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 »
A bitter divorcée and a grumpy widower find themselves stuck in a hotel that is cut off from the outside by a snowstorm. Although both have no intention of getting married again, they begin... See full summary »
Mary Barrett is an aspiring Opera singer who is taken under the wings of a famous operatic maestro, Guilio Monterverdi. After spending endless working hours together and arguing, their ... See full summary »
Cassie has come to New York and goes to work as a model where her friend Gladys works. She falls in love with wealthy young Jerry who is already married. Gladys has the same probelm with ... 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 »
Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith, are sent to the State Reformatory, presided over by the melodramatically callous Thompson. Soon, Patsy Gargan, a former ... See full summary »
Tony (Charles Laughton), a successful but illiterate middle-aged grape farmer, sends the photograph of his handsome young foreman, Joe (William Gargan), instead of his own, hoping to woo ... See full summary »
A super-efficient secretary at a department store falls for and marries her boss, but finds out that taking care of him at home (and especially his spoiled-brat daughter) is a lot different from taking care of him at work.
Gregory La Cava
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>
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 »
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.
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So lame, that if it were a horse, it would have to be shot.
"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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