Always in My Heart (1942) Poster

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sweet film
blanche-231 May 2008
Walter Huston, Kay Francis and Gloria Warren star in "Always in My Heart," a 1942 film featuring Sidney Blackmer, Frankie Thomas and Una O'Connor. Francis plays "Mudge," a woman whose ex-husband (Huston) is in prison. She is getting ready to marry again, this time to a wealthy man, Philip (Blackmer). Her daughter Vicky (Warren) doesn't care for him, but her son (Marty (Thomas) likes his money. Mudge goes to see her former husband, a talented musician, in prison to tell him that if there's any chance of a pardon, she'll wait for him; he lies and says there's no chance, although he already has one (he was innocently involved in a shady business deal; a fight broke out, and a man died). He wants her to remarry and the kids to be taken care of. The children have been told he's dead. When he's released, he goes into their home town to get a look at the kids and ends up staying in "Fish Town," an Italian community, where he works and plays his music. It's through music that he bonds with Vicky, who wants to be a singer. Meanwhile, he watches his son, who is dating a street smart woman who's a little older than he is and becomes concerned.

This is a very sweet film with some enjoyable music and operatic singing by Warren. With the success of Deanna Durbin, the studios apparently all scrambled for their own version. Warren had a well-trained, small coloratura voice that had a very high sound to it (everything she sang sounded as if it started about an octave higher than anyone else's music), the kind of voice very popular back in the days of the French soprano, Lily Pons. She was dark and pretty with a certain appeal, but the voice didn't have the versatility of Durbin's, nor was she as charismatic. Huston, of course, does a beautiful job as her father. Francis looks fantastic and gives a lovely performance. Warner Brothers was just about to dump her. Una O'Connor is very funny as the housekeeper, and while some may have found her annoying, I thought Patti Hale, who played O'Connor's granddaughter, was adorable.

If you're a Kay Francis fan, a Walter Huston fan, or an opera fan, you should enjoy "Always in my Heart."
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A heart-warming, though corny, delight!
mamacoltharp16 April 2006
I watched this on cable TV, and was delighted with the characters and their bonds of love. The love and understanding of "Munch" for "Mac" made it an uplifting story of how love transcends the years and rough times. I thoroughly enjoyed the contrast of Borrah Minevitch and His Harmonica Rascals with the otherwise serious elements of the movie. It reminded me of the contrast between John Denver and Placido Domingo singing "Perhaps Love", two beautifully competent musicians of different genres and cultures coming together to make beautiful music! It made the movie interesting, and I enjoyed the humor and music of Borrah and those harmonicas! If I could find it, I'd purchase the DVD for myself and one for my mother, who also loved it!
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Warners in name only
marcslope15 January 2010
Despite the Warners fanfare and Warners leading lady Kay Francis, it has influences of other studios. There's the multi-ethnic-music-making a la MGM; the also Metro-like mixing of highbrow and lowbrow music; the attempt to launch Gloria Warren as the studio's answer to Universal's Deanna Durbin (she's not bad, but she's not Deanna); "funny" musicians led by Borah Minevitch, sort of like RKO's Kay Kyser, or Spike Jones; and a melodramatic premise that would embarrass anybody. The small-California-town ambiance, with everybody nice to everybody, and smiling mailmen and ice cream men and such, is so dated it seems to belong to another planet. The plot, with Kay Francis planning to marry rich but unlikable Sidney Blackmer, then finding out that her convict husband Walter Huston is still alive and paroled, is absolutely ridiculous. And yet, and yet. Huston, one of the three or four best actors American movies ever had, underplays everything so beautifully that you're hooked. Watch him watch his unsuspecting kids who don't know he's their dad, or singing the appealing title song in that high, heart-tugging voice of his to his daughter, I got teary. The director pitches the emotions too high and cuts too rapidly (at times it approaches MTV pacing), and the ethnic stereotypes are grating--lots of "ot'sa fine" Italians, and just guess which harmonica player in Minevitch's band swings it hot. Not a good movie, and yet, thanks to Huston, and, to a lesser extent, the ladylike Francis (who sure knew how to wear a hat), I couldn't stop watching.
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The value of truth and love
mpauleti24 February 2005
I have seen this movie over 20 times. Every time it moved in me the deepest feelings about family, friendship, solidarity, truth, happiness and the joy of music. The husband who is a musical composer and is in prison, has lost all hope about joining his family again. He directs the orchestra in prison which is playing his composition "alwasy in my heart" at the time his wife visits him. He tells her to go ahead and marry again. Next day he finds out he has been given an "indult" and is free. He decides to pass by his town just to see his children and then leave. His children did not know he was alive (his wife had said that to them attending his request) so they meet him as a stranger who likes music and plays "always in my heart" to an audience where his daughter is present together with a group of harmonica players. Things happened in that visit. Manuel
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"Always in My Heart" ***
edwagreen14 January 2006
Walter Huston and Kay Francis starred in this 1942 film.

Ms. Francis plays a middle class woman with 2 children, who supposedly is widowed. Wealthy Sidney Blackmer wishes to marry her.

It turns out that she is not widowed. She divorced her husband after he was sent to prison for killing a man. Both children have been told that their father is dead.

As Huston is about to be pardoned, Francis arrives at the prison to tell him that she is remarrying. Thinking only of her happiness and security for their children, Huston does not tell Francis of the pardon but instead encourages the marriage.

Huston, upon release, settles in a fishing area around San Francisco. Of course, he meets his children but says nothing.

Naturally, the children find out what they are and the film ends where he saves his son from a drunk and daughter, when she goes out in a storm in a boat.

There are some musical interludes in this as the daughter is training to be an opera singer. Huston does a little singing and there are several sequences where groups of fishermen turn to their harmonicas.
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What a wonderful and interesting story...
florriebbc15 July 2002
This must have been a play at one time. What an interesting romantic story about a family torn apart, because of bad/unlucky circumstances. I like all of Kay Francis' movies. I am learning more about Walter Houston. What a good looking and great actor. The story ends the way it should. It is a good romance without all the "love making"....A very talented singer is Gloria Warren. I am sorry I didn't know about her sooner. Frankie Thomas is so good looking and an impressive actor. I will have to find out more about him. As expected, Sidney Blackmer has always been good and I look forward to his movies. Thank you for listening. Florence Forrester-Stockton , Reno, Nevada
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90 minutes of pure musical agony
calvinnme27 September 2008
I hadn't seen this film for years, and then I only remembered parts of it. The parts I did remember were the dialogue scenes between Kay Francis and estranged hubby Walter Huston, and between Huston and the children who do not know him. This part of the film is very good and made me want to see it again.

When I saw it again the other night for the first time in years on TCM I was horrified. Worse, I was somewhat bored. Either I never saw or my memory blocked out the musical portions. Obviously, Warner Bros. was trying to turn Gloria Warren into their own Deanna Durbin, but she just lacked the "star quality" Durbin had and was a completely uninteresting actress, at least in this film.

The film could have been a great one if the music had been eliminated and the focus kept on the melodrama - a man (Walter Huston) getting out of prison and giving up a woman who loves him and his children so they can all have some security with a rather bland fellow who wants to marry the woman (Kay Francis). Instead, Huston paces from the "good" side of town where we are tormented by Warren's operatic screeching, to the bad side of town where a novelty harmonica band act torments us some more. Just goes to proves bad music has a home in both the low-brow and high-brow varieties.

What gets five stars from me is the warm family story and the title song, "Always In My Heart" which is really quite beautiful and a bit of a theme song for the entire situation portrayed in the film.

If you want to see what Kay Francis and Walter Huston can do for a film without all of this distraction thrown in, try to track down a copy of "Gentlemen of the Press". There they really sizzle.
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Kay Fwanis At Her Very Best
A very touching story in which Kay Francis -- looking great -- is (improbably) married to Walter Huston, who's in jail.

She's being courted by a rich man, but no one likes him (us included).

The husband gets out of jail and, also a musician, hangs out in "Fish Town," an Italian community on the docks.

It sounds corny but it works.
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A Hybrid Film
bkoganbing13 January 2010
Always In My Heart was taken from the play Fly Away Home which ran for 204 performances in 1935. In the original Broadway cast, Thomas Mitchell was the star in the role that Walter Huston played on screen. And a 15 year old Montgomery Clift made his stage debut in the role of the son.

During the interim before it reached the screen the film that became known as Always In My Heart was adapted for the wartime present. It also became a musical of sorts with one original song written for it, You're Always In My Heart and some classical and standard pop songs filling out the score. Because it was a musical the emphasis went away from the son and father to the daughter and father with Gloria Warren who Jack Warner was obviously building up to be his answer to Universal's Deanna Durbin. Warren sang pretty, but never quite made it as a second Durbin.

Walter Huston is the father of Frankie Thomas and Gloria Warren who was in jail for about 15 years and was pardoned. During that time he divorced their mother Kay Francis at his insistence. He figured he was going to be in jail for life as that was the sentence meted out to him for a homicide of a business partner who doubledealed him. The kids were told he died and Francis is now ready to marry the stuffy, but rich Sidney Blackmer.

Stopping by the house and not meeting Francis, Huston ingratiates himself with Warren when he tunes her piano and in that displays the musical knowledge and gift he's passed on to Warren. They develop a relationship of sorts as Huston decides to hang around see his kids for a few days before exiting their lives.

Thomas is getting his hormones in an uproar over the sexy Amida on this California coast town, but she's only using him to make her boy friend Anthony Caruso jealous. He's in need of some fatherly advice even if he doesn't know it's his father. As for Warren she likes singing with the poor fisher folk living on the wharves with their harmonica band led by Borrah Minevitch. Blackmer does not approve of her associating with the lower classes.

Towards the downside of her career, Kay Francis gradually transitioned into mother roles, if the film had been done at MGM, Greer Garson might have been cast. She and Huston do well together in their joint scenes.

The title song for Always In My Heart received an Academy Award nomination as the Best Song, the only nomination the film received. But this was the year of White Christmas and no other song was going to win the Oscar that year.

Certain things in the film tell me that the original play was a great deal more serious. The changes were made in keeping with wartime years as Gloria Warren the Harmonica Rascals led by Borrah Minevitch were aiming at both a USO show and a big radio contract. Of course Warren is also aiming to study seriously as well.

The changes leave Always In My Heart quite a hybrid film, not quite drama and not quite comedy. Still it's a pleasant enough film with the cast doing very well by their roles.
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Dated Soap Opera/Musical Saved by First-rate Cast
sdiner8218 June 2001
Even 1942 audiences must have wondered what Walter Huston and Borrah Minevitch and His Harmonica Rascals were doing in the same movie!

A dated, misguided mishmash of soapsuds (a paroled convict goes home incognito to meet his estranged wife and children who think he died), ghastly musical numbers (the theme song is indeed haunting, but after 15 renditions you'll wince), star-vehicle (Warners' ill-advised attempt to turn Gloria Warren into the next Deanna Durbin? Not!), and cornball melodramatics (the waterlogged ending is a corker).

All of the above notwithstanding, the luminous performances by Walter Huston and Kay Francis provide fleeting moments of genuine emotion, and the supporting cast -- Sidney Blackmer, Una O'Connor, and the always likable Frankie Thomas -- is first-rate. A pity they weren't rewarded with a first-rate script.
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A screecher strikes again
horsegoggles6 April 2006
This movie is enjoyable except for the singing. I don't understand what people were thinking in the forties. How anyone could find the high pitched screeching enjoyable is beyond me. TMC seems to play the screechers early in the morning. I think it may be a fiendish plot of some kind. A strange mix of humor, tragedy, opera and cornball situations. But like I said, it is enjoyable. Just block out the screeching. Keep your thumb at the ready by the mute button. By the way, there must be a hundred harmonica players in this film. The harmonicas/screeching is a bizarre mix. In the middle of it all, there is some decent acting. The little girl, I am not sure of the familial connection, is a real cutie.
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The story ain't so bad, but the singing might just drive you to suicide!!!
MartinHafer27 September 2008
Kay Francis is mother to two children--one who is a bit of an idiot and a daughter who is constantly singing. Francis has a fiancé who loves her but obviously wants to ship her nearly adult children off to college. You can't blame him too much, especially with all the singing, but you wonder about Kay's sanity as she seems to be the only one who doesn't recognize this.

Unknown to all but Kay is the fact that her dead husband isn't dead after all but is in prison. Since he was sentenced to prison for life, they both decided to tell the children he was dead and Kay was encouraged repeatedly by her husband (Walter Huston) to remarry. Huston is not your typical Hollywood prisoner, as he's a model of decency and eventually the state decides to pardon him just before Francis' wedding to her stuffy but rich boyfriend. However, Huston does NOT want to return to their lives, as he feels they have a right to continue as they are--he just doesn't want to upset their lives. But, he's also curious how his children have become so he secretly checks up on them with no intentions of letting them know who he really is. Of course, this plan has complications--otherwise, there wouldn't be much of a movie!

The plot of ALWAYS IN MY HEART isn't believable but despite this, the story is quite entertaining and watchable. However, Warner Brothers' latest singing discovery, Gloria Warren, made the movie tough going. That's because her style of singing was akin to Jeanette MacDonald combined with a banshee!! One reviewer called it "screeching" and this isn't far from the truth!! I can see why this young prodigy only made a few films, as every time she sang the hair on my neck stood up and my ears burned. So my advice is if the movie comes back on TV, copy it first. Then, when you watch it, you can speed through the god-awful songs!!
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I disagree utterly about "Always in my heart"'s music: These people have legit class.
virghammer13 January 2010
What a supple, burnished soprano for a twenty-or-whatever-year old, what range! - Do you tin-ears (sorry; I can't resist) realise she just held a HIGH F (that's UNGODLY high) for a long time at the end of "Una Voce Poca Fa?" - and that whole harmonica / soft shoe number just performed by the company was adorable, accomplished and fun. FUN! - No fighting Ninjas, no hugely amplified, droning electroid muzack. The movie's about half through (am watching it on TCM just now) and I think it's a gas. Well done, lovely Gloria Warren, Walter Huston and co. A human story, told with feeling and class. Who knew. --- Oh rats, that's all I want to say, and this dang IMDb thing won't accept this review unless I make it much more verbose. Ho hum. What shalt I say here: well, Una What's her-Face (Olivia de Havilland / Maid Marian's chaperone in 1939) just played a tiny comic scene TO PERFECTION: "Dinner is served in the breakfast nook" - hilarious accent; perfect, light timing. - Those Brits sure perfected comic chops. - OK, is that 10 lines now?? I hope so. - I shalt now re-submit this scholarly, authoritative tome. LET'S HEAR IT FOR WARNER BROTHERS!
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Hollywood only needs ONE Deanna Durbin . . .
judy t5 March 2015
. . . but that didn't stop Warner Bros from trying to manufacture another. And failing. One minute listening to the high-pitched warbler and I hit the fast-forward button. Because this slapstick-teary eyes-opera and harmonicas-family values-melodrama film has some likable features, I will probably watch it again, but next time I'll use the mute button. Did 1942 audiences like what they were hearing? Did audiences like Gloria Warren? What an annoying personality. Non-stop smiling and perky cheerfulness. Depressing to watch her. I also fast-forwarded through the highjinks of the 3 kids chasing each other around the house. The Buster Brown bobbed kid gets my vote for most obnoxious child actor ever to appear on the silver screen.

What are the fabulous Kay Francis and Walter Huston doing in this B-movie? Warners should have made them the focus of the story, rather than the kids. Francis is so warm and loving and likable - a mother unlike any I've ever known in real life. And it's no contest between the grizzled Huston and his rich rival for Francis hand in marriage. One has star power and the other does not.

Although I'm certain home life in real American homes was not as warm and cozy as in Francis home, I liked it in the same way I like Judge Hardy's happy home. But I wonder, was it realistic that in 1942 a man would walk through an open door into a strangers living room and be welcomed by a teenage girl who is alone and practicing her high notes at the piano? If so, life in America has certainly changed in the last 70 years. But seeing how life was in the Hollywood version of the good old days is one of the major pleasures to be had from watching old movies.
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Walter Huston was a gem!
vincentlynch-moonoi22 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
If you want to see the magnificent Walter Huston at his best, try "Dodsworth". The problem with "Always In My Heart" is that it's a movie that can't quite decide which genre it fits. Had the producer and director gone with a straight drama, the result would have been better.

What's good here? Well, Walter Huston is the real attraction here. What a gem of an actor he was! Here he is an ex-con at a time when that didn't have quite the stigma it has nowadays. I also enjoyed the slice of Americana displayed here.

And, Kay Francis, a very fine, but often forgotten actress today, portrays Huston's wife who is about to get remarried, thinking Huston will never get out of prison.

Sidney Blackmer, a very pleasant character actor, is the new husband-to-be.

And, the almost perpetual maid -- Una O'Connor -- a hoot in any film is here. You also get to see John Hamilton who later was Perry White in the "Superman" television series. As an extra treat, there's an early performance of Borrah Minevitch and His Harmonica Rascals, which more viewers will recognize from their appearances on television in the 1950s after they morphed into being Johnny Puleo & The Harmonicats (with Puleo being remembered as a dwarf).

The title song is a great ballad covered by many vocalists over the years.

What's bad here? The operatic singing of the daughter (played by Gloria Warren). It's not bad, but so out of style today that you just wanna say, "SHUT UP!" And finally she did just that in her fairly short film career!

The climax of the film seems a bit overdramtic, although it does work in the story. Maybe just overdone a tad.

If there's a real problem with this film it's that it is, sometimes, a bit corny and sentimental. But, what's wrong with that. That's how life is sometimes.

For Huston's performance alone I'd give this film a "7".
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What a stinker!
jolenelandis2227 April 2013
Horrible screenplay hardly worthy of a great talent like Walter Huston, who plays a man apparently wrongly imprisoned for years. His wife, mediocre actress, Kay Francis, divorces him and tells the children their father died. Years later, when they're in their teens, Huston is inexplicably pardoned and hitchhikes to California to see his son and daughter. Could have been an interesting drama, but completely misses every opportunity for thoughtful character development.

The better part of the movie is nothing more than musical "filler" with the caterwauling daughter played by ingenue, Gloria Warren, either endlessly practicing her scales or launching into some totally forgettable song.

Also, much screen time is devoted to the bratty antics of what must be the most annoying child star in the history of movies, Patty Hale.
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Screech - Story Makes No Sense
DKosty12313 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I love schmaltz sentiment, but once this film starts reeling, the story makes absolutely no sense. Gloria Warren who turns 90 in 2016, and to my knowledge is still alive is the featured introduction actress and main role in the movie.

The story has more holes in it than 10 pounds of swiss cheese. The ages of the kids makes no sense with the father spending 13 years in prison and having a daughter (Warren) who is much older than 13. As for Warren's singing, unfortunately they have her doing a more operatic squealing than singing.

I do like the orchestra touches and a lot of the other music. The cast acting is solid, and get my sentiment as this script had to be laughable even when it was made. One of the few Broadway successes that totally missed as a film. Some of the orchestra music is great.

Why the father does not anyone to know who he is is a little muddled here. The play must have been plotted better. An enjoyable mess but a mess just the same.
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Fly Away Home with a Song
wes-connors23 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
In sunny Santa Rita, a Southern California town, school-aged soprano Gloria Warren (as Victoria "Vicky" Scott) fancies herself a singer. She is not happy that fashion-conscious mother Kay Francis (as Marjorie "Mudge" Scott) is considering a second marriage, although it could help send Ms. Warren to an expensive professional school. Before her wedding, Ms. Francis visits ex-husband Walter Huston (as MacKenzie "Mac" Scott) in Chicago. That he is a musician and songwriter should tell you something about the film's progression. MacKenzie's "Peyton Place"-like secret is that Mr. Huston is in prison. The couple agreed to divorce after Huston was (falsely) convicted, so Francis could raise the children without shame...

Then Huston receives a sudden pardon...

In the higher octaves, this film can cause mental anguish. But the title song is catchy; "Always in My Heart" became a big sheet music and record hit in 1942. There is good support from Warren's cute teenage brother Frankie Thomas (as Martin "Marty" Scott), their blustery maid Una O'Connor (as Angie) and her pert preteen Patti Hale (as Booley). Huston's competition is wealthy Sidney Blackmer (as Philip Ames), while sexy Armida (as Lolita) causes trouble for young Thomas. Interesting to note Montgomery Clift played the part in Thomas Mitchell's 1935 Broadway comedy, then titled "Fly Away Home". Director Joseph "Jo" Graham does well with the street scenes, especially a rousing variation of the title that likely sent harmonica sales rising.

****** Always in My Heart (3/14/42) Jo Graham ~ Gloria Warren, Kay Francis, Walter Huston, Frankie Thomas
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More padding than plot
buxtonhill15 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
There is enough "story" in the movie to fill a 60 minute feature but no more. The rest is padding, most of it extended and largely pointless musical numbers. Gloria Warren may indeed have had an unusually high vocal range, but her voice is painfully thin and painfully annoying, even allowing for the sound recording limitations of the period. She sounds like a church soprano whose voice will not mesh with the others in the choir. Her charisma matches her voice.

The ending of the movie is inevitable, and it is inevitable from the early prison scene between Kay Francis and Walter Huston. There is not even a mildly divergent sub-plot to move things along except for the perfunctory story concerning Frankie Thomas and his girlfriend. I kept expecting some unexpected plot points to develop around Sydney Blackmer, but none did.

However....Kay Francis and Walter Huston are very appealing and very charming. Their roles were hardly a stretch for either one of them, but they are worth watching. They make the whole thing, as tired and pointless as it is, watchable and even - almost - enjoyable. But not quite. I will watch anything with Kay Francis in it; no one else, ever, conveyed warmth and generosity as she did. This movie, sad to say given its limitations, is one of her better Warner Brothers films. She's terrific; her movies were not.
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Obnoxious film musical with horrible numbers.
rsda072326 February 2016
I just caught this film on TCM. It must has escaped because I was the unfortunate one to catch it. I couldn't believe my eyes and ears when Gloria Warren comes on the screen as a 3rd rate Deanna Durbin. And she is on a boat (like THREE SMART GIRLS) then gets off the boat and gets on a bike to sing (every other Durbin film). The rest of the musical numbers done by groups of harmonica playing buffoons are torture to watch and more tortuous to listen to. The plot which is about Walter Huston an ex-con and Kay Francis his ex-wife gives them probably no more than an half hour of screen time. This was not remade as YOUNG AT HEART as it states in Trivia. YOUNG AT HEART was a remake of FOUR DAUGHTERS. If this was ever remade, someone forgot to take their pills that day. Slap-dash, moronic, ruined by over acting children and house keeper Una O'Conner. And Anthony Caruso dancing like a follies chorus boy with 2 left feet. And to think we have lost the negatives to such great films but this one survived. What a pity.
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