John has led 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
In England, elderly Leslie Howard (as John Carteret) still mourns the death of blonde-trussed teenager Norma Shearer (as Moonyeen Clare). As we see in a flashback to 1868, Ms. Shearer was shot to death by Mr. Howard's alcoholic rival Fredric March (as Jeremy Wayne) while the two exchanged wedding vows. A flashback to 1898 reveals how Howard adopted five-year-old Cora Sue Collins; in 1915, she grows up to be adult Norma Shearer (as Kathleen Sheridan). Presently, Shearer falls in love at first sight with handsome American traveler Fredric March (as Kenneth "Ken" Wayne). As Mr. March happens to be the son of the man who killed his bride, Howard makes Shearer promise to stay away from their new neighbor...
MGM's box office star, named "Quigley Publications" #6 for 1932, acts giddy and girlish in soft focus. Director Sidney Franklin, who helmed both this and the earlier silent film version, does excellent work with windows.
"Smilin' Through" was originally a tremendous hit for popular stage actress Jane Cowl, who wrote the strongly romantic story with Jane Murfin (using the alias "Allan Langdon Martin"). Ms. Cowl starred in only a couple of silent films, unfortunately. Even worse, the 1922 "Smilin' Through" with Norma Talmadge in the leading roles is not available for viewing. There are prints of this film surviving in the U.S. Library of Congress and the Netherlands Film Museum. It was one of Ms. Talmadge's most successful, winning a "Quigley Publications" honor as 1922's best picture, and should be restored. The Shearer version won the 1932 "Photoplay" award. MGM did it again with less success, in a 1941 musical starring Jeanette MacDonald.
Note this version's unaccredited gardener David Torrence played Howard's pal "Owen" in the 1919 stage version; and, the 1941 version's unaccredited doctor Wyndham Standing played Howard's role in the 1922 silent version.
****** Smilin' Through (9/24/32) Sidney Franklin ~ Norma Shearer, Fredric March, Leslie Howard, O.P. Heggie
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