Free for All


1h 23m 1949

Film Details

Also Known As
Hot Water, Patent Applied For
Release Date
Nov 1949
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

In Washington, D.C., chemist Christopher Parker drops by the U.S. Patent Office, hoping to obtain a patent for his new invention. Kindly clerk Mr. Abbott informs Chris, who has driven from Ohio, that the process will take a few days, then invites him to stay at his Georgetown boardinghouse. Soon after moving into the boardinghouse, which contains many unusual inventions, Chris meets Abbott's daughter Alva and is immediately smitten. When Chris learns from the Abbotts' servant Aristotle that Alva is romantically involved with Roger Abernathy, a junior executive at the oil company for which Alva works, he becomes discouraged, even though Aristotle assures him that Alva does not really love Roger. The next day, Alva offers to give Chris a tour of the city, and before they set off in his car, they stop at a gas station, where Chris uses his invention--a pill that can transform water into gasoline--to fill up his tank. Alva refuses to believe Chris's claim that he has discovered a simple way to turn water into gas and later jokes about it with Roger. Using a tub of water and an outboard motor, Chris demonstrates his pill for Abbott, Aristotle and fellow lodger and inventor Joe Hershey, who are amazed. Feeling that Chris's invention is of national importance, Abbott advises him to give the formula to the government. Abbott volunteers to present the invention around town, but is dismissed as an eccentric at every agency he visits. Alva, meanwhile, finally witnesses the pill in action and rushes to tell A. B. Blair, her employer at the financially troubled Capitol Oil Company, about it. Blair at first ignores Alva, but eventually realizes that she is telling the truth. With Roger and his top chemist, Axel Thorgelson, in tow, Blair races to the boardinghouse, demanding a demonstration. As the unsuspecting Chris shows off his invention, Thorgelson steals a pill from his vial. Joe, who saw Thorgelson slip the pill into his pocket, later tells Chris and Abbott about the subterfuge, and Chris, feeling helpless, prepares to return to Ohio without a patent. Before packing, however, he confesses his love to Alva. Moments later, she admits to Chris that she returns his feelings, unaware that he has just been knocked out by one of the boardinghouse inventions and cannot hear her. At Capitol Oil, meanwhile, Thorgelson reveals to Blair that, even with the pill, he has been unable to duplicate Chris's formula. Now desperate, Blair questions Alva and learns that Chris is on the road to Ohio. After Blair decides to use the company helicopter to search for Chris, Abbott tricks him into agreeing to pay Chris handsomely for his formula. Blair, Abbott, Roger and Alva then take off in the helicopter and intercept Chris in rural Maryland. When "Gas Gat" McGuinness, a fugitive criminal whom Chris picked up hitchhiking, sees the helicoptor bearing down on the car, he jumps out in a panic, causing Chris to crash into a farmer's haystack. The helicopter lands, and after Alva embraces Chris in front of a stunned Roger, Blair insists that they all remain on the farm until his deal with Chris has been signed. That evening, as Chris is about to reveal his gas formula, which he has memorized but never written down, Gas Gat, who believes that Chris is a fellow fugitive, "rescues" him at gunpoint. In the ensuing confusion, Chris falls down the farm well and is knocked out. Although Chris is quickly retrieved and revived, he has no memory of the formula or his invention. After Blair finally despairs of ever obtaining the formula, Chris proposes to Alva. In response, Alva gives Chris a passionate kiss, which restores his memory. With his formula back in his head, Chris returns Alva's kiss and looks forward to a happy, prosperous life with her.

Film Details

Also Known As
Hot Water, Patent Applied For
Release Date
Nov 1949
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 23m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Articles

Kenneth Tobey (1917-2003)


Kenneth Tobey, the sandy-haired, tough-looking American character actor who appeared in over 100 films, but is best remembered as Captain Patrick Hendry in the Sci-Fi classic, The Thing From Another World (1951), died on December 22nd of natural causes at a hospital in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 86.

Born in Oakland, California on March 23, 1917, Tobey originally intended to be a lawyer before a stint with the University of California Little Theater changed his mind. From there, he went straight to New York and spent nearly two years studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse, where his classmates included Gregory Peck, Eli Wallach and Tony Randall. Throughout the '40s, Tobey acted on Broadway and in stock before relocating to Hollywood. Once there, Tobey soon found himself playing a tough soldier in films like I Was a Male War Bride and Twelve O' Clock High (both 1949); or a tough police officer in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye and Three Secrets (both 1950). Such roles were hardly surprising, given Tobey's craggy features, unsmiling countenance and rough voice.

Needless to say, no-nonsense, authority figures would be Tobey's calling for the remainder of his career; yet given the right role, he had the talent to make it memorable: the smart, likeable Captain Hendrey in The Thing From Another World (1951); the gallant Colonel Jack Evans in the "prehistoric dinosaur attacks an urban center" genre chiller The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953, a must-see film for fans of special effects wizard, Ray Harryhausen; and as Bat Masterson, holding his own against Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).

Television would also offer Tobey much work: he had his own action series as chopper pilot Chuck Martin in Whirlybirds (1957-59); and had a recurring role as Assistant District Attorney Alvin in Perry Mason (1957-66). He would also be kept busy with guest appearances in countless westerns (Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Virginian) and cop shows (The Rockford Files, Barnaby Jones, Ironside) for the next two decades. Most amusingly, the tail end of Tobey's career saw some self-deprecating cameo spots in such contemporary shockers as The Howling (1981); Strange Invaders (1983) and his role reprisal of Captain Hendry in The Attack of the B-Movie Monsters (2002). Tobey is survived by a daughter, two stepchildren, and two grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole
Kenneth Tobey (1917-2003)

Kenneth Tobey (1917-2003)

Kenneth Tobey, the sandy-haired, tough-looking American character actor who appeared in over 100 films, but is best remembered as Captain Patrick Hendry in the Sci-Fi classic, The Thing From Another World (1951), died on December 22nd of natural causes at a hospital in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 86. Born in Oakland, California on March 23, 1917, Tobey originally intended to be a lawyer before a stint with the University of California Little Theater changed his mind. From there, he went straight to New York and spent nearly two years studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse, where his classmates included Gregory Peck, Eli Wallach and Tony Randall. Throughout the '40s, Tobey acted on Broadway and in stock before relocating to Hollywood. Once there, Tobey soon found himself playing a tough soldier in films like I Was a Male War Bride and Twelve O' Clock High (both 1949); or a tough police officer in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye and Three Secrets (both 1950). Such roles were hardly surprising, given Tobey's craggy features, unsmiling countenance and rough voice. Needless to say, no-nonsense, authority figures would be Tobey's calling for the remainder of his career; yet given the right role, he had the talent to make it memorable: the smart, likeable Captain Hendrey in The Thing From Another World (1951); the gallant Colonel Jack Evans in the "prehistoric dinosaur attacks an urban center" genre chiller The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953, a must-see film for fans of special effects wizard, Ray Harryhausen; and as Bat Masterson, holding his own against Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). Television would also offer Tobey much work: he had his own action series as chopper pilot Chuck Martin in Whirlybirds (1957-59); and had a recurring role as Assistant District Attorney Alvin in Perry Mason (1957-66). He would also be kept busy with guest appearances in countless westerns (Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Virginian) and cop shows (The Rockford Files, Barnaby Jones, Ironside) for the next two decades. Most amusingly, the tail end of Tobey's career saw some self-deprecating cameo spots in such contemporary shockers as The Howling (1981); Strange Invaders (1983) and his role reprisal of Captain Hendry in The Attack of the B-Movie Monsters (2002). Tobey is survived by a daughter, two stepchildren, and two grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were Patent Applied For and Hot Water. In December 1947, Hollywood Reporter announced that Donald O'Connor was to be the film's star. Dennis Day then tested for the starring role, and Gloria DeHaven was under consideration as his co-star. Charles Meredith is listed in a Hollywood Reporter news item as a cast member, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Although Hollywood Reporter announced in late May 1949 that Dick Towers was to make his debut as a first cameraman on the picture, no other source credits him. Some scenes were shot on location in Washington, D.C.