What Will Be Will Be
It's a windy New Years Eve and from their apartment echoes two gun shots as Broadway star Sheila Page (Joan Leslie) shoots her husband Barney (Louis Hayward). After seeking advice from a friend she visits her producer John Friday (Tom Conway) and discovers that somehow on the way there she has travelled back in time by a whole year. Initially confused she begins to realise that everything which happened in the last year which lead to her shooting her husband is going to happen again. The question is can Sheila change the course of events or is it a case of what will be will be?
I don't like the term film-noir as I find it over used but "Repeat Performance" certainly fits what I class as film-noir with its dark, pessimistic, fatalist views. But it also has to be one of the most interesting film-noirs which I have stumbled across because it has an element of science fiction/ fantasy with Sheila having the chance to live the last year of her life over. It's a novel set up and nicely handled with no big drama, just the sensible use of Sheila wishing she could go back in time and then without explanation finds herself 365 days earlier.
But the real story going on in "Repeat Performance" is how does Sheila deal with what she know will happen if things play out the same. She knows that her depressed playwright husband Barney will end up drinking more and ending up wandering whilst becoming more abusive. She also knows that her friend John will be committed to an insane asylum thanks to a woman that he meets at their New Years Eve party. And so we get to watch as Sheila tries to alter the path of what will happen and we wonder whether her attempts will be a success or will it be a case that are lives are pre-planned and what will be will be.
All of which is an entertaining drama, not always down beat but never bright and cheerful. But the success of it comes down to the interesting characters especially that of Sheila so wonderfully played by Joan Leslie. Watching her deal with the curious situation she is in of trying to change the future but finding out her endeavours are not always successful is captivating. But so is Louis Hayward who as Barney delivers the archetype husband who is over shadowed by his wife and struggles with it, mean, moody and often drunk.
What this all boils down to is that is "Repeat Performance" is an entertaining 1940's film-noir which has the unique idea of time travel. For devotees of film-noir it is probably great but for movie lovers it is solidly entertaining.