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Charles Winninger, Harry Carey and C. Aubrey Smith in Beyond Tomorrow (1940) (aka: Beyond Christmas)

Do you like free stuff, well here is the good news "Beyond Tomorrow" can be watched for free online and totally legally as the copyright was never renewed. There are other reasons to want to watch it as it is also a pleasant 1940s drama which has a touch of comedy, a touch of romance, a bit of fantasy and some Christmas spirit. And by the end of "Beyond Tomorrow" you will probably be wondering, like many do, why this sentimental Christmas movie from 1940 isn't better known.

It's Christmas Eve and industrialists Melton (Harry Carey - Red River), Chadwick (C. Aubrey Smith - Rebecca) and O'Brien (Charles Winninger - Destry Rides Again) are disappointed when at the last minute they learn that their dinner guests won't be coming. So in a playful mood they each put $10 and their business card into individual wallets and throw them into the street to see if anyone will be decent enough to return them. Only two people do, firstly Jimmy Houston (Richard Carlson) and then Jean Lawrence (Jean Parker - The Flying Deuces) and out of thanks the eccentric old friends have them stop for dinner. Dinner leads to romance as Jimmy and Jean go on a succession of dates often with Melton, Chadwick and O'Brien nearby who become like parents to the youngsters. But then disaster strikes when firstly Melton, Chadwick and O'Brien are killed in a plane crash returning as ghosts and then Jimmy and Jean's romance hits a rocky patch as his career takes off.

Jean Parker and Richard Carlson in Beyond Tomorrow (1940) (aka: Beyond Christmas)

"Beyond Tomorrow" is the sort of sentimental Christmas movie which you need to be in the right mood to watch but if you are then it is 84 minutes of sweetness. The fact that the storyline is simple just adds to the charm as the first half focuses on the mischievous fun of the 3 old guys bringing Jimmy and Jean together and then the second half focuses on Jimmy's head being turned by fame and another woman with Michael O'Brien doing his best to intervene as a ghost. That is all there is to it but it is such a charming piece of simple seasonal fun that the lack of depth, and there really is no depth in this old movie, doesn't matter because it is old fashioned innocent fun.

A big reason why "Beyond Tomorrow" works is in the casting with Richard Carlson and Jean Parker nicely matched as young lovers Jimmy and Jean. But it is in the three industrialists it really works with Harry Carey giving us curmudgeonly as George Melton, whilst C. Aubrey Smith plays the more rational one in Allan Chadwick and then there is Charles Winninger who delivers the mischievous charm as Michael O'Brien. In truth none of the performances are memorable but they work perfectly for this fun, lightweight movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Beyond Tomorrow" is a charming little Christmas movie which you can watch for free online. I doubt you will remember it like some classic Christmas movies but for the 84 minutes it lasts it is a sweet distraction.

NB. This review is of the original 1940 version which is in Black & White, but in 2004 a colourized version called "Beyond Christmas" was released.

Tags: Christmas Movies

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