Larry Poole, in prison on a false charge, promise an inmate that when he gets out he will look up and help out a family. The family turns out to be a young girl, Patsy Smith, and her ... See full summary »
Jeff grows up near Basin Street in New Orleans, playing his clarinet with the dock workers. He puts together a band, the Basin Street Hot-Shots, which includes a cornet player, Memphis. ... See full summary »
Arthur, a sheet music salesman, has an ear for the hit tunes, but nobody will trust it. And his imagination often bursts into full song, building musical numbers around the greatest ... See full summary »
Dizzy society matron Emily Kilbourne has a habit of hiring ex-cons and hobos as servants. Her latest find is a handsome "tramp" who shows up at her doorstep and soon ends up in a ... See full summary »
Norman Z. McLeod
Popular songwriter Oliver Courtney has been getting by for years using one ghost writer for his music and another for his lyrics. When both writers meet at an inn, they fall in love and ... See full summary »
A frustrated big-band promoter runs in to rock-and-rollers Bill Haley and the Comets at a small-town dance. He quickly becomes their manager and, with the help of Alan Freed, hopes to bring... See full summary »
Gangster's moll Honey Swanson goes into hiding when her boyfriend is under investigation by the police. Where better to hide than a musical research institute staffed entirely by lonely ... See full summary »
Jed Potter looks back on a love triangle conducted over the course of years and between musical numbers. Dancer Jed loves showgirl Mary, who loves compulsive nightclub-opener Johnny, who ... See full summary »
Covering a quarter-century of American 'syncopated" music (Ragtime, Jazz, Swing, Blues, Boogie Woogie)from prior to WWI through prohibition, the stock-market crash, the depression and the ... See full summary »
Larry Poole, in prison on a false charge, promise an inmate that when he gets out he will look up and help out a family. The family turns out to be a young girl, Patsy Smith, and her elderly grandfather who need lots of help. This delays Larry from following his dream and going to Venice and becoming a gondolier. Instead he becomes a street singer and, while singing in the street, meets a pretty welfare worker, Susan Sprague. She takes a dim view of Patsy's welfare under the guardianship of Larry and her grandfather, and starts proceedings to have Patsy placed in an orphanage. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Louis Armstrong was hired for this movie at Bing Crosby's insistence. Crosby also insisted that Armstrong receive prominent billing, the first time a black actor shared top billing with white actors in a major release film. See more »
Bing Crosby was loaned out from Paramount to Columbia for this film and Columbia did no better for him in the way of budget than Paramount. Again relying on Crosby's personality to bring in the box office, if anything Columbia probably spent less money than Paramount on his films.
What they did do was give Crosby a good supporting cast, a role tailor- made for him and a good score of tunes to sing, topped by one of his immortal hits, the title tune Pennies from Heaven. This was the second of 15 movie songs introduced by Bing that were nominated for the Academy Award as best song when that award actually meant something.
Crosby's Larry Poole is a more delineated character than most of the ones he did in the 1930s. He's asked by a prisoner who's on death row to look up the family of a man he murdered and give them the key to an old house that the prisoner owned. He meets up with the family which consists of juvenile Edith Fellows and grandfather Donald Meek. He also tangles with social worker Madge Evans, but in the end all his righted.
In the real world I can't believe that civil servant Evans would ever take up with a vagabond character like Larry Poole, definitely not in this day and age. But if he's played by Bing Crosby, well.........
The film has one other interesting feature. Donald Meek mentions to Crosby a few times that while he's down on his luck now, he expects to come into a regular source of income soon. Finally Bing asks just what is this expected windfall and Meek replies, "The Townsend Plan."
Today's audience would not get that dated bit of humor, but the Townsend Plan was the brainstorm of a Doctor Francis Townsend who was a retired physician who came up with a scheme in which the elderly were to be paid in scrip (in other words money that had to be spent) and then that money would be taxed through the sales which would in turn pay for another month's scrip and so on and so on. At the time of the filming of Pennies from Heaven this plan had a lot of followers in the country which was in a depression.
Of course Townsend never got his plan passed, but a lot of historians credit him with raising such a fuss over what we did with our elderly that the result was Social Security.
One of Bing's best.
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