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 ...
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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 <email@example.com>
This film was first telecast in Los Angeles Wednesday 6 February 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11), but not in Philoadelphia until Monday 19 August 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6); it was first aired in San Francisco 1 January 1958 on KGO (Channel 7) and in New York City 14 February 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »
This was obviously a Claudette Colbert vehicle. "The Secret Heart" is not shown often these days, and it's a good melodrama, typical of the era. Robert Z. Leonard directs with panache this story about a woman's sacrifice and decency.
If you haven't seen the film, perhaps you should not read further.
We first meet Leola (Lee) aboard a luxury liner with Chris Matthews, who is obviously in love with her. Lee has been asked to marry Chris' best friend Larry, and Lee feels her duty to go ahead with her plans to marry this troubled man, a widower with two small children. What Lee gets from that union is much more than what she bargained for. Larry turns out to be an embezzler at the bank he works for. His guilt will make him commit suicide.
Lee decides the right thing to do is to repay Larry's debts and hide from the young children the fact about their father's suicide. Chase, the boy, is a grounded person and he goes on with his life. Young and fragile Penny, who adored her father and the music he played, never recovers and retreats into a cocoon; she becomes a troubled girl that only finds comfort in playing the piano just to imitate her father.
Claudette Colbert does wonders playing the courageous Lee. She caters to the children and becomes a successful real estate agent. Of course, as the stereotypical step-mother of all dramas, she is not appreciated by Penny, the girl that carries a grudge toward Lee. Walter Pigeon is the man who has loved Lee forever, but he is too decent to even come close to her. June Allyson is perfect as Penny, the neurotic girl who will find the truth about her father's fate at the end. In minor roles we see Robert Sterling, Patricia Medina, Richard Derr and Lionel Barrymore.
This film is well crafted and acted under Mr. Leonard's ti
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