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; ...
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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
Shot simultaneously in the standard 35mm format, and Fox's 70mm Grandeur format, meaning that each sequence was shot twice. Only the 35mm version survives. The Grandeur version was never released, and all image and sound elements from it were lost in a 1937 fire at a Fox storage facility in Little Ferry, New Jersey. 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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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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