floating objects. Although HR production charts include Almira Sessions in the cast, she did not appear in the final film. Paramount loaned Marjorie Reynolds to Universal for her role in the film. The Time of Their Lives was the first Abbott and Costello film to be directed by Charles Barton, who would go on to helm eight of their movies. The character of "Emily" is a spoof on the "Mrs. Danbury" character from the 1940 film Rebecca (See Entry), who was played by Judith ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Ghost Steps Out . The film boasts elaborate special effects, including ghosts passing through walls, driverless cars and floating objects. Although HR production charts include Almira Sessions in the cast, she did not appear in the final film. Paramount loaned Marjorie Reynolds to Universal for her role in the film. The Time of Their Lives was the first Abbott and Costello film to be directed by Charles Barton, who would go on to helm eight of their movies. The character of "Emily" is a spoof on the "Mrs. Danbury" character from the 1940 film Rebecca (See Entry), who was played by Judith Anderson. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17 Aug 1946.
---
Daily Variety
12 Aug 46
p. 3.
Film Daily
20 Aug 46
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 46
p. 47.
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 46
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 46
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 46
p. 3, 13
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
13 Apr 46
p. 2939.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Aug 46
p. 3149.
New York Times
28 Nov 46
p. 40.
Variety
14 Aug 46
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Prod
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score and dir
SOUND
Dir of sd
[Sd] tech
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog
Spec photog
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Dir of makeup
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Ghost Steps Out
Release Date:
16 August 1946
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 13 August 1946
Production Date:
early March--mid May 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
21 August 1946
Copyright Number:
LP513
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80 or 82
Country:
United States
PCA No:
11771
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York in 1780, Tom Danbury throws a ball in honor of his beautiful fiancée, Melody Allen, during which butler Cuthbert Greenways jealously watches the maid, Nora O'Leary, greet her beloved tinker, Horatio Prim. Nora discovers that although Horatio has failed to raise enough money to buy her out of indentured servitude, he has secured a letter of recommendation from George Washington, which will guarantee Melody's support of their marriage. Nora rushes to Tom's office in search of Melody, but hides in a closet when Tom and two Revolutionary officers enter. Cuthbert, meanwhile, locks Horatio in a trunk in the barn, determined to keep him from Nora. While standing outside the office window, Melody sees Tom and listens as he and the officers discuss their plans to surrender West Point and betray the revolutionists. Tom then discovers Nora with Horatio's letter and throws her to the soldiers. Melody, horrified, runs to the barn and disguises herself as a man, while Tom hides the letter in a secret compartment in his cuckoo clock. After Melody releases Horatio from the trunk, they race off to warn the Army of Tom's treachery. Revolutionary Maj. Andre Putnam, who is already on his way to arrest Tom, however, assumes they are traitors, kills them and curses their spirits to remain on the estate until they can be proven innocent. The next morning, the spirits of Melody and Horatio arise and realize they are cursed to haunt the manor for all time, with the letter from George Washington as the only proof of their innocence. Assuming that Tom has hidden the letter the house, they watch in sorrow as the soldiers burn down the ... +


In New York in 1780, Tom Danbury throws a ball in honor of his beautiful fiancée, Melody Allen, during which butler Cuthbert Greenways jealously watches the maid, Nora O'Leary, greet her beloved tinker, Horatio Prim. Nora discovers that although Horatio has failed to raise enough money to buy her out of indentured servitude, he has secured a letter of recommendation from George Washington, which will guarantee Melody's support of their marriage. Nora rushes to Tom's office in search of Melody, but hides in a closet when Tom and two Revolutionary officers enter. Cuthbert, meanwhile, locks Horatio in a trunk in the barn, determined to keep him from Nora. While standing outside the office window, Melody sees Tom and listens as he and the officers discuss their plans to surrender West Point and betray the revolutionists. Tom then discovers Nora with Horatio's letter and throws her to the soldiers. Melody, horrified, runs to the barn and disguises herself as a man, while Tom hides the letter in a secret compartment in his cuckoo clock. After Melody releases Horatio from the trunk, they race off to warn the Army of Tom's treachery. Revolutionary Maj. Andre Putnam, who is already on his way to arrest Tom, however, assumes they are traitors, kills them and curses their spirits to remain on the estate until they can be proven innocent. The next morning, the spirits of Melody and Horatio arise and realize they are cursed to haunt the manor for all time, with the letter from George Washington as the only proof of their innocence. Assuming that Tom has hidden the letter the house, they watch in sorrow as the soldiers burn down the manor. One hundred and sixty-five years later, the mansion's new owner, Sheldon "Shelly" Gage, brings his fiancée, June Prescott, and her friend, Mildred "Millie" Dean, to see how he has refurbished the manor with all its original furniture. Shelly's friend, psychiatrist Ralph Greenways, who is a descendent of Cuthbert, visits and explains the legend of the traitor ghosts who haunt the property. Ghost Horatio hears Ralph and, angered, decides to haunt them, but when he and Melody enter the new building, they find themselves frightened by such inventions as electric lights and the radio show The Phantom . Although everyone in the house is skeptical about the legend, Horatio's bumbling haunting soon convinces them the ghosts are real. Melody realizes that the letter may still be hidden in one of the pieces of furniture, but she cannot find it anywhere. Later that night, the group holds a seánce and housekeeper Emily summons the ghosts, who communicate by answering questions with raps on the table. As the group begins to understand the ghosts's plight, Tom's repentant spirit speaks through Emily and reveals the combination to the cuckoo clock's safe. After Shelly remembers that the cuckoo clock is only a replica of the original, which is in a Manhattan museum, Ralph visits the museum and steals the clock. He races back to the manor, where the police are waiting to arrest him, but Horatio and Melody haunt the police until they believe Shelly's story. The ghosts steal the police car and drive so wildly that the clock flies out of the car and the letter falls out. When the group reads the letter, the curse ends, and Horatio and Melody finally rise to heaven to meet Nora and Tom. +

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.