The man who saw tomorrow, a film by Alfred E. Green

Why did I choose this film? I find it interesting how cinema portrays mental health professionals over the years. One of the earliest portrayals of a mental health professional in cinema was in this movie in the year 1922. Whereas the film is not that great, it is worth noting for this very reason. The same year is also when the first 3-D feature film was shown to an audience; it is the year Anna Wong, the first Asian-American leading lady debuted; the year Nosferatu, our beloved vampire made his appearance and the year Rin tin tin the German Shepherd became famous as the first canine star. It happens to be the year the first Walt Disney Cartoon (Little Red Riding Hood) was released (couldn’t resist mentioning all that).
What’s the film about? This movie is about a man (the hero) who goes to a psychologist/mesmerist as a result of the agony that he is undergoing. The hero, Mr. Burke, is a well-to-do gentleman from New York, politically inclined, who travels to the South Sea Islands and falls in love with Rita, the daughter of the captain of a contraband ship. He decides to stay longer on the islands. Enter Lady Helen, who likes him and would make the perfect match for him – on paper. Deeply conflicted, he goes to a psychologist, Prof.Jansen to find out which of the two women he should marry. The psychologist hypnotises him and we flashforward to two dream sequences. In one he’s shown a vision of what his life would be with Helen (fame, material comforts, political power but no love) and in the other with Rita (happy but not rich). In his hypnotic trance he also sees Rita’s father’s first mate fire a shot at him. The psychologist is unable to interpret the meaning of this ghastly occurence. Although Burke remains undecided for awhile, on seeing Rita, his decision is at once made and they unite (happily ever after).
Where can I watch the film in India? You can watch the movie on the website of Turner Classic Movies

More Posts

  • Oscar Wilde was twenty years younger than the great artist James Whistler with whom Wilde was awed. Both travelled in the same aristocratic circles and had become fast friends despite their differences. Whistler was an elitist and had a strong personality. Wilde was a populist and milder in his manner. Eventually, Whistler tired of Wilde […]

    The Ex-factor

    Oscar Wilde was twenty years younger than the great artist James Whistler with whom Wilde was awed. Both travelled in…

  • An essay in my 6th grade Hindi textbook was titled “Shok Sabha” and narrated the scene during a Hindu bereavement ritual. In it was described the life of a “Rudaali” (“one who cries”) or a professional mourner from Rajasthan. She was a peasant woman who wore black and was hired to mourn at the untimely death of a young […]

    What is an Emotion? And five ways to regulate them

    An essay in my 6th grade Hindi textbook was titled “Shok Sabha” and narrated the scene during a Hindu bereavement ritual. In it…

  • Arnold Guttman was thirteen years old when his father drowned in the Danube River. From that time the heartbroken Arnold swore to himself that one day he would become a good swimmer. Five years later, while still a student of architecture in Hungary, he accomplished much more: he won two gold medals in the inaugural […]

    What Olympians Can Teach Us About Resilience and Mental Health Let us not forget the person behind the performer.

    Arnold Guttman was thirteen years old when his father drowned in the Danube River. From that time the heartbroken Arnold…