O. Henry's Full House

O. Henry's Full House is a 1952 American anthology film made by 20th Century Fox, consisting of five films, each based on a story by O. Henry.[2]

O. Henry's Full House
O. Henry's Full House Poster.jpg
Theatrical film poster
Directed byHenry Koster
Henry Hathaway
Jean Negulesco
Howard Hawks
Henry King
Produced byAndré Hakim
Screenplay byRichard L. Breen
Walter Bullock
Ivan Goff
Ben Hecht
Nunnally Johnson
Charles Lederer
Ben Roberts
Lamar Trotti
Based onShort stories
by O. Henry
StarringFred Allen
Anne Baxter
Jeanne Crain
Farley Granger
Charles Laughton
Oscar Levant
Marilyn Monroe
Jean Peters
Gregory Ratoff
Dale Robertson
David Wayne
Richard Widmark
Narrated byJohn Steinbeck
Music byAlfred Newman
CinematographyLloyd Ahern
Lucien Ballard
Milton R. Krasner
Joseph MacDonald
Edited byNick DeMaggio
Barbara McLean
William B. Murphy
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • September 18, 1952 (1952-09-18)
Running time
117 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1 million (US rentals)[1]

The film was produced by André Hakim and directed by five directors from five screenplays with different authors. The music score was composed by Alfred Newman. The film is narrated by author John Steinbeck, who made his only on-camera appearance to introduce each story.

Howard Hawks' "The Ransom of Red Chief" was so poorly received that the studio removed it before the film opened widely.[3][4]

The five storiesEdit

"The Cop and the Anthem"Edit

Directed by Henry Koster, from a screenplay by Lamar Trotti, it stars Charles Laughton, Marilyn Monroe and David Wayne. As winter approaches, a vagrant decides it's time for his annual winter spell in prison. But no matter how hard he tries, he cannot get himself arrested.

"The Clarion Call"Edit

Directed by Henry Hathaway, from a screenplay by Richard L. Breen, it stars Dale Robertson and Richard Widmark. Plot: A detective cannot arrest a murderer he knows from his past due to his honor involving an outstanding financial debt to the criminal. Once a newspaper offers a reward, after being mocked by the criminal, the detective arrests the criminal and collects the reward to repay the debt.

This vignette reunited Henry Hathaway and Richard Widmark who'd worked together on the noir classic Kiss of Death (1947). Widmark's character in The Clarion Call, "Johnny Kernan", is actually a reprise of his Oscar-nominated character "Tommy Udo" from Kiss of Death. Widmark's Udo/Kernan character was inspired by his love of Batman comics' "The Joker". The Tommy Udo performance in turn influenced Frank Gorshin in preparation for his "Riddler" character on the Batman TV series in the 1960s.

Richard Widmark as Johnny Kernan in O. Henry's Full House (1952) anthology film. The Kernan character (a reprise of Widmark's "Tommy Udo") appears in the segment entitled "The Clarion Call", directed by Henry Hathaway.

"The Last Leaf"Edit

Directed by Jean Negulesco, from a screenplay by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts, it stars Anne Baxter, Jean Peters, and Gregory Ratoff. The story is set in Greenwich Village during a pneumonia epidemic. An old artist saves the life of a young artist, dying of pneumonia, by giving her the will to live. She can see an ivy plant through the window gradually losing its leaves, and has taken it into her head that she will die when the last leaf falls. Seemingly, it never does fall, and she survives. In reality, the vine lost all its leaves. What she thought she saw was in actuality a leaf, painted on the wall with perfect realism, by the old artist. The old artist dies of a heart attack while out in the wet and cold, painting the last leaf.

"The Ransom of Red Chief"Edit

Directed by Howard Hawks, from a screenplay by Ben Hecht, Nunnally Johnson and Charles Lederer, it stars Fred Allen, Oscar Levant, Lee Aaker, Irving Bacon, Kathleen Freeman, and Robert Easton. Two con men kidnap a child in order to collect a substantial ransom, but the child proves to be too much for them.

"The Gift of the Magi"Edit

Directed by Henry King, from a screenplay by Walter Bullock, it stars Jeanne Crain and Farley Granger. On Christmas Eve, with little money, Della sells her hair to buy her husband Jim a watch fob. Jim has sold his watch to buy her a pair of ornamental combs. When they exchange these now useless gifts, they realize how deep is their love for one another.


  1. ^ 'Top Box-Office Hits of 1952', Variety, January 7, 1953.
  2. ^ Crowther, Bosley (October 17, 1952). "THE Four O. Henry Short Stories Offered in Fox Movie at Trans-Lux 52d Street". The New York Times.
  3. ^ McCarthy, Todd (2007). Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood. Open Road + Grove/Atlantic. ISBN 9780802196408.
  4. ^ Hicks, Chris (December 15, 2006). "Old favorite 'O.Henry' on DVD at last". Deseret Morning News. Retrieved August 18, 2019.

External linksEdit