Friday, August 7, 2009

The Clock (1945)

Today's review is of The Clock . The movie is based on a short story by Paul Gallico. Arthur Freed was the producer. This production had several directors. During pre-production Jack Conway started shooting urbane scenes in New York but became ill and was replaced by Fred Zimmemann. Eventually, Fred Zimmemann was replaced by Vincente Minnelli,at the request of Judy Garland.

Vincente Minnelli was a Hollywood film director and Theatre director. His skilled integration of story, music, lighting, and design elements in a film made him the most critically respected crafter of musical film..... This was Garland's first dramatic role as well as the first motion picture made by her in which she did not sing. She also did not sing in Judgment at Nuremberg or A Child is Waiting.


Judy Garland- Alice Mayberry
Robert Walker -Cpl. Joe Allen
James Gleason- Al Henry
Keenan Wynn- The Drunk
Marshall Thompson -Bill
Lucille Gleason- Mrs. Al Henry
Ruth Brady -Helen
Paul E. Burns -Bartender
Chester Clute- Michael Henry
Dick Elliott- Friendly Man
Robert E. Homans- Official
Moyna MacGill- Luncheonette Lady
Arthur Space -Blood Tester
Ray Teal- Cop

Crew :

Vincente Minnelli-Director
Arthur Freed-Producer
Joseph Schrank-Screenwriter
Robert Nathan-Screenwriter
George Bassman-Composer (Music Score)
George Folsey-Cinematographer
Cedric Gibbons-Art Director
William Ferrari-Art Director
Irene-Costume Designer
George White-Editor
Edwin B. Willis-Set Designer
Mac Alper-Set Designer
Paul Gallico-Short Story Author
Pauline Gallico-Short Story Author
Arnold A. Gillespie-Special Effects
Warren Newcombe-Special Effects


Joe (Walker) meets Alice (Garland) in Pennsylvania Station (New York City). Alice trips over Joe's foot and the heel of her shoe breaks off. Joe makes puppy dog eyes at Alice and they end up spending hours at a museum before Alice has to go home. Later that evening, she breaks a date to meet Joe. They agree to meet under the clock at The Astor Hotel. After diner they walk around central park they try to hail a cab but end up hitching a ride with a milkman (Gleason). They will meet additional (funny) characters on their journey to the alter.

Walker's charm in this movie is his innocence. Joe is supposed to be an innocent midwesterner that has never been to NYC. I am not sure if any of the other popular actors would have been suited for this role. I have seen him in other dramas and he does a good job of portraying the wimpy, nerdy guy. Garland does a great job in this dramatic role. I think she is in the best shape of her life in this movie. Minnelli really captures Judy at best. He shows that she can carry a dramatic film.

We're not disappointed by the little roles, either - James and Lucille Gleason play a friendly milkman and his wife. James Gleason almost steals the film from Walker and Garland as the romantic minded milkman who gives them a lift and then when he gets injured, they finish his deliveries. Walker and Garland then join Gleason for breakfast at his home where his wife is played by his real life wife Lucille Gleason. The Gleasons would suffer a horrific tragedy that year when their son Russell Gleason was killed in a fall from a window, circumstances still unknown. In fact this was a tragic film all around because both Walker and Garland died way too young.,

Keenan Wynn plays a drunk in a diner, Ruth Brady plays Alice's housemate Ruth, and Marshall Thompson gathers many laughs all to himself as Ruth's silent boyfriend Bill, never allowed to say anything in response to her constant questioning, gossiping, and nagging.

The lady at the luncheonette counter in the diner is Moyna MacGill, Angela Landsbury's mother.

Irene does a good job of portraying the clothing of the period. There are not any glamour gowns in this movie.

Problems with the Movie:
Filming on location was not considered cost-effective or easy. Plus, World War II was still underway. Consequently, the Penn Station set was built inside one of the large sound stages at MGM Studios in Culver City, California. You can tell that some of the street scenes are process shots.

Clock Trivia:

The clocks in the film, the main timepiece is located in the Astor Hotel, Times Square. The famous hotel was once located at 1515 Broadway. Built in the Beaux Arts style in 1904, the Astor was demolished in 1967 and replaced by One Astor Plaza, a tall office-tower structure.

When Joe and Alice are accidentally separated, they find each other again at the set of Pennsylvania Station near the information desk. Another clock is depicted hanging there, closely resembling the one prominently displayed in Grand Central Station.

Additional Trivia:

In the opening scene, Robert Walker bums a light from a commuter played by none other than Arthur Freed (the producer).

The wistful piano player at the Italian restaurant is Roger Edens. Edens was the director of music at MGM and a close friend of Judy Garland.

The wife of the milkman, played by James Gleason is Gleason's real-life wife Lucile Gleason,
In the scene where
Judy Garland and Robert Walker are riding in the milk truck, the song being
played over the radio is "Our Love Affair" which was a hit song from Judy's movie Strike Up the Band (1940) with Mickey Rooney.


I think this is a good movie overall. It is pure fluff. It will put you in a good mood.


  1. I also love James Gleason as the taxi driver in THE BISHOP'S WIFE. Talk about a lighthearted fellow trying to help a romance along. Been a long time since I've seen THE CLOCK but great post.

  2. Thanks Rupert! I really like his performance in THE BISHOP'S WIFE. Especially the ice skating scene.


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