Johnny Come Lately (1943)

97 mins | Comedy-drama | 3 September 1943

Director:

William K. Howard

Writer:

John Van Druten

Producer:

William Cagney

Cinematographer:

Theodor Sparkuhl

Production Designer:

Jack Okey

Production Company:

Cagney Productions, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working title of this film was McLeod's Folly . According to a news item in LAEx , Louis Bromfield's novel McLeod's Folly was originally serialized in Cosmopolitan magazine as You Get What You Give . HR news items reported that Bell Pictures Corp. bought the film rights to McLeod's Folly in 1940 for an independent production, and also that producer Jack Forrester optioned the novel in 1941 for a possible film project. A news item in FD noted that Agnes Christine Johnston was originally slated to write the screenplay, but her contribution to the final film has not been determined. According to HR news items, Alfred Henry Hall was cast in the film, but died on the set prior to shooting a scene, and does not appear in the film.
       Johnny Come Lately marks stage actress Grace George's feature film debut and was the first film produced by Cagney Productions, Inc., a company formed by actor James Cagney and his brother William. Leigh Harline was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy ... More Less

The working title of this film was McLeod's Folly . According to a news item in LAEx , Louis Bromfield's novel McLeod's Folly was originally serialized in Cosmopolitan magazine as You Get What You Give . HR news items reported that Bell Pictures Corp. bought the film rights to McLeod's Folly in 1940 for an independent production, and also that producer Jack Forrester optioned the novel in 1941 for a possible film project. A news item in FD noted that Agnes Christine Johnston was originally slated to write the screenplay, but her contribution to the final film has not been determined. According to HR news items, Alfred Henry Hall was cast in the film, but died on the set prior to shooting a scene, and does not appear in the film.
       Johnny Come Lately marks stage actress Grace George's feature film debut and was the first film produced by Cagney Productions, Inc., a company formed by actor James Cagney and his brother William. Leigh Harline was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 Sep 1943.
---
Daily Variety
14 May 1943.
---
Daily Variety
26 Aug 43
p. 3, 6
Film Daily
22 Oct 1942.
---
Film Daily
30 Aug 43
p 7.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 1940.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 1941.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 43
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 43
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Sep 43
p. 7.
Los Angeles Examiner
22 Oct 1942.
---
Motion Picture Herald
28 Aug 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Jun 43
p 1375.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
28 Aug 43
p. 1505.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
25 Sep 43
p. 1559.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 Dec 43
p. 1655.
New York Herald Tribune
22 Oct 1942.
---
New York Times
1 May 1943.
---
New York Times
24 Sep 43
p. 26.
Variety
1 Sep 43
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novella McLeod's Folly by Louis Bromfield in his It Takes All Kinds (New York, 1939).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
McLeod's Folly
Release Date:
3 September 1943
Production Date:
5 April--late May 1943 at Samuel Goldwyn Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Cagney Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 September 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12377
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
97
Length(in feet):
8,757
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9450
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Vinnie McLeod, a wealthy small-town matron, has been publishing the Plattsville Shield and Banner newspaper, whose motto is "A Shield for the Oppressed, a Banner for the Brave," since her husband's death thirty years earlier. In 1906, Vinnie still fervently believes in maintaining the integrity and freedom that typifies life in Plattsville, and furnishes the basement of her mansion, which was built by her husband and is known as "McLeod's Folly," with beds and has her housekeeper, Aida, supply food for homeless and hungry vagabonds. Vinnie has hit on hard times, however, and has been consigning her silver heirlooms for cash. One afternoon in the town park, she encounters drifter Tom Richards reading Charles Dickens' novel The Pickwick Papers . She is delighted to find another lover of literature, but advises Tom to seek shelter at her house to avoid being arrested for vagrancy. When Vinnie goes to the courthouse to gather information for her paper's crime report, she finds that Tom did not follow her advice. Tom pleads innocent and tries to prove that he is not a vagrant because he has two dollars in his pocket and walked all night rather than sleeping on public land. The judge is infuriated by Tom's quick wit, but Vinnie is delighted, and offers to hire the former newspaper reporter. The judge reluctantly agrees and places Tom in Vinnie's custody for two months' probation. Tom, who refuses to accept pay from Vinnie, soon learns that she is fighting a losing battle against the corruption of Bill Dougherty, a leading citizen and contractor who is running for office. In spite of Dougherty's threats, ... +


Vinnie McLeod, a wealthy small-town matron, has been publishing the Plattsville Shield and Banner newspaper, whose motto is "A Shield for the Oppressed, a Banner for the Brave," since her husband's death thirty years earlier. In 1906, Vinnie still fervently believes in maintaining the integrity and freedom that typifies life in Plattsville, and furnishes the basement of her mansion, which was built by her husband and is known as "McLeod's Folly," with beds and has her housekeeper, Aida, supply food for homeless and hungry vagabonds. Vinnie has hit on hard times, however, and has been consigning her silver heirlooms for cash. One afternoon in the town park, she encounters drifter Tom Richards reading Charles Dickens' novel The Pickwick Papers . She is delighted to find another lover of literature, but advises Tom to seek shelter at her house to avoid being arrested for vagrancy. When Vinnie goes to the courthouse to gather information for her paper's crime report, she finds that Tom did not follow her advice. Tom pleads innocent and tries to prove that he is not a vagrant because he has two dollars in his pocket and walked all night rather than sleeping on public land. The judge is infuriated by Tom's quick wit, but Vinnie is delighted, and offers to hire the former newspaper reporter. The judge reluctantly agrees and places Tom in Vinnie's custody for two months' probation. Tom, who refuses to accept pay from Vinnie, soon learns that she is fighting a losing battle against the corruption of Bill Dougherty, a leading citizen and contractor who is running for office. In spite of Dougherty's threats, Vinnie refuses to print articles he has written in support of his campaign. On his own initiative, Tom confronts Dougherty, who calls him a "Johnny Come Lately" and threatens his life. Tom immediately returns to Vinnie with the articles and proposes a plan to combat Dougherty. Vinnie appoints Tom managing editor of her small staff, which includes her niece Jane, the society reporter who is in love with Dougherty's honest son Pete, and Willie Ferguson, a tippler who has been the sole reporter for the paper for thirty years. Tom closes the paper for three days, during which time he completely revamps the format. The new paper publishes Dougherty's articles but includes a disclaimer advising the readers of the "lies contained therein." The aggressive campaign succeeds in scaring Dougherty, who attempts to hire Tom to work for his newspaper. Tom next tries to rally the community against Dougherty, but the people he approaches, including Gashouse Mary, who pays protection money to Dougherty so that her social club will not be shut down, and Bill Swain, a Democratic leader in the state capital who garners most of his votes from Dougherty, cannot afford to alienate the powerful contractor. Dougherty continues to fight dirty, and has the mortgages on Vinnie's home and newspaper transferred to him. When Vinnie and Tom are shot at in her front yard by Dudley Hirsh, an ex-convict and Dougherty's campaign manager, Tom chases Hirsh and his henchman and throws them both from their wagon. After Tom publishes news of the assault and reports that Vinnie's hand was wounded, the citizens form a reform committee and appoint Tom to be the leader. Gashouse Mary offers her support, but when she heckles Dougherty, he has her arrested for disturbing the peace. Swain is so outraged that Gashouse Mary, who is his former girl friend, is in jail that he has her freed and pledges his full support to the reform cause. That night, an angry crowd assembles and parades past Dougherty's house, brandishing a hanging effigy of the candidate. Pete, who has always been ignorant of his father's corruption and who has tried in vain to assure Jane of his sincere love, challenges Tom to a fistfight. Although he is beaten by Tom, Pete regains Jane's love and loyalty. Dougherty demands Tom's arrest, but when a mob led by Gashouse Mary storms the jail, the police free Tom and desert the jail. Dougherty, out of consideration to his son, finally gives in to the pressure and agrees to retire and move to Florida. Before he leaves, he expresses his admiration for Vinnie, and cancels her mortgages. Peace and integrity are restored to Plattsville, and Tom, hearing the call of the train whistle, hops the next freight car out of town. +

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

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