7th Heaven (1927)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  1927 (Germany)
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A street cleaner saves a young woman's life, and the pair slowly fall in love until war intervenes.



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Complete credited cast:
Ben Bard ...
Albert Gran ...
David Butler ...
Marie Mosquini ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lewis Borzage Sr.
Dolly Borzage
Mary Borzage
Sue Borzage
Gladys Brockwell ...
Emile Chautard ...
Frankie Genardi
Jessie Haslett ...
Brandon Hurst ...


In Paris, in the early years of the twentieth century, lives Chico, a sewer worker with lofty aspirations. One night, Chico saves a young prostitute named Diane from the murderous rage of her tyrannical sister. Despite her lifestyle, Diane is honest and innocent, and when the police arrive to arrest her, Chico spontaneously claims that she is his wife. Forced to maintain this facade or else both face prison sentences, Chico reluctantly allows Diane to live with him -- and in the process, love gradually blossoms between them. However, the dark spectre of World War I has begun to descend upon France, and Chico and Diane cannot help but fall under its shadow. Written by Shannon Patrick Sullivan <shannon@mun.ca>

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"7th Heaven" is the eighth wonder of the movie world...inspiring from start to finish...If you don't see it you've seen nothing in the moving picture line. -- The N.Y. Evening Telegram See more »


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

1927 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Seventh Heaven  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first film pairing of Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. See more »


Chico: Not bad, eh? I work in the sewer - but I live near the stars!
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Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Janet Gaynor (1962) See more »


Lyrics by Lew Pollack
Music by Erno Rapee
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User Reviews

It all works beautifully, through a perfect combination of acting, directing, and photography!
23 April 2010 | by (Culpeper, VA USA) – See all my reviews

SEVENTH HEAVEN, premiered May 6th of 1927, Produced by William Fox and distributed by Goldwyn Pictures.

Here's an actual TRIVIA Pursuit question: Who preceded Judy Garland in the title role of the first film version of A Star Is Born? She is also the answer to another Trivial Pursuit question: who was the winner of the very first Academy Award as Best Actress, at the inaugural 1927-28 ceremony? And if that does not recommend the film enough to you, SEVENTH HEAVEN also received the most nominations of any film at the first Academy Awards ceremony, with five.

The movie is a romance starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. Frank Borzage won the first Academy Award for Best Director and Benjamin Glazer won the first Oscar for Best Writing which was based on the play adaptation from the novel by Benjamin Harrison.

Seventh Heaven is the 13th highest grossing silent film in cinema history, taking in more than $2.5 million at the box office in 1927.

Seventh Heaven featured the song "Diane" by Erno Rapee and Lew Pollack, who wrote the song specifically for the film.

A comparatively unknown remake of Seventh Heaven was produced as a sound film in 1937, starring Simone Simon, James Stewart, Jean Hersholt, and Gregory Ratoff, with Henry King directing.

Some of you may recognize character actor George E. Stone in the beginning who usually played small gangsters in comic relief here playing a character called, "Sewer rat." Janet Gaynor with her big-eyed, small doll's face was a five foot tall actress known for her cleft chin and very expressive eyes. Six foot two, Charles Farrell could fill a room with his optimism and hope. Frank Borzage, a former actor directs with an intuitive sense of emotional temperature; he keeps things boiling under the surface while the screen only registers a simmer.

Based on a long-running stage success and wildly popular upon its first release, SEVENTH HEAVEN is probably Frank Borzage's most famous film, the one where all his principles of mystical romance come together most distinctively. This exquisite tale of romance between street waif Diane (played by Janet Gaynor) and Paris sewage worker Chico (played by Charles Farrell) stresses the redemptive side of couplehood so persuasively that otherworldly connotations, like the strong ray of light that literally shines down on them after their various trials, seem only fair and natural. Borzage ennobles their poverty-stricken lives to such an extent that even the cruelties of war don't stand a chance when they are working against it together. It's the perfect exchange, lovers drawing strength from one another and ascending onto a different, metaphysical plane—you feel they could fly off the rooftops if they wanted to. Borzage patiently catches the smallest details of love, most memorably in the scene where Diane, alone in their garret, picks up Chico's coat and strokes it tenderly as if it were him. When the six-foot-two-inch Farrell kisses Gaynor passionately and holds her tiny five-foot frame up in the air, they truly look like a couple blessed by a winged divinity, with the space around them seemingly vibrating with some kind of spiritual presence. Watching them together in the same shot is an uncanny experience, one not easy to explain.

His gift for transforming the mundane, commonplace world into something beautiful and dreamlike made the films of Frank Borzage extraordinary. 7th Heaven, and the heartbreaking performance of its star Janet Gaynor, virtually defined not only the Borzage style, but also Gaynor's screen image and to an even greater extent, romantic love in Hollywood. The story of a Paris waif, saved by a sewer worker who pities her, was so wildly successful Fox spent years trying to equal it. Nothing ever did. The pairing of Gaynor with handsome leading man Charles Farrell presented a couple so attractive, likable and with such genuine chemistry, the two would go on to appear in 12 films together, including two more with Borzage.

Borzage's use of beautiful set design: the girls' decrepit home, the ancient cobblestone streets, Chico's rooftop garret and even the sewer, evoke an atmosphere that is both unreal and timeless. The ravishing sets created by Harry Oliver, whom Borzage used many times, add to the rich fairy-tale mood of a rather simple story, giving the characters an iconic quality.

The acting may be a bit direct but in silent films they had to communicate more visually and sometimes it seemed over the top, but keep watching their eyes and you'll never loose the focus of the story. Film critic and historian Andrew Sarris described SEVENTH HEAVEN'S magic as "Borzage's commitment to love over probability." To some it's high schmaltz, really fever-pitched melodrama, and the plot relies on a huge number of coincidences. But it all works beautifully, through a perfect combination of acting, directing, and photography, not to mention the incredible lighting and set design. This is one of the great silent movies, and one of the great screen romances. Janet Gaynor had quite a year in 1927, turning in fantastic performances in this, as well as F. W. Murnau's Sunrise.

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how do you pronounce Borzage's name? claudecat
Seventh Heaven and Borzage's other films finally on DVD, December 8th!! bjnevin
I missed the ending, too! clucy
7th Heaven (1927) will finally be available on its own on DVD - Region 2 bjnevin
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