Synopsis by Mark Deming
This anthology film assembles five respected directors and a top-notch cast to bring a handful of stories by the great American author O. Henry to the screen. In The Cop and the Anthem, a tramp named Soapy (Charles Laughton) tries to get arrested so that he can spend the winter in jail, only to find that is not as easy as it used to be. Marilyn Monroe appears in this episode as a streetwalker. The Clarion Call features Dale Robertson as Barney, a cop forced to arrest an old friend, Johnny (Richard Widmark). Anne Baxter stars in The Last Leaf as Joanna, an elderly woman who sees her own illness reflected in the fall of the autumn leaves; she's convinced that when the last leaf drops from the tree outside her window, her life will go with it. The Ransom of Red Chief concerns Sam (Fred Allen) and Bill (Oscar Levant), two novice kidnappers who kidnap a child, only to discover that his parents don't want him back -- and after a few hours with the brat, they find out why. And The Gift of the Magi tells the story of a pair of cash-strapped newlyweds, Della (Jeanne Craine) and Jim (Farley Granger), who struggle to get each other the perfect Christmas gift, with unexpected results. John Steinbeck narrates.
Autumn, bum, Christmas, kidnapping, police-officer, prostitute/prostitution, terminal-illness