Life Begins at Eight-Thirty

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Life Begins at Eight-Thirty
Life Begins at Eight-Thirty - 1942 Poster.jpg
1942 Theatrical Poster
Directed by Irving Pichel
Produced by Nunnally Johnson
Written by Emlyn Williams (play)
Nunnally Johnson
F. Scott Fitzgerald (uncredited)
Starring Monty Woolley
Ida Lupino
Cornel Wilde
Music by Alfred Newman
Production
  company
Twentieth Century-Fox
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox
Release date(s)
  • December 9, 1942 (1942-12-09)
Running time 85 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Life Begins at Eight-Thirty is a 1942 drama film starring Monty Woolley as a washed-up, alcoholic actor, Ida Lupino as his daughter, and Cornel Wilde as her boyfriend. It is based on the play The Light of Heart by Emlyn Williams.

Plot Summary[edit]

New York actor Thomas Madden has fallen from grace due to alcoholism and manages to get fired from his job as Santa Claus in a department store on Christmas Eve. This puts both him and his sweet young daughter Kathi on the spot. Kathi is physically challenged with a paralyzed foot.

Because of the state he is in, Thomas is helped home to his daughter by a young composer named Robert Carter, who is their new neighbor. Robert takes a liking to Kathi and they become friends. Robert also manages to get Thomas a paid acting job, playing a part in a minor play he has made the music to. Robert's aunt Alma Lothian is a huge admirer of Thomas' previous work, and is overjoyed with the news of him getting the part. Kathi hopes that her father will take the chance and become as good as he once were. She is especially pleased with him slowing down on drinking.

One day when Kathi troes to buy new furniture for their apartment, she finds out that Thomas has large debts because of his drinking. She finds herself courted by Robert, who has fallen in love with her. She tells him she has hopes of a family but that she is scared of passing on her handicap to her children.

Thomas is offered a main part in a production of King Lear, bit gets cold feet because of all the hard work he will have to put in. Kathi is overjoyed with the offer and tries to pep him the best she can. Robert puts off a job in Hollywood to help arrange the music for the play.

Robert visits the doctor who delivered Kathi many years ago, and learns that her foot was damaged when Thomas dropped her when she was only a few months old. The doctor lied about the cause of the lameness to spare Thomas the guilt. This information makes Kathi accept Robert's proposal.

Thomas improves greatly during rehearsals, and the engaged couple decide to wait until after opening night to tell him about their plans to move to Hollywood. He finds out anyway and goes on a bender, thinking that Kathi is deserting him. He arrives drunk to the theater on the opening night and on top of everything else, Kathi is mad at him and reveals that he caused her lameness.

After their argument, Kathi feels guilty and regrets the decision to move to Hollywood. She talks to Robert and convinces him that they must stay in New York. Thomas overhears the conversation and realizes it is time she started a life of her own. He writes her a letter, urging her to move ahead as planned, then goes directly to Alma's home and accepts her proposal of marriage. [1]

Cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

The working title of this film was The Light of Heart. F. Scott Fitzgerald worked on the picture's screenplay. The extent of his contribution to the completed film has not been determined, however. Life Begins at Eight-Thirty was the last motion picture writing assignment for Fitzgerald, who died in December 1940. Williams' play was also the basis of a 1961 German film entitled Das Leben beginnt um acht, which was directed by Michael Kehlmann and starred O. E. Hasse and Johanna Matz.

The production ran from late July through late August 1942. Added scenes and retakes began 4 September 1942.

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