Smilin' Through

"Smilin' Through" is a play by Jane Cowl and Jane Murfin. Ms. Cowl also starred in the play and co-directed it. It was first filmed in 1922, and was remade twice by MGM, in 1932 and in 1941. In 1932, it was also made into an unsuccessful Broadway operetta, "Through the Years", with music by Vincent Youmans. The title song of the operetta, however, became a hit.

The 1922 version of "Smilin' Through" starred Norma Talmadge, Wyndham Standing and Harrison Ford (no relation to the star of the Indiana Jones films).

The 1932 film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It was adapted from Cowl and Murfin's play by James Bernard Fagan, Donald Ogden Stewart, Ernest Vajda and Claudine West. The movie was directed by Sidney Franklin. It starred Norma Shearer, Fredric March, Leslie Howard and Ralph Forbes.

The 1941 film starred Jeanette MacDonald, Brian Aherne and Ian Hunter. Because Ms. MacDonald was in it, a few musical numbers were written for the movie. The 1941 version is the only one of the three films to be made in Technicolor. The plot is essentially the same in all three film versions.

The title theme from the 1941 picture was given an impressionistic reading by Wayne Shorter and his quartet on his recording "Beyond the Sound Barrier."

1932 film version

Infobox Film
name = Smilin' Through

caption =
director = Sidney Franklin
producer = Albert Lewin
writer = Donald Ogden Stewart
Ernest Vajda
starring = Norma Shearer
Fredric March
Leslie Howard
music =
cinematography = Lee Garmes
editing = Margaret Booth
distributor = Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
released =
runtime = 98 minutes
country = USA
language = English
budget =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0023488 |


John Carteret (Leslie Howard) is a wealthy man with a huge estate. He was set to marry Moonyeen Clare (Norma Shearer), but on their wedding day she was accidentally killed during the wedding ceremony by her drunken and jealous ex-fiance Jeremy Wayne (Fredric March), who actually meant to kill John; however, Moonyean stepped in front of him and took the bullet. Like Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, John has spent the rest of his life in mourning. However, Moonyeen has kept in touch with him from the next life. He runs the estate, and has a private retreat where he communicates with her spirit.

His close friend Dr. Owens tells him of Moonyeen's niece Kathleen, whose parents have drowned at sea. He begs John to adopt the child, and he does. Kathleen is five, but as she grows older she looks exactly like the dead Moonyeen (and is also played by Norma Shearer). Her childhood friend Willie (Ralph Forbes) wants to marry her, but she is interested in Kenny Wayne (also played by Fredric March), whom she meets in dangerous and romantic circumstances. However, Kenny is the son of Jeremy, Moonyeen's killer, who disappeared and was never found.

John refuses to let them marry and threatens to disinherit her. She leaves with Ken, but he sends her back again because he doesn't want to ruin her life. He is clearly a man of honor and character. However, John has been deeply affected by the events and has lost his ability to communicate with his dead wife, who perceives his anger and hatred as having set up a barrier she can't overcome.

Ken signs up for the Army and is gone for four years, returning as a disabled war veteran. He hides his condition, claims he no longer cares for Kathleen, and plans to go to America. John finds out the truth from Dr. Owens. He sees that Ken really cares for Kathleen and is not like his wastrel father. He tells Kathleen, and she runs off to tell Ken she still cares for him. John sits down to play chess with Dr. Owens, but apparently dozes off. Amused, Dr. Owens leaves him so that he can take his nap. John, however, has actually died, and his spirit now rises to join the awaiting spirit of Moonyeen, just as Kathleen is heard returning with Ken. John and Moonyeen are finally reunited in death.

1941 film version

Infobox Film
name = Smilin' Through

image_size =
caption =
director = Frank Borzage
producer = Frank Borzage
Victor Saville
writer = Jane Cowl
Jane Murfin
narrator =
starring = Jeanette MacDonald
Brian Aherne
Ian Hunter
music =
cinematography = Leonard Smith
editing = Frank Sullivan
distributor = MGM
released = October 1941
runtime = 100 min
country =
language =
budget =
gross =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0034203

External links

* [ Reviews of the 1922 version with Norma Talmadge] .
* [ Smilin' Through (1941 version)] at Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy: A Tribute

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