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The Man Who Returned to Life

The Man Who Returned to Life(1942)


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The tranquility of George Bishop's life is shattered when he reads a newspaper headline trumpeting that Clyde Beebe is to be hanged for the murder of David Jameson. The story causes George to recall a period, seven years earlier, when he was known to the townsfolk of Blissville, Maryland as David Jameson: Dave, a teller at Minerva Sunday's Blissville State Bank, is being pursued by Beth Beebe, a member of the mentally unstable Beebe family. Dave, however, is attracted to Daphne Turner, who is dating Beth's hot-tempered brother Clyde. When Daphne declines Dave's invitation to a dance, Beth coerces him into escorting her to the event. There, Beth lures Dave into "lover's lane," and after enticing him with a kiss, she suggests that they elope. Dave refuses her offer, and she runs, humiliated, across the dance floor. Seeing his sister in distress, Clyde follows her, while Dave asks Daphne to dance. After comforting Beth, Clyde returns to the party, and when he observes Dave dancing with Daphne, he pulls out a switchblade and slashes his rival's arm. When Daphne returns home that night, she finds Clyde waiting for her. Upset, Daphne informs Clyde that she never wants to see him again, and he leaves town to avoid facing an assault charge. Daphne and Dave then begin to date, and she helps him design plans to remodel an old farm that he has purchased. When Dave proposes to Daphne, Beth is heartbroken. While driving into town, she offers Dave a ride, and after he naïvely climbs into the car, she speeds away and declares that she will not permit him to marry Daphne. As Dave wrestles for control of the steering wheel, the car crashes over an embankment and Beth is killed. When Dave is indicted for Beth's murder, Miss Sunday sends for her nephew, attorney Harland Walker, to defend him. After the jury returns a deadlocked verdict, the judge reduces the charges to manslaughter and Dave is released on bail. Clyde, who has since returned to town, becomes furious and rallies the townsfolk against Dave. Dave, meanwhile, plans to take refuge at his farm, but when he approaches the door, he notices a rifle poised to blow off the head of any person crossing the threshold. When Clyde's brother Clem, leading an angry mob, arrives at the farm, Dave drops his suitcase and runs into the swamp, where he is found by a group of hoboes. As Dave sleeps, one of the tramps takes his ring and then returns to the farm for his suitcase. Becoming a vagabond himself, Dave rides the rails across the country. Near the California state line, Dave encounters a woman whose car has broken down. After fixing her car, Dave asks the woman for a ride across the state line, and she drives him to her home town of Ridgewood. Along the way, she introduces herself as Jane Meadows, and he tells her that his name is George Bishop. Deciding to remain in Ridgewood, Dave finds a job in a supply store and begins to date Jane. After winning a promotion, Dave proposes to Jane and they are married. Back in Blissville, Clyde and Daphne are also married. Time passes, and one day, a skeleton is found on the Jameson farm. Assuming that the skeleton is the remains of Dave Jameson, the district attorney arrests Clyde for murder, and he is sentenced to hang. His thoughts returning to the present, Dave contemplates his moral dilemma--remain silent or risk his own happiness to save the life of a man who wanted to murder him. Deciding that he must return to Blissville, Dave writes Jane a note and flies back East to the penitentiary in which Clyde is incarcerated. When Dave identifies himself as Dave Jameson, the prison staff is skeptical until Clyde recognizes him. Believing that Dave is a ghost, Clyde recounts setting up the rifle to kill Dave. Clyde is then convicted for the murder of the hobo, and Dave, exonerated of the manslaughter charges, returns home to the welcoming arms of his wife and daughter.