Brillant pianist Larry Addams allows his frustrated ambitions to ruin his life and commits suicide, leaving his wife, Lee, and two small children, Penny and Chase, under the stigma of ... See full summary »
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Brillant pianist Larry Addams allows his frustrated ambitions to ruin his life and commits suicide, leaving his wife, Lee, and two small children, Penny and Chase, under the stigma of disgrace. Lee takes over and devotes her life to paying off Larry's debts and raising her two step-children. Prior to her marriage, Lee had turned down the proposal of Chris Matthews, wealthy ship builder and college friend of Larry's, but he had remained as a true friend to both. On the night of the suicide, Lee and Chris had attended a dinner party together and, horrified and shocked at the death, Lee sends Chris away, and for ten years does everything possible for the children to make up for the loss of their father. Bewildered by some of the strange stories concerning her father, the grown-up Penny (June Allyson) questions Lee and her brother Chase. Later, Penny meets and falls in love with Chris, not realizing he is the man Lee gave up. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Secret Heart, 45 years later (a pianist's reminiscence)
This is not a review; it's a personal experience only.
I saw this film on TV in the late 1950's (at around age ten) and, for years, have been wanting to see it again and regretting the fact that it's not available on home video. I was thrilled to learn it was going to be shown on Turner Movie Classics the other night.
I had correctly remembered the story, including some dialog (Dr. Rossiger: "Your daughter is in love with a ghost, which means she's on the brink of disaster!"), and the central role of the music. The composer, Bronislau Kaper, skillfully used the Liszt Piano Concerto #1 throughout the film, including during the climax scenes. I had actually studied and performed this piece with a symphony orchestra at the age of 19; how stunning to hear the orchestra's opening chords under the MGM lion, followed by the piano's imposing solo entrance as the film's title appears. The Chopin Nocturne in Db, my personal favorite, is the romantic piece played in the film by both Penny and her father; Kaper also used its theme creatively in his underscoring. (I'm unable to identify the other, more mournful piece that runs through the film.)
I remember being smitten with June Allyson when seeing this film as a child. The other night, it was interesting to realize that, 45 years ago, I hadn't noticed the stunning Claudette Colbert!
Thanks for sharing my reminiscences. Here's hoping that MGM might see fit to release "The Secret Heart" on DVD.
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