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Pennies from Heaven (1936)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Musical  |  25 November 1936 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 439 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 11 critic

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 »

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(novel) (as Katharine Leslie Moore) , (story), 1 more credit »
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Title: Pennies from Heaven (1936)

Pennies from Heaven (1936) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Susan Sprague
Edith Fellows ...
Patsy Smith
...
Henry
...
Gramp Smith
John Gallaudet ...
J. C. Hart
William Stack ...
Clarence B. Carmichael
Nana Bryant ...
Miss Howard
Tom Dugan ...
Crowbar Miller (as Tommy Dugan)
Nydia Westman ...
Slavey - Hotel Maid
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
William Byrne ...
Boy (as Billy Byrne uncredited)
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Storyline

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 <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

LAUGHS...wen a vagabond troubadour yearns for a gondola in Venice and gets a rowboat in Central Park (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 November 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dinero del cielo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several cast members in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. These were (with their character names): Richard Carle (Mr. Briggs), Eddie Borden (Mr. Bilkins), Maston Williams (Prisoner) and Nick Copeland (Middle-aged Man). Reviews list Tom Ricketts in the role of Mr. Briggs. but he was not seen in movie either. See more »

Quotes

Waiter: Hey Mister, you better get yourself a new waiter. I just figured out the checks and everybody seems to be a partner. The way it adds up, you've sold 110% of this restaurant. I agreed to work here for my tips and there aren't no tips. The only paying customer was that dame that just left. She give me a dime. Here, you take it. You might need it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Skeleton in the Closet
(1936)
Music by Arthur Johnston
Lyrics by Johnny Burke
Performed by Louis Armstrong with Louis Armstrong and His Band
See more »

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User Reviews

 
So lame, that if it were a horse, it would have to be shot.
28 May 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Pennies from Heaven" is thematically so similar to "Penny Serenade" (a classic tear-jerker) that one might think was Columbia's attempt to (forgive me) cash in on the success of "Penny Serenade" (another Columbia film). But the latter came five years later. "Pennies from Heaven" is little more than a Bing Crosby vehicle -- one badly in need of a tune-up.

It starts off well enough, with a man about to be executed for murder handing a letter to a self-styled "troubadour" (Bing Crosby) to be delivered to the family of the man he killed. Once Crosby finds them, he makes a half-hearted effort to help (he's on his way to Venice), but his affection for the man's daughter (Edith Fellows) encourages him to stay. When a social worker (Madge Evens) comes after the girl to put her in an orphanage, Crosby announces a plan to open a restaurant.

It is at this point that the story runs off the rails of plausibility, crashing into a chasm deeper than any Wile E Coyote ever fell into. I need not describe the fore-ordained and saccharine ending, made possible by the miracle of Arbitrary Plotting.

There are good things. If you like Der Bingle, you get to hear him introduce the classic title song. Louis Armstrong (whom Crosby insisted be hired) is a treat, Edith Fellows is an agreeably anarchic child, and Stanley Andrews (the host of "Death Valley Days") has an unbilled role as a plainclothes officer. Evans, though, is sufficiently blah one wonders how a woman-hater like Crosby's character would ever find her attractive.

Jo Swerling wrote better scripts than this one, but Norman McLeod's direction is tight and brisk. Note his unusual camera angles, as when Fellows looks through her opera glasses at Crosby.

Nevertheless, "Pennies from Heaven" is one of those "less than the sum of its parts" films in which everyone's contribution is wasted on a poor story. You may safely skip it.

PS: Crosby's character says at one point that he was born in Washington state -- which the real Crosby was. (Different city, though.)


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