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Beyond Tomorrow

Beyond Tomorrow title card

Year - 1940
Studio - RKO
Stars - Richard Carlson, Jean Parker, Harry Carey, C. Aubrey Smith, Charles Winninger, Maria Ouspenskaya, Helen Vinsen
Director - A. Edward Sutherland
Writing Credits - Adele Comandini (screenplay), Mildred Cram (original story)
Music - Frank Tours


Three wealthy, elderly businessmen, George Melton(Harry Carey), Allan Chadwick (C. Aubrey Smith), and Michael O'Brien (Charles Winninger) are celebrating Christmas Eve. They try an experiment, where each of them throws a wallet containing their business card and ten dollars to the snowy sidewalk outside, agreeing to offer food and drink to anyone returning them. George is pessimistic about seeing his wallet again and, indeed, the finder keeps it. However, Allan's wallet is returned by James Houston (Richard Carlson), a young Texan in the city for a rodeo. Michael's wallet is also returned, by the lovely, young Jean Lawrence (Jean Parker). Both join the businessmen for dinner, and James demonstrates his beautiful singing voice, as he serenades the group with Christmas carols.

Beyond Tomorrow poster

The five people become great friends, and James is encouraged to explore professional singing opportunities. He auditions at a radio station and is a big hit with the studio audience, and with Arlene Terry (Helen Vinson), the star singer at the station.

The businessmen are asked to make a flight out of town for business purposes. Their house maid, Madame Tanya (Maria Ouspenskaya) has a premonition about the flight, but they assure her about their safety. But they are killed when the plane crashes.

Their spirits return to their home, where James and Jean now reside and who find that they have been left a substantial amount of money by the trio. George is eventually called to the beyond, however he is going the other direction for something he once did and will not ask forgiveness. Allan, too, is called when his son, killed in the war, appears and says that his mother and he are waiting.

Michael, however, is concerned about the relationship that is developing between James and the "soul-less" Arlene Terry, and his neglect of Jean. When Michael hears the call, he answers that he cannot go, that he must stay for James.

James and Arlene leave town together and, as they are having dinner in a restaurant, her jealous husband bursts in and shoots them both. Arlene is killed instantly, and James is in grave condition as doctors attempt to save his life, while Jean weeps at his side. His spirit leaves the operating table and joins Michael, who has now been given a second opportunity to ascend to Heaven. In addition, George has found his way through the "darkness" and he, too, will be allowed to go above. Michael requests that James be given a second chance. James revives and, having learned his lesson, vows to never leave Jean again.

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