Cast & Crew
Giorgi Papashvily, an immigrant from Georgia in Russia, arrives in New York City on an ocean liner. Giorgi speaks no English, but his friend, Nuri Bey, a Turk, translates for him as he is interviewed by an immigration official. The official welcomes Giorgi, saying that all people are foreigners in America. Enthralled by the city, Giorgi gets a job tarring roofs, and as he gradually learns to speak English, he asks around town about his uncle John, a chef with whom he has communicated since 1936. When Pedras, one of his friends, picks some flowers in Central Park, Giorgi, Pedras and Nuri Bey are ticketed by an officer. They go to a "fixer" to take care of the ticket, but Giorgi refuses to pay him, saying he is not guilty. In court, while mangling the language, Giorgi convinces the judge that he did not pick the flowers. Helen Watson, the court transcriber, is pleased to learn that Giorgi is from Georgia, and after the judge dismisses the case, tells Giorgi that she is a collector of folk music. Learning that he can sing and play on the guitar songs from his village, she invites him to her apartment to sing and record for her and other folk song collectors. On one of the recordings, he recognizes the voice of Uncle John. He then locates Uncle John working at a restaurant, and Uncle John brings Giorgi to live at the boardinghouse of Anna Godiedze, home to immigrants from a number of different countries. Helen invites Giorgi and Nuri Bey to dinner, and after she twice calls Giorgi "a darling," he finds the meaning of the word in a dictionary as "dearly beloved." Striken with love, he invites her to the boardinghouse for dinner. During the meal, Giorgi, now five months in America, looks over his friends and comments that if a Georgian, Syrian, Turk and Armenian can eat together, then in America, "anything can happen." When Uncle John sadly tells Helen that he failed the citizenship test because he mixed up the names of presidents, she offers to coach him. Sometime later, the boarders, seeing that Giorgi is heartsick, decide he should propose to Helen; however, before he can ask her, she relates that her grandmother in Pasadena has had a stroke, and she must fly there for two weeks. She calls him "dear" and kisses him on the cheek before she leaves. Two months later, Giorgi is despondent, as Helen has reported that her grandmother has gotten neither better nor worse. Uncle John proposes that they go to California with money he has saved. To their dismay, the whole household wants to join them, except for Eliko Tornavily, who has tried to keep records on all Georgians living in the U.S. In the Southwest, the group gets stuck in a hole. Giorgi finds two American Indians to help, and Uncle John instructs the group to treat them with respect, as they were the first citizens of the country. As they approach Los Angeles, they decide to go first to Azusa, where Eliko's cousin Besso lives. When Giorgi expresses the wish to own a ranch like Besso's, where he could grow oranges, Besso offers to lend him money, saying he wants to move to Nevada, where the nearest neighbor would be fifty miles away, and Giorgi agrees. He visits Helen and her grandmother, who takes a liking to him. Seeing that he is humbled by their expensive house and vast acreage of orange trees, Helen's grandmother tells of the success of her husband, a poor man who emigrated from Scotland in 1903 when he was Giorgi's age. This incites Giorgi's determination, and he writes Eliko, who asks all the Georgians in California to come with their friends one Sunday to help overhaul the ranch. Uncle John, who plans to take the citizenship exam soon, reveals to Helen that once the ranch is in operation, Giorgi plans to marry her. Greatly shaken, Helen admits to Uncle John that she is not in love. She tries to tell Giorgi, but because of his great enthusiasm over his plans, she cannot. During a celebration for Besso, Uncle John suffers a heart attack. As he lies in bed dying, Helen brings a judge to his bedside, who, after questioning him on the reasons immigrants have come to the U.S., administers the oath and confers citizenship on the proud man. Uncle John dies holding Giorgi's and Helen's hands. At Christmas time, Helen's grandmother talks to her about Giorgi, reminding her that Helen's former husband did not need her, while Giorgi does. She advises Helen that the only basis for marriage is to be needed and wanted in everyday life, not the "chill up and down her spine" that Helen says she does not get from Giorgi. Just then, the radio broadcasts frost warnings. Helen is upset that Giorgi has not gotten expert help with his orange trees. She rushes to his groves and with irritation yells and instructs Giorgi, who has been using a book, that he is improperly placing the smudge pots. The next day, after most of the trees have been saved, Giorgi proposes. She accepts, she says, because she now feels she needs him.
Rev. Vasilios Markopoulos
E. G. Marshall
Daniel L. Fapp
Edward J. Ralph
Donald A. Robb
Anything Can Happen - Anything Can Happen
By the time production began on Anything Can Happen in mid-1951, José Ferrer had already distinguished himself as a stage actor and director and had won several Tony Awards. He had also appeared in films, including the film version of his stage hit Cyrano de Bergerac (1950). In early 1951, a few weeks after he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar® for that performance, Ferrer was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, the congressional group that was investigating communism in the entertainment industry. Ferrer, who had been supportive of progressive causes but was not a Communist, won the Oscar® anyway. In May he testified before the Committee and declared himself a patriotic American, but refused to name names. The following month, production began on Anything Can Happen.
Kim Hunter was having one of the best years of her career. Following her Broadway triumph as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), she had just reprised the role in the film version, to great acclaim. Like Ferrer, Hunter had also been active in liberal causes. But unlike him, she was not called to testify before HUAC. Instead, her name appeared in a pamphlet called "Red Channels," which listed suspected Communist sympathizers. Even though she won an Oscar® as Best Supporting Actress for Streetcar the following year, she was blacklisted, and did not work again in film or television for five years. Anything Can Happen was her final film appearance until 1956.
Anything Can Happen was screened for delegates to a United Nations conference in New York. According to a New York Times article, a Paramount spokesman said that "the picture, by showing assimilation to the American way of life and the opportunities available to all Americans, illustrates what UNESCO is trying to accomplish." The Los Angeles Examiner, in its review, agreed with that assessment. "I'm sure that Messrs. William Perlberg and George Seaton, its producer-director-writer combination, didn't intend it to be American propaganda -- but it is that, so completely and thoroughly, that I wish it could be shown in every city, town and hamlet behind the iron curtain." Most reviews were equally favorable, though Bosley Crowther's New York Times review called it "superficial," and perhaps alluding to the current political climate, added, "the cozy picture Mr. Seaton presents of a band of genial eccentrics singing songs and having feasts in old-country style, as of the present, is in the realm of pure myth."
Rabid anti-communists weren't buying it either. Members of an American Legion post picketed a theater in Baltimore that was showing Anything Can Happen because Ferrer had been summoned by HUAC, even though the committee had cleared him. Ferrer had another, more important film released in late 1952, Moulin Rouge, with Ferrer giving a spectacular performance as the tortured artist Toulouse-Lautrec. He earned another Oscar® nomination as Best Actor for his portrayal. Once again, the American Legion picketed the film. At Oscar® time, columnist Hedda Hopper, who two years earlier supposedly had threatened to stand up and unfurl an American flag if Ferrer won (he did, she didn't), wrote in her column that she would resign from the Academy if Ferrer won. He lost, but his career did not suffer as Hunter's did. He continued to act and direct on stage, appeared in dozens of features and television films, and also directed six feature films. He died in 1992, at the age of 80.
Director: George Seaton
Producer: William Perlberg
Screenplay: George Seaton, George Oppenheimer, based on the book By Giorgi and Helen Papashvily
Cinematography: Daniel L. Fapp
Editor: Alma Mcrorie
Costume Design: Edith Head
Art Direction: Hal Pereira, A. Earl Hedrick
Music: Victor Young
Cast: José Ferrer (Giorgi Papashvily), Kim Hunter (Helen Watson), Kurt Kasznar (Nuri Bey), Eugenie Leontovich (Anna Godiedze), Oscar Karlweis (Uncle Besso), Oscar Beregi (Uncle John), Mikhail Rasumny (Tariel Godiedze), Nick Dennis (Chancho), Gloria Marlowe (Luba Godiedze), George Voskovec (Pavli).
by Margarita Landazuri
Anything Can Happen - Anything Can Happen
TCM Remembers - Kim Hunter
KIM HUNTER, 1922-2002
Kim Hunter, the versatile, distinguished actress who won the Supporting Actress Academy Award for her portrayal as the long-suffering Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and appeared as Dr. Zira in three Planet of the Apes movies, died in her Greenwich Village apartment from an apparent heart attack on September 11, 2002. She was 79.
Born Janet Cole in Detroit on November 12, 1922, where her mother was a concert pianist, she made her professional debut at 17 with a small theatre company in Miami. She gained notice immediately with her strong voice and alluring presence, and eventually studied at the Actors' Studio in New York.
She made a striking film debut in an eerie, low-budget RKO horror film, The Seventh Victim (1943), produced by Val Lewton. She played a similar ingenue role in another stylish cult flick, When Strangers Meet (1944) - a film directed by William Castle and notable for featuring Robert Mitchum in one of his first starring roles. Hunter's big break came two years later when Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger cast her in their splendid romantic fantasy, Stairway to Heaven (1946).
Despite her growing popularity as a screen actress, Hunter returned to the stage to make her Broadway debut as Stella in Tennessee Williams'A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). When Elia Kazan adapted the production for the silver screen, she continued her role as Stella opposite Marlon Brando, and won an Oscar as best supporting actress. A few more film roles followed, but sadly her screen career entered a lull in the late 1950s, after Hunter, a liberal Democrat, was listed as a communist sympathizer by Red Channels, a red-hunting booklet that influenced hiring by studios and the Television networks. Kim was blacklisted from both mediums despite never having been labeled a Communist, yet as a strong believer in civil rights she signed a lot of petitions and was a sponsor of a 1949 World Peace Conference in New York. She was widely praised in the industry for her testimony to the New York Supreme Court in 1962 against the publishers of Red Channels, and helped pave the way for clearance of many performers unjustly accused of Communist associations.
Hunter spent the next few years on the stage and didn't make a strong impression again in films until she was cast as Dr. Zira in the Planet of the Apes (1968), as a simian psychiatrist in the classic science fiction film. The success of that film encouraged her to continue playing the same character in two back-to-back sequels - Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) and Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971). Hunter spent the remainder of her career on the stage and television, but she a terrific cameo role in Clint Eastwood's Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil (1997), one of her last films. She is survived by her daughter Kathryn, from her first marriage to William Baldwin, and her son Sean, from her marriage to actor and producer Robert Emmett.
By Michael T. Toole
TCM REMEMBERS J. LEE THOMPSON, 1914 - 2002
Oscar-nominated director J. Lee Thompson died August 30th at the age of 88. Though he worked in several genres, Thompson was best-known for his action films. Thompson was born in Bristol England on August 1, 1914. After graduating from college he became a playwright and it was the appearance of one of his plays on London's famous West End that got him noticed by the British film studio, Elstree. His first filmed script was The Pride of Folly in 1937 and others appeared sporadically until his career was side-tracked during the war when Thompson served in the RAF as a B-29 tail gunner. (He also reportedly worked as a dialogue coach on Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn, 1939.) Thompson's directorial debut came in 1950 when he adapted his own play Double Error to the screen as Murder Without Crime. Throughout the decade he directed a variety of dramas and comedies until hitting it big in 1958 with Ice Cold in Alex (released in the US minus 50 minutes under the title Desert Attack). It was nominated for three BAFTAs and was enough of a commercial success that Thompson landed the film that made his career: The Guns of Navarone (1961). This enormous international hit snagged Thompson an Oscar nomination for Best Director. He immediately followed that with the original Cape Fear (1962) and his reputation was set. Though Thompson remained active almost three more decades he didn't reach that level again. He worked on Westerns (Mackenna's Gold, 1969), horror films (Eye of the Devil, 1967), literary adaptations (Huckleberry Finn, 1974) and others. During this time, Thompson directed two Planet of the Apes sequels but was kept most busy working with Charles Bronson, for whom he directed nine films. Thompson's last film was in 1989.
KATRIN CARTLIDGE, 1961 - 2002
The news of actress Katrin Cartlidge's death at the age of 41 has come as a shock. It's not just the age but the thought that even though Cartlidge was already a major actress--despite a slender filmography--she held out the promise of even greater work, a promise that so few artists of any type can make. "Fearless" is perhaps the word most often used to describe Cartlidge but emotions are never enough for an actor; much more is required. Director Mike Leigh said she had "the objective eye of an artist" while remarking on her "her deep-seated suspicion of all forms of woolly thinking and received ideas."
Cartlidge was born in London on May 15, 1961. Her first acting work was on the stage, in tiny independent theatres before she was selected by Peter Gill for the National Theatre. Cartlidge also worked as a dresser at the Royal Court where she later made one of her final stage appearances. She began appearing in the popular British TV series Brookside before making her first film in 1985, Sacred Hearts. A small role in the Robbie Coltrane-Rik Mayall vehicle Eat the Rich (1987) followed before Cartlidge had her first leading role in Mike Leigh's scathing Naked (1993).
Cartlidge never took a safe approach in her films. She told The Guardian that "I try to work with film-makers who I feel will produce something original, revealing and provoking. If something provokes a reaction, it's well worth doing." You can see this in her choice of projects. Before the Rain (1994) dramatized violence in Macedonia in the wake of the Yugoslavian break-up and made Cartlidge something of a star in the area. She appeared in Lars Von Trier's controversial look at redemption, Breaking the Waves (1996), Leigh's sharply detailed story of aging friends Career Girls (1997), as one of Jack the Ripper's victims in From Hell (2001), as a call girl trying to leave the business in Clair Dolan (1998) and in the Oscar-winning film about Bosnia-Herzegovina, No Man's Land (2001). Her last work included a BBC adaptation of Crime and Punishment (2002), playing Salvador Dali's wife Gala in the BBC comedy-drama Surrealissimo (2002) and an appearance in Rosanna Arquette's directorial debut, Searching for Debra Winger (also 2002), a documentary about women in the film industry.
Cartlidge died September 7th from septicaemia brought on by pneumonia.
By Lang Thompson
TCM Remembers - Kim Hunter
Parts of the best-selling book, Anything Can Happen, described as an autobiographical novel, appeared originally as short stories in the magazines Direction and Common Ground. Location shooting for the film was done in New York City; Gallup, New Mexico, at an Indian reservation; and in California in West Covina ("Besso's" farm), Pasadena ("Helen's" grandmother's house), Azusa, Saugas and Simi. The S.S. Saturnia was used in the opening scenes of the boat entering New York harbor. Author George Papashvily appeared as an extra on the boat. Other New York scenes were shot in Central Park, on a midtown bus and at 153 E. 57 St. at the Magistrate's Court. According to publicity, the film marked the screen debuts of Oscar Beregi, who was a top Hungarian actor before the postwar Communist government; George Voskovec, known as the Czech Charlie Chaplin; Alex Danaroff, a restaurateur; and stage actors Oscar Karlweiss and Gloria Marlowe. Natasha Lytess was loaned from Twentieth Century-Fox. The film marked Eugenie Leontovich's first screen appearance since the 1941 Columbia release The Men in Her Life (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50).
Tiny Timbrell, formerly a guitarist in Harry James's band, coached José Ferrer in playing a five-string guitar. Robert Merrill was originally to star in the film, according to a September 27, 1950 Hollywood Reporter news item. In February 1951, Nancy Olson was signed to co-star. Producer William Perlberg saw Kim Hunter in a preview screening of A Streetcar Named Desire in June 1951 and gave her the role. Jack Albertson, who played the role of a flower vendor, was originally cast in the role of "The Fixer." Sources conflict concerning the roles played by Voskovec and Danaroff; while the CBCS and reviews list Voskevec as "Pavli" and Danaroff as "Eliko," a studio cast list credits Voskevec as "Kortan" and Danaroff as "Pavli." In addition, the CBCS and the studio cast list credit a second actor, Elia Louis Geladze, in the role of "Eliko." It is not known if Geladze was in the final film. A Hollywood Reporter news item adds Dorothy Vernon, Buddy Mason and Coynne Kiel to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
The film had a preview showing in January 1952 at Hunter College to 2,000 delegates attending the U.S. National Commission for Unesco, according to a New York Times news item. A spokesman for Paramount stated, "Unesco officials feel that the picture, by showing the assimilation of immigrants into the American way of life and the opportunities available to all Americans, illustrates what Unesco is trying to accomplish." Los Angeles Examiner, in their review of the film, commented, "I'm sure Messrs. William Perlberg and George Seaton, its producer-director-writer combination, didn't intend it to be American propaganda-but it is that, so completely and thoroughly, that I wish it could be shown in every city, town and hamlet behind the Iron Curtain." While most reviews were favorable, New Yorker called the film "somewhat superficial," and New York Times opined that while the Papashvilys' tale of immigration twenty years earlier "was reasonable," the film's story was not, as "the prospect of such a young fellow arriving today is nigh absurd." New York Times also criticized the depiction of the immigrant group Papashvily finds in New York: "that a strong and gregarious colony of South Georgians is currently thriving and being chauvinistic in this land is beyond the range of acceptance of all but the lovers of romance. Thus the cozy picture Mr. Seaton presents of a band of genial eccentrics singing songs and having feasts in old-country style, as of the present, is in the realm of myth."
The length of the version prepared for foreign distribution was 868 feet (or about ten minutes) shorter than the domestic version. According to a New York Times news item, a theater in Baltimore showing the film was picketed on May 21, 1952 by members of a local American Legion post because José Ferrer had been questioned a year earlier by the House Committee on Un-American Activities concerning membership in the Communist party. Ferrer denied ever having been a Communist.