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 »
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 <email@example.com>
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 »
A trifle in Bing's career saved by a few pleasant songs...
PENNIES FROM HEAVEN has an improbable story about a drifter (BING CROSBY) who plays the lute and sings for his supper at a nightclub he opens at The Haunted House Cafe. The house has been inherited by DONALD COOK and EDITH FELLOWS from a prisoner on death row who wills the house to them as atonement for having killed the girl's father and is turned into a café by Bing and his friends, including LOUIS ARMSTRONG who is the vocalist and trumpet player.
The main focal of the plot is Bing's relationship with bratty little Edith Fellows, who causes no end of trouble throughout and is the most irritating factor about the whole thing although she's meant to be amusing and cute. MADGE EVANS as a social worker brings some sense of practicality to the whole affair and DONALD COOK provides some good humor, but the script meanders all over the place.
Crosby makes the role of the drifter pleasant enough but his character is never quite believable. Only when the musical numbers are played does the film reach any real level of entertainment, particularly during the "haunted" number at the café featuring a skeleton dance while Louis Armstrong belts out the song.
This is a harmless trifle in Bing's career, on loan to Columbia before his big successes at Paramount, and mostly because he delivers a few songs in his unmistakable crooning style, particularly the title tune.
Bing is his usual amiable self, but the script is miserable. He is credited with giving Armstrong a break by insisting that he be given prominent billing, a breakthrough for Louis. They would appear in four films together throughout Crosby's career.
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