It All Came True (1940): Lewis Seiler’s Musical Crime Film, Starring Ann Sheridan and Humphrey Bogart (Third Billed, One Year before Major Stardom)

From Our Vaults

Produced by Mark Hellinger and directed by Lewis Seiler, It All Came True is a hybrid movie, a musical crime dramedy, starring Ann Sheridan as a fledgling singer.

Grade: C+ (** out of *****)

It All Came True

Film poster

It is based on the Louis Bromfield novel “Better Than Life.”

Humphrey Bogart, who was third-billed on the posters, is cast as a gangster who hides from the police in a boarding house. George Raft was originally meant to play the male lead along with John Garfield.

The cast also featured Jeffrey Lynn as the lead man, Zasu Pitts, and Una O’Connor.

Aspiring songwriter Tommy Taylor (Jeffrey Lynn) pins his hopes on the promises of his employer, gambler and gangster “Chips” Maguire (Bogart)

However, Chips uses the gun he had registered under Tommy’s name to kill Monks when he is betrayed.  Chips had Tommy carry the gun to provide him with a fall guy.

Needing a place to hide out, Chips blackmails Tommy into taking him to the boarding house owned by his mother, Nora Taylor, and her longtime friend, Maggie Ryan.

Nora is overjoyed to see her son after absence of five years. Tommy introduces them to Chips, who pretends to be Grasselli, a man recovering from nervous condition.

Maggie’s showgirl daughter, Sarah Jane, returns the same day. The two mothers dream of their children getting married, but Tommy is indifferent to Sarah Jane.

Sarah Jane becomes suspicious of Grasselli, who avoids being seen. She eventually recognizes him, having worked for him once.

Unwilling to get Nora and Maggie in trouble, she agrees to keep Chips’s secret. Nora starts mothering Chips, as does Maggie. Tired of hiding in his room, Chips becomes acquainted with the other boarders: Miss Flint, Mr. Salmon, washed-up magician The Great Boldini, and Mr. Van Diver. In the parlor, Chips enjoys amateur show put on by Tommy, Sarah Jane, and the boarders.

When Sarah Jane learns that Nora and Maggie would lose their house due to unpaid taxes, she turns to Chips for help. She encourages his attentions, even though she is in love with Tommy. He provides the money, but as that will only postpone their financial problem, he suggests that they turn the house into an exclusive nightclub. Tommy and Sarah Jane then can showcase their talents.

Miss Flint sees Chips’s picture in a crime magazine. Sarah Jane intimates that Chips will have her killed in gruesome manner if she tells anyone what she knows. But on opening night, after drinking too much, she becomes frightened by Chips’s taunts and goes to the police station.

Two detectives spot Chips in the nightclub, but they agree to let him watch the rest of the show. Seeing the cops and assuming the worst, he goes to the roof. When Sarah Jane joins him, he finally admits he loves her. She urges him to flee, but he refuses to run away.

In the moralistic ending, though he can incriminate Tommy, Chips decides to confess to the murder, allowing the young lovers to make clean beginning.

Sheridan introduced the song “Angel in Disguise,” which became a hit.

Ann Sheridan as Sarah Jane Ryan
Jeffrey Lynn as Tommy Taylor
Humphrey Bogart as Grasselli/Chips Maguire
ZaSu Pitts as Miss Flint
Una O’Connor as Maggie Ryan
Jessie Busley as Mrs. Nora Taylor
John Litel as “Doc” Roberts
Grant Mitchell as Mr. Rene Salmon
Felix Bressart as The Great Boldini
Charles Judels as Henri Pepi de Bordeaux, the head waiter Chips hires for the nightclub
Brandon Tynan as Mr. Van Diver
Howard Hickman as Mr. Prendergast
Herb Vigran as Monks (credited as Herbert Vigran)
Tommy Reilly
The Elderbloom Chorus as Group Performers
Bender and Daum as Performing Duo
White and Stanley as Performing Duo
The Lady Killers’ Quartet as Singing Quartet


Directed by Lewis Seiler
Screenplay by Michael Fessier, Lawrence Kimble, Delmer Daves (uncredited), based on Better Than Life 1936 short story in Hearst’s International-Cosmopolitan by Louis Bromfield
Produced by Mark Hellinger
Cinematography Ernest Haller
Edited by Thomas Richards

Production and distribution: Warner Bros.

Release date: April 6, 1940

Running time: 97 minutes