The Law of Contact

Repeat Performance (May 22, 1947)

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Repeat Performance
 

Released on May 22, 1947: (running time 1 hour and 31 minutes) After murdering her husband on New Year's Eve, an actress wishes for the chance to live the year over again, so that she can keep from becoming a killer.

Produced by Aubrey Schenck

Directed by Alfred L. Werker

The Actors: Joan Leslie (Sheila Page), Louis Hayward (Barny Page),Virginia Field (Paula Costello), Tom Conway (John Friday), Richard Basehart (William Williams), Natalie Schafer (Eloise Shaw), Benay Venuta (Bess Michaels), Ilka Gruning (Mattie, Sheila's housekeeper), Keefe Brasselle (delivery boy), Ralph Brooks (New Year's Eve reveler), Jean Del Val (Tony, waiter), Abe Dinovitch (peanut vendor), John Dutriz (Ricardo), Dick Gordon (party guest), Alf Haugan (attendant), Leyland Hodgson (ship steward), Patrick Hurst (Virgil), John Ireland (narrator), Mike Lally (party guest), Raymond Largay (Hillgardner, producer), Lory Leeman (actress), Wilbur Mack (New Year's Eve reveler), Michael Markham (stage manager), Philip Morris (policeman), Tim Murdock (actor), Ann Roberts (party guest), Gale Ronn (party guest), Mildred Sellers (actress), Bud Townsend (party guest), Valerie Traxler (party guest), Mack Williams (doctor), Eric Wilton (New Year's Eve reveler)

 

The Law of Contact

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A Tragic Wish at a Magic Time, and Murder at Midnight, New Year's Eve

The year was 1934, and the world was engulfed in the Great Depression. Nine-year-old Joan Agnes Theresa Sadie Brodel was helping the family survive by dancing and singing on the Vaudeville circuit with her older sisters, and when a theater owner asked her how old she was, she promptly told him that she was sixteen years old, just as she had rehearsed.

Two years later, when she was really only eleven years old, she got a contract with MGM for two hundred dollars a week, adopting the stage name Joan Leslie. Her first part in a movie was with Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor in Camille, but her scenes were cut from the film before it was released. At the age of fifteen, she was asked to do a screen test, and was not even told what movie or what role she would be testing for. Because she could cry easily on cue, she was given the role of crippled teenager Velma in High Sierra, starring Humphrey Bogart.

Her career was rising fast, but by 1946 she was blacklisted from the big Hollywood studios thanks to the efforts of Jack Warner, because she would not play a character that would be against her Catholic Church morals. She sought work with independent producers, and this movie in 1947 was her first independent role.

In 1950 she married a doctor, and left acting to raise her twin daughters, who both became doctors teaching in medical schools. After her twin daughters were grown, she returned to acting, appearing last in a movie for television in 1991, passing in 2015 at the age of 90.

As our movie opens, it is New Year’s Eve, and Joan Leslie is Sheila Page, a famous Broadway actress. The bedroom is dark, it is almost midnight, and she is aiming a gun at her husband. Shots ring out, and her husband drops to the floor. The clock strikes Midnight, a new year is beginning, and the frightened actress drops the gun into her purse and runs away.

She is sorry that she killed her husband, because she really loved him, and still does. But he had an open and torrid love affair with a blonde lady in front of her friends and the world, and enough is enough.

As the minutes tick by in this new year, she wonders: “If only I could live this year over again. I could prevent my husband from meeting the blonde home-wrecker. I could keep my husband from falling in love with anyone else, and it would be a very different New Years. – If only.”

Suddenly she discovers that it is a few minutes past midnight, - a year earlier. Everything she remembers from the year and the murder of her husband has not happened yet. She has one year to re-live her life, and try her hardest to make it come out differently. This time she will arrange things so that her husband will never meet the blonde temptress. This time she will make the year go very differently. This time there will not be a murder at midnight on New Year’s Eve, . . . or will there? Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.  

Joan Leslie
Joan Leslie
Benay Venuta and Richard Basehart
Benay Venuta and Richard Basehart
Ilka Gruning
Ilka Grüning
Jean Del Val
Jean Del Val
Jean Del Val
Jean Del Val
Joan Leslie
Joan Leslie
Joan Leslie
Joan Leslie
Joan Leslie and Louis Hayward
Joan Leslie and Louis Hayward
Joan Leslie and Richard Basehart
Joan Leslie and Richard Basehart
Joan Leslie
Joan Leslie
Louis Hayward
Louis Hayward
Louis Hayward and Ilka Gruning
Louis Hayward and Ilka Gruning
Louis Hayward and Jean Del Val
Louis Hayward and Jean Del Val
Louis Hayward and Joan Leslie
Louis Hayward and Joan Leslie
Louis Hayward and Joan Leslie
Louis Hayward and Joan Leslie
Louis Hayward, Natalie Schafer, Raymond Largay
Louis Hayward, Natalie Schafer, Raymond Largay
Louis Hayward, Natalie Schafer
Louis Hayward, Natalie Schafer
Louis Hayward
Louis Hayward
Mack Williams
Mack Williams
Mack Williams and Joan Leslie
Mack Williams and Joan Leslie
Natalie Schafer
Natalie Schafer
Natalie Schafer, Patrick Hurst
Natalie Schafer, Patrick Hurst
Raymond Largay
Raymond Largay
Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart and Joan Leslie
Richard Basehart and Joan Leslie
Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart and Natalie Schafer
Richard Basehart and Natalie Schafer
Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart
Tom Conway
Tom Conway
Tom Conway, Joan Leslie
Tom Conway, Joan Leslie
Tom Conway
Tom Conway
Virginia Field
Virginia Field
Virginia Field
Virginia Field
Virginia Field
Virginia Field