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; ... See full summary »
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
Maureen O'Sullivan was spotted by director Frank Borzage in Dublin during production. He initially asked her to appear in the film as an extra, but then offered her a primary role. This became be her first role in a film and jump started her career. See more »
The real drawing card here is John McCormack's singing
As of December 2008 this film is available on DVD fully restored via the Murnau Borzage Fox Box Set. The restoration is indeed wonderful. There is both a full sound version and a sound effects/music version available. The full sound version is just that - a talking picture. The sound effects version has what was available before synchronized speech could be completely accomplished. There are inter-titles for the dialog and John McCormack's wonderful Irish tenor voice is wonderfully reproduced. There are synchronized sound effects for such things as the church bells.
The plot is very thin. McCormack plays a man who has never married because he was denied the love of his life - Mary - when she married a man for his money at her aunt's insistence twenty years before. Now that man has run off and left her and her two children penniless. Ironically Mary and her children must now move back in with Mary's aunt, a rather bloodless creature who refuses to let Mary's oldest daughter see her true love, Fergus, because he is poor. McCormack gets an offer to sing in concert in America, and he finally decides to leave the Irish village he was born in and in which he has always lived. This sets up the best part of the film, the long concert performance of McCormack that is a pretty good reproduction of the kind of performance he actually gave to live audiences. This film is also notable for being the second role for Maureen O'Sullivan in a motion picture. Her debut was in "So This is London", but that film is lost. Highly recommended to fans of the early talkies and of McCormack's wonderful voice.
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