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On Borrowed Time

On Borrowed Time(1939)

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In an onscreen foreword, the producers of the film acknowledge that this story bears some resemblance to one in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. The tale to which they were referring is most likely "The Pardoner's Tale." Although an October 1938 Motion Picture Daily news item noted that producer Lucien Hubbard was given a production assignment on this film, his participation in the film has not been confirmed. The picture marked Sidney Franklin's film debut as a producer. Hollywood Reporter pre-production news items note that Harold Bucquet replaced H. C. Potter as the director just prior to the start of production, and that Lionel Barrymore, who was suffering from a disabling illness, was to have been replaced by Frank Morgan. Barrymore was reinstated in the role after he convinced studio heads that he could play the part despite his illness. According to a biography of Barrymore, although studio publicity material announced that he would walk again in the film, he was only able to stand for the final scene, while a moving backdrop made it appear as if he were walking. Actor Sonny Bupp took over the role originally assigned to Bobs Watson, who was reassigned to the role of Pud. Hollywood Reporter news items also indicate that some filming took place at Agoura Ranch in Agoura, CA, and that the final scenes were filmed in Bakersfield, CA, where desert flowers that were necessary to the story were located. A Celanese Theatre teleplay of On Borrowed Time, starring Ralph Morgan and Billy Chapin, was televised on the ABC network on June 25, 1952, and a Hallmark Hall of Fame production of the play, produced and directed by George Schaefer and starring Ed Wynn and Dennis Kohler, was televised on the NBC network on November 17, 1957.