Smilin' Through (1932 film)

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Smilin' Through
Smilin' Through 1932 film poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed bySidney Franklin
Produced byAlbert Lewin
Written byDonald Ogden Stewart
Ernest Vajda
StarringNorma Shearer
Fredric March
Leslie Howard
Music byWilliam Axt
Arthur A. Penn
CinematographyLee Garmes
Edited byMargaret Booth
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
September 24, 1932 (1932-09-24)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,033,000[1]

Smilin' Through is a 1932 American pre-Code MGM romantic drama film based on the play by Jane Cowl and Jane Murfin, also named Smilin' Through.

The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture for 1932. 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 and starred Norma Shearer, Fredric March, Leslie Howard and Ralph Forbes.

The film was a remake of an earlier 1922 silent version also directed by Sidney Franklin which starred Norma Talmadge.


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. John has spent the rest of his life in mourning. However, Moonyeen has kept in touch with him from the next life. He continues to live on the estate, and has a special place where he communicates with her spirit.

His close friend Dr. Owens (O.P. Heggie) 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 Kenneth Wayne (also played by Fredric March), whom she meets in unexpected and romantic circumstances. However, Kenneth 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 Kenneth, but he sends her back again because he does not want to ruin her life. However, John has been deeply affected by the events and has lost his ability to communicate with his dead fiancee, who perceives his anger and hatred as having set up a barrier she cannot overcome.

Kenneth enlists in the U.S. 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 return to America. John finds out the truth from Dr. Owens. He sees that Kenneth really cares for Kathleen and is not like his wastrel father. He tells Kathleen, and she runs off to tell Kenneth 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 he is reunited with Moonyeen, just as Kathleen is heard returning with Kenneth.


Box office[edit]

The film grossed a total (domestic and foreign) of $2,033,000: $1,004,000 from the US and Canada and $1,029,000 elsewhere. It made a profit of $529,000.[1]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1934, Smilin' Through was nominated for the Academy Award for Outstanding Production at the 6th Academy Awards.

In 2002, the American Film Institute nominated this film for AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions.[2]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-19.