The Cop and the Anthem gets the quintet off to an enjoyable 19-minute start as Charles Laughton milks the fat part of Soapy, the gentleman bum who tries unsuccessfully to get arrested so he can spend the winter months in a warm jail.
The Clarion Call is a 22-minute excursion into melodrama with a twist. Dale Robertson plays the cop with a conscience who must arrest Richard Widmark, an old pal gone wrong and to whom he owes a debt.
The Last Leaf plunges into dramatics for 23 minutes, with Anne Baxter, Jean Peters and Gregory Ratoff keeping it emotionally sure. It’s the tale of a girl, without the will to live because of an unhappy love affair, who believes she will die when the last leaf falls from a vine outside her window.
Fred Allen, Oscar Levant and young Lee Aaker keep amusing a highly burlesqued takeoff on The Ransom of Red Chief, the comedy saga of two city slickers who make the mistake of kidnapping for ransom the hellion son of a backwoods Alabama rich farmer. It’s broad fun as directed by Howard Hawks.
Picture closes with a choice little account of that tender story of young love, The Gift of the Magi, splendidly trouped by Jeanne Crain and Farley Granger.