Random Harvest (1942)

credit: theshadesofblackwhite.blogspot.comA woman wakes up, goes to work, goes out for a walk, decides to run off in the dark of night with a strange man who had just escaped from an insane asylum…same old, same old.


I really can’t say much about this movie without spoiling the plot twists, but it’s a love story that will quite possibly rip your heart out — which, as we all learned from that horrific scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, is not always fun but sometimes necessary.

I don’t think it’s on Netflix, but I discovered it in parts here on YouTube.

It’s best to watch this one with a romantically significant other…or your mom. If neither of those options are available, then I suggest you invite a few single friends over and watch it after you braid each others’ hair, play Twister, and consume a ludicrous and undignified amount of peanut butter.

OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: After doing minimal and probably an insufficient amount of research, I’ve concluded that nobody seems to have a definitive explanation of where the title comes from, since it has absolutely nothing to do with the movie. It’s like the author sloppily wrote “Random Title” as a placeholder and totally forgot, and then when it went to print, one of the book printers turned to the other and said, “Hey Carl, does that say ‘Random Title?’” But Carl, who needed corrective lenses but never went to the eye doctor because he was afraid his co-workers would make fun of him if he wore glasses, replied, “No, Fred, I think it says ‘Random Harvest.’” And then Fred, who also had vision problems but always left his glasses at home because he had low self-esteem and was self-conscious about his appearance, said, “Good thing you have such sharp eye sight, Carl, because you’d look like a total nerd in glasses.” And then Carl looked at the floor, put his hands in his pockets, and slowly shuffled away, consigned to live a life of borderline blindness in exchange for greater social acceptance in the workplace.

credit: immortalephemera.comNow this movie is a bit of an extreme example, but it definitely shows how believing in another person, however incapable or handicapped that person might seem, can radically improve the life of another.

Not only did Paula see the good in this nameless man who could barely speak, but she believed in his ability to make a contribution in this world. Instead of shaking her head and saying, “Gee, that’s too bad,” and hoping someone else would step in, she had the courage and compassion to help him get off the streets and change his life.

One note worth mentioning: There’s a difference between people like “Smithy” and the freeloaders and sick criminals who take advantage of others to get what they want. Before offering our time, our resources, or our home to others, it’s crucial that we separate emotion from the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We should always use the spirit of discernment to identify which people are truly in need, and whether it is right for us to get involved.

Unlike Paula — who sacrificed everything, including her reputation — the sacrifices we are most often asked to make are small. It isn’t difficult to find daily opportunities to lift up the hands of someone in need. But like Paula, the choice to do the right thing is what will bring us happiness in the end.

He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” – Proverbs 19:17

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