Journey for Margaret

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Journey for Margaret
Margaret O'Brien in Journey for Margaret trailer.jpg
Margaret O'Brien in the movie trailer
Directed by W. S. Van Dyke
Produced by B. P. Fineman
Dore Schary
Screenplay by David Hertz
William Ludwig
Based on Journey for Margaret
1941 novel 
by William Lindsay White
Starring Robert Young
Laraine Day
Fay Bainter
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography Ray June
Edited by George White
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) 17 December 1942
Running time 81 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $484,000[1][2]
Box office $1,534,000[2]

Journey for Margaret is a 1942 drama film set in London in World War II.[3] It stars Robert Young and Laraine Day as a couple who have to deal with the loss of their unborn child due to a bombing raid. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by William Lindsay White.


War correspondent John Davis (Robert Young) moves from France to safer London with his wife Nora (Laraine Day) during World War II. Nora is pregnant and John wants her to go back home to Connecticut, but she decides to stay on by his side. John is worn down by the war and Nora has her doubts about his conviction as a reporter.

During the London blitz, John is walking around in the rubble, moved when discovering a desperate young boy. As he returns home he learns that his wife has been hurt during the bombings and taken to hospital.

It turns out Nora has lost the baby and is permanently injured, meaning that she will never be able to bear another child. Nora is devastated when she hears the news about her condition.

It takes months for Nora to recover and when she does, John tries to put her on a flight home to the U.S. She agrees, but John's colleague, Herbert V. Allison (Nigel Bruce), tries to convince her to stay on and fight to get over the ill fate that has been laid upon her. Despite this, she goes home.

John continues his work, writing about an orphanage for war children. He meets with the director, Trudy Strauss (Fay Bainter), and starts caring for the children. He also meets the boy he saw in the streets of London, Peter (William Severn), who is mute since he arrived at the orphanage.

John returns a toy he found in street after the blitz to Peter and the boy sees him as a father. Another child, Margaret (Margaret O'Brien), comes to the orphanage after being at foster parents. She has a bomb casing in a chain around her neck. She has to learn to cry for her dead parents.

At tea time, Peter comes around and starts communicating with the other children. Both Peter and Margaret open up to John in the evening and want him to help them. Later, bombers fly over the orphanage and John helps calm the children.

London is bombed again during the night and John and Allison go around looking for stories to write, when they encounter a woman carrying a dead baby. John, increasingly upset, is inspired to write stories. Back at the orphanage, Peter and Margaret are meeting their prospective foster parents. John agrees to accompany them but they start clinging to John and don't want to leave him to be with the potential adopters, even though they are very nice.

Via cable John asks Nora to adopt the two children and bring them back with him to her in the U.S. Nora's mother answers that Nora is ill, but that she doesn't want the children. After a while though, Nora cables John and tells him she has changed her mind, and wants him to bring the children.

It turns out the plane between London and Portugal is full. John tries to negotiate with the passengers to not use their full baggage allowance, but it doesn't work. John is only allowed to bring one child, and is advised to let the children perform an IQ test to determine which to bring with him. Margaret scores higher, but Peter cries out "Daddy" after John when he is about to leave. Heartbroken, John still goes to the airport with Margaret, but when he is about to board the plane, one of the other passengers has given up her place on the plane to Peter.

Later, after a long trip, John and the children arrive by ship to the port in New York, watching the shimmering lights of the city in the distance. Nora comes to meet them on the ship. There is an air raid alarm, but Nora tells the children that, once the war is over, they will never have to worry that the lights in the city will be turned off.



The film was a surprise hit - according to MGM records it made $779,000 in the US and Canada and $755,000 elsewhere, earning a profit of $561,000.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 362
  2. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  3. ^ Variety film review; October 28, 1942, page 8.

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