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William A. Seiter
Broken hearts in Ireland. Sean is a great tenor, in semi-retirement, living in a village close to Mary, the woman he's always loved. Mary's aunt convinced her to marry a man for his money; he's has recently deserted her, leaving her penniless. She and her two children, Eileen and Tad, move in with the selfish and austere aunt and are miserable. Eileen is falling in love with Fergus, a young man who's off to Dublin to seek his fortune. Sean is drawn out of retirement and goes on tour in America. At his first concert, he's nervous and out of sorts until the last song, when peace descends on him like a gift. What has happened, and can family life be set right? Written by
John McCormick's selection of Frank Borzage as director for this film was announced on June 15, 1929. See more »
Mind you, I admit he's a good singer, but there's somethin' lacking... He hasn't got that certain 'ny-aah' in his voice.
[sings a folk tune]
Now there's a 'ny-aah' for you in all its glory... and til he has that, he'll never be a great singer.
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A melodrama worth watching for the concert segment alone.
The plot is melodramatic - created just for the purpose of capturing the singing of John McCormack on film.
McCormack was the most successful concert performer of the early twentieth century and the archetype for what we now call the "Irish Tenor".
The film is unique for an uninterrupted concert sequence that essentially replicates the sort of performance McCormack gave thousands of times all over the world to packed houses.
The story includes some brief "bits" of Irish humour and features the film debut of Maureen O'Sullivan.
The story of a middle-aged teacher living in a small Irish village who just happens have a world-class singing voice and is willing to give it all up to care for the children of his recently childhood sweetheart is too much to be taken seriously even for the very early 1930s.
There was a problem with the quality of the sound track on the videotape I saw. The fact that the only remaining copy of this film (once believed lost due to fire) was found after decades in a movie theatre basement may explain this loss of quality.
All that being said, as a lover of great singing I found the musical segments made it well worth the time spent watching the film.
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