Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||George Stevens|
|Produced by||George Stevens|
|Screenplay by||Morrie Ryskind|
|Based on||Penny Serenade
1940 short story (McCalls)
by Martha Cheavens
|Music by||W. Franke Harling|
|Edited by||Otto Meyer|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Penny Serenade is a 1941 film melodrama starring Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Beulah Bondi, and Edgar Buchanan. The picture was directed by George Stevens, written by Martha Cheavens and Morrie Ryskind, and depicts the story of a loving couple who must overcome adversity to keep their marriage and raise a child. Grant was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.
While listening to a recording of "You Were Meant for Me," Julie Gardiner Adams (Irene Dunne) begins reflecting on her past. Roger (Cary Grant) and Julie Adams get married and she is due to have a child, but they suffer a tragedy when she miscarries in an earthquake during their 1930 stay in Japan. They are told that she can never have children. They request to adopt a two-year-old boy, but ultimately adopt a baby girl named Trina. They struggle to make ends meet and to retain their parental rights when Roger's newspaper-publishing business fails. When Trina messes up during a school play, her teacher Miss Oliver says she can never be in another play, saddening her. A letter is later sent to Miss Oliver by Julie: It explains Trina got sick and died and now she and Rodger are not talking to each other. To make matters worse the emotional strain threatens to destroy their marriage. Songs mark episodes in the action from records from their collection;the title refers to a song of the same name. In the end, they are offered the opportunity to adopt a little boy who matches their original request, saving their marriage.
- Irene Dunne as Julie Gardiner Adams
- Cary Grant as Roger Adams
- Beulah Bondi as Miss Oliver
- Edgar Buchanan as Applejack Carney
- Ann Doran as Dotty "Dot"
- Eva Lee Kuney as Trina (6 years old)
- Leonard Willey as Doctor Hartley
- Wallis Clark as Judge
- Walter Soderling as Billings
- Jane Biffle as Trina (1 year old)
The part of Trina was played by two pairs of identical twins at different ages.
Time said "Grant and Dunne cannot overcome the ten-little-fingers-and-ten-little-toes plot. Written by scripter Morrie Ryskind, produced and directed by George Stevens (Alice Adams), it is too often a moving picture which does not move. Skillful direction saves it from turning maudlin." Bosley Crowther, in a somewhat ambivalent review, concludes "some very credible acting on the part of Mr. Grant and Miss Dunne is responsible in the main for the infectious quality of the film. Edgar Buchanan, too, gives an excellent performance as a good-old-Charlie friend, and Beulah Bondi is sensible as an orphanage matron. Heart-warming is the word for both of them. As a matter of fact, the whole picture deliberately cozies up to the heart. Noël Coward once drily observed how extraordinarily potent cheap music is. That is certainly true of Penny Serenade."
Penny Serenade was dramatized as a half-hour radio play on the November 16, 1941 broadcast of The Screen Guild Theater, starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in their original roles. It was also presented as an hour-long drama on Lux Radio Theater, first on April 27, 1942 with Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck, then on May 8, 1944 with Joseph Cotten and Irene Dunne. Dunne again starred in July 1953 on CBS Radio's General Electric Theater.
The film was released by Columbia Pictures, with George Stevens' production firm owning the copyright. In 1968, the film went into the public domain. The original elements are now with Viacom, via the company's former Republic Pictures library.
- Dick, Bernard Dick (1993). The Merchant Prince of Poverty Row: Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, p. 160.
- "The New Pictures". Time. May 5, 1941. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
- Bosley Crowther (May 23, 1941). "Cary Grant and Irene Dunne Play a Penny Serenade at the Music Hall". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
- Penny Serenade. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 2008-08-13.
- "RADIO: Program Preview". Time. July 20, 1953. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
- "TELEVISION: Program Preview". Time. January 17, 1955. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
- Crowther, Bosley. "Penny Serenade". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Penny Serenade.|
- Penny Serenade is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- Penny Serenade at the Internet Movie Database
- Penny Serenade on YouTube
- Penny Serenade at the TCM Movie Database
- Penny Serenade at AllMovie
- Penny Serenade at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Streaming audio
- Penny Serenade on Screen Guild Theater: November 16, 1941
- Penny Serenade on Lux Radio Theater: April 27, 1942
- Penny Serenade on Lux Radio Theater: May 8, 1944
- Penny Serenade on General Electric Theater: July 23, 1953