IMDb > Of Human Hearts (1938)
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Of Human Hearts (1938) More at IMDbPro »


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6.9/10   611 votes »
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Up 16% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Bradbury Foote (screen play)
Honore Morrow (story)
View company contact information for Of Human Hearts on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
11 February 1938 (USA) See more »
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Great $5,000 Title Contest Picture
This is a story about family relationships, set in the time before and during the American Civil War... See more » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win See more »
(2 articles)
User Reviews:
Mom's Unconditional Love See more (22 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Walter Huston ... Ethan Wilkins

James Stewart ... Jason Wilkins

Beulah Bondi ... Mary Wilkins
Guy Kibbee ... George Ames

Charles Coburn ... Dr. Charles Shingle

John Carradine ... President Lincoln

Ann Rutherford ... Annie Hawks

Charley Grapewin ... Jim Meeker
Leona Roberts ... Sister Clarke

Gene Lockhart ... Quid
Clem Bevans ... Elder Massey
Arthur Aylesworth ... Rufus Inchpin
Gene Reynolds ... Jason Wilkins as a Child
Leatrice Joy Gilbert ... Annie Hawks as a Child

Sterling Holloway ... Chauncey Ames
Charles Peck ... Chauncey Ames as a Child
Robert McWade ... Dr. Lupus Crumm
Minor Watson ... Capt. Griggs
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Grace Bohanon ... (uncredited)

Ward Bond ... Lout Laughing in Church (uncredited)
Ralph Bushman ... Churchgoer (uncredited)
Jules Cowles ... Churchgoer (uncredited)
Esther Dale ... Mrs. Cantwell (uncredited)
Stanley Fields ... Horse Owner (uncredited)
Joseph Forte ... Army Intern (uncredited)
Brenda Fowler ... Mrs. Ames (uncredited)
Rosina Galli ... Mrs. Ardsley (uncredited)
Larry Harris ... (uncredited)
Evelyn Kurt ... School Kid (uncredited)
Larry Kurt ... School Kid (uncredited)
Frank McGlynn Jr. ... Lout Laughing in Church (uncredited)
Roger Moore ... Attendant at College of Surgery (uncredited)
Jack Mulhall ... Soldier Holding Pilgrim - the Horse (uncredited)
Anne O'Neal ... Mrs. Hawks (uncredited)
Guy Bates Post ... Horse Buyer (uncredited)
William Stack ... Uniform Salesman (uncredited)
Phillip Terry ... Army Intern (uncredited)
Charles Trowbridge ... Doctor Attending Capt. Griggs (uncredited)

Directed by
Clarence Brown 
Writing credits
Bradbury Foote (screen play)

Honore Morrow (story "Benefits Forgot") (as Honoré Morrow)

Conrad Richter  treatment contributor (uncredited)

Produced by
John W. Considine Jr. .... producer
Clarence Brown .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Herbert Stothart 
Cinematography by
Clyde De Vinna (photographed by)
Film Editing by
Frank E. Hull (film editor)
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Makeup Department
Jack Dawn .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Josef Norin .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
E. Mason Hopper .... assistant director (uncredited)
Al Shenberg .... assistant director (uncredited)
Edward Woehler .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Harry Oliver .... associate art director
Edwin B. Willis .... associate art director
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Dolly Tree .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Slavko Vorkapich .... montage effects
Music Department
Leo Arnaud .... orchestrator (uncredited)
William Axt .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Murray Cutter .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Paul Marquardt .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leonid Raab .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Edward Ward .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Other crew
Charles E. Whittaker .... technical advisor (as Charles Whittaker)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
103 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Australia:G | Finland:K-16 | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #4018) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

President Lincoln quotes from William Shakespeare's "As You Like It": "Blow, blow, thou winter wind. / Thou art not so unkind / As man's ingratitude [...] / Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky, / That dost not bite so nigh / As benefits forgot..." (Act II. Scene 7)See more »
Rev. Ethan Wilkins:[after Jason has rejected and mocked the old black coat that sister Clarke has donated him] Pride... Pride and selfishness. They're out of place in our family, Jason. Unless you conquer them they're going to make you unhappy, and those who love you unhappy, too. All you seem to think about is that "doctor book."
Jason Wilkins:Well, suppose I do? I'd rather save bodies than souls any day!
Rev. Ethan Wilkins:I'm sorry you said that, son. Sorry you mistake that cold frankness of yours for courage. Come outside, please.
Jason Wilkins:Now, wait a minute, pop. You're not gonna' whip me any more - I'm too old.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Bringing in the SheavesSee more »


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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Mom's Unconditional Love, 28 December 2005
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

Though both Walter Huston and James Stewart were billed above her, Of Human Hearts is really about Beulah Bondi and what she does for her small family. It's probably her best performance on screen.

The setting is ante-bellum Ohio and the Wilkins family has just arrived. Walter Huston is to be the new minister for the town. It's a poor place he's been sent and the family lives on hand me downs, castaways, and the charity of the community.

In the pious tradition of his profession Walter Huston accepts this as part of the price for his calling to the ministry. Son Gene Reynolds who grows up to be James Stewart cannot accept this. He's a bright kid and gravitates towards Charles Coburn, the town doctor. His mind turns towards medicine and he makes up his mind to become a doctor.

That puts him in conflict with Huston and poor Beulah is caught in the middle between them.

Walter Huston played three preachers on screen, the uptight Reverend Davidson in Rain, the satirical Sin Killer Jubal Crabby in Duel in the Sun and Reverend Ethan Wilkins here. Of the three of them, Ethan Wilkins is the best man and the best performance.

The conflict is generational and what gets the audience involved is that they can absolutely see both points of view. Huston is not some bible thumping clown, he feels his call very deeply and he's not stupid. One of my favorite scenes is Huston outsmarting Guy Kibbee and Charley Grapewin when try to sell him a defective horse.

James Stewart gives voice and interpretation to every young man who wants to go out in the world see something more and accomplish more than he would in staying in a backwater town. Very similar to his performance in It's A Wonderful Life. Come to think of it, Beulah Bondi was his mother there too.

Beulah is the star. In How Green Was My Valley the adult Hugh Morgan says that while Dad was the head of the house, Mother was it's heart. It could be applied here even better. After Huston dies, Bondi sacrifices everything and lives as a pauper for her son to go to medical school and become a doctor. Stewart graduates, but the Civil War begins and he enlists.

Bondi doesn't hear from him for almost three years and she writes to President Lincoln to find out about him. For what happens and how Lincoln deals with the situation you'll have to see the film. But her performance will tug at you if you are made of stone.

John Carradine plays a very good Lincoln. He certainly has the lean,tall body, angular features, and deep voice to be a convincing one. I'm surprised he was never again cast as Lincoln.

The other performance of note I would single out is Guy Kibbee. He's the town Babbitt, a part he was certainly familiar with. It's a pleasure to see how Huston deals with him.

A really fine and poignant tale that I can't recommend too highly.

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