John has lead a solitary life for thirty years since the death of Moonyeen Clare. But now Owens, a close friend, insists that he care for his niece, Kathleen, orphaned when her parents were... See full summary »
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John has lead a solitary life for thirty years since the death of Moonyeen Clare. But now Owens, a close friend, insists that he care for his niece, Kathleen, orphaned when her parents were lost at sea. Kathleen is five, but the years pass and now she is a young woman who is the image of Moonyeen. Willy wants Kathleen for his wife, but Sparks fly when she meets Kenneth Wayne one dark and stormy night. John is horrified for it was Wayne's father who shot Moonyeen dead on her wedding day and John has never found him or forgiven the family. When Ken goes off to war, John forbids any marriage and Ken agrees, while Kathleen does not. When Ken returns four years later when the war is over, he is crippled. He conceals his condition and makes plans to leave for America. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Fredric March commented to his first cousin, Kathryn Davis, about working with Norma Shearer, that, yes, she was a great actress, professional, etc., but could be difficult, because she constantly expected perfection. When Davis asked what that specifically meant, March replied, "She was never satisfied, kept having us do take after take." Pausing, he continued, unabashed, "Especially our love scenes. She always wanted to redo all the love scenes, several times!" Davis wanted to ask why he supposed Shearer always wanted to retake the love scenes in particular, but thought better of it and kept silent. See more »
The bulk of the story takes place during the WWI era, 1915-1919, but all of Norma Shearer's clothes, hats, and hairstyles are strictly in the 1932 mode, the year the film was made, a typical practice of the era. See more »
As M-G-M would later do with "The Wizard of Oz", no mention at all is made of any of the actors having dual roles. Thus, the characters "Moonyeen" and "Jeremy Wayne" are not even mentioned in the credits, although the characters are drastically important to the story. See more »
I cannot imagine a movie being classier than this one. The lilting mood of the story is felt all the way through the film until its closing moments. The swell of music followed by the appearance of a 'The End' card, like a surrendered afterthought on the screen, make Smilin' Through seem as if MGM meant to deliver a movie on a cloud in 1932. Fredric March and Norma Shearer's conversations have a sense of 'sway' or dance about them. From her refusal to see his soldier off at the train station then following him there in the very next scene to his simple but imploring, "There's a war on, and I'm in it!", the well-drawn characters demonstrate nobility, humor, and attachment to each other that are poetic in their simplicity. Even an elderly man, as painted by Leslie Howard's portrayal, commits his loving then selfish then last surprising acts with grace. Director, Sidney Franklin motions us into the fold to experience the drama alongside the characters with his special touches: distant gunfire rattling windows, doors shutting on a church shooting while we wait for them to be reopened to discover how the characters are reacting. No leotards or shades of pink are glimpsed here, but surely we have been to a ballet of sorts.
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