The Return of October


1h 29m 1948

Brief Synopsis

An heiress discovers her racehorse is the reincarnation of her rich uncle, back to win the Kentucky Derby.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Sports
Release Date
Nov 26, 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 29m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

Eighteen-year-old heiress Terry Ramsey believes that her late Uncle Willy has been reincarnated in the form of a horse, and her conviction is the central focus of a trial now underway to determine her sanity. The circumstances leading up to the trial are explained to a reporter by Willy's friend Vince, who begins Terry's story from the time just prior to Willy's death: Willy, a horse trainer of modest means, has two great loves: his niece Terry, whom he has reared since infancy, and his horse Sunset. Willy loves horses so much that he says he will surely be reincarnated as a racehorse when he dies. Hoping to improve his lot and provide a better life for Terry, Willy enters Sunset in a race and bets all his money on the horse. Terry also bets on Sunset, but does so secretly with money she gets from playing a trick on a fellow bettor, psychology Professor Bentley Bassett, Jr. Sunset gets off to a good start, but in the home stretch, a paper airplane distracts him and causes him to lose his lead. Shortly after the race, Willy collapses and dies. Terry is then forced to live with her wealthy and eccentric Aunt Martha and her unpleasant cousins, who have been embezzling money from Martha. One day, at a horse auction, Terry passes by a horse named October and, because the horse appears to be allergic to goldenrod, immediately senses that it is her Uncle Willy, who suffered from the same allergy. Determined to keep October away from Dr. Bassett, who wants the horse for his scientific experiments, Terry outbids the doctor and is awarded ownership of October. Terry is unable to pay cash for the horse, however, and has no choice but to ask Bassett for assistance. Bassett consents to pay for the horse and he and Terry take it to Bassett's university for safekeeping until Terry can pay him back. When university president Hotchkiss learns that Bassett has used school funds to buy October, he gives Bassett twenty-four hours to justify the purchase. Bassett believes he can do this by writing a book about Terry's unusual psychological attachment to her horse. While Aunt Martha lies on her deathbed, Mitchell, the family lawyer, who is in league with Martha's crooked relatives, initiates legal proceedings to prove that Terry is not fit to be Martha's sole heir. Although Bassett eventually concludes that Terry is sane, he is unable to prevent the publication of his book, which is released at the same time that Aunt Martha dies. Feeling betrayed by Bassett, Terry refuses to see him and prohibits him from testifying in her behalf at her sanity trial. Bassett persists, though, and ultimately gets the opportunity to call his study a fraud. Bassett then persuades the jury to let him prove that Terry's relationship with October is not abnormal by asking everyone in the courtroom to accompany him and Terry to the racetrack to witness her behavior during the big Derby. No sooner does Terry cheer October, calling him "Uncle Willy," than the entire track starts rooting for "Uncle Willy!" October wins the race but dies at the end, a death that Terry can accept as a fitting one, as Uncle Willy always said he would come back to win the Derby. The case against Terry is then dropped and she and Bassett resume their romance.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Sports
Release Date
Nov 26, 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 29m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to information contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections for the 1948 film When My Baby Smiles at Me (see below), Columbia acquired approximately 540 feet of race horse stock shots filmed for the 1938 Twentieth Century-Fox picture Kentucky (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.2260) for use in The Return of October. The purchase was made because Kentucky was one of the few Technicolor films featuring racing footage to be shot prior to The Return of October, which was also in Technicolor. The footage acquisition was part of a deal between the two studios in which Twentieth Century-Fox acquired the story rights to the play Burlesque (which was filmed as When My Baby Smiles at Me) from Columbia in exchange for a cash payment and the horse race footage. Some exteriors were shot on the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and at the Del March racetrack in California.