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The Secret Heart (1946)

Not Rated | | Drama , Romance | 25 December 1946 (USA)
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 »


Robert Z. Leonard


Whitfield Cook (screenplay), Anne Morrison Chapin (screenplay) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Claudette Colbert ... Lee Addams
Walter Pidgeon ... Chris Matthews
June Allyson ... Penny Addams
Lionel Barrymore ... Dr. Rossiger
Robert Sterling ... Chase N. Addams
Marshall Thompson ... Brandon Reynolds
Elizabeth Patterson ... Mrs. Stover
Richard Derr ... Larry Addams
Patricia Medina ... Kay Burns
Eily Malyon ... Miss Hunter
Ann Lace Ann Lace ... Penny as a Child
Dwayne Hickman ... Chase as a Child


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 <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SHE had no right to love him...but she did! (original poster) See more »


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 December 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apolytrosis See more »


Box Office


$1,735,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 17, 1947 with Walter Pidgeon and Claudette Colbert reprising their film roles. See more »


William pushes the champagne cart through the dining room twice. See more »


Penny Addams: [she is being called] I won't answer.
Chris Matthews: Why not?
Penny Addams: Boys frighten me.
Chris Matthews: Oh, that's nonsense.
Penny Addams: No. They frighten me. Really they do.
Chris Matthews: Because you haven't met the right one.
Penny Addams: How will I know when I do?
Chris Matthews: Oh, as a matter of fact, you'll fall in love.
Penny Addams: How will I know?
Chris Matthews: You'll know.
See more »


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User Reviews

Interesting drama with June Allyson in a serious role
2 June 2008 | by mgmstar128See all my reviews

I won't rehash the plot as many viewers before me have already done that for us. I will say that I enjoyed the film, as I have always liked the work of June Allyson and Claudette Colbert.

It was a nice change to see June in a different kind of a role for her. I also liked her in The Shrike. In that one, she also turned in a very different type of role expected of her. The problem for some viewers is that they don't want to see June in anything else except Little Miss Sunshine. Now June may not have been Meryl Streep, but she was a good actress.

I think the whole cast was fine, and Robert Sterling as Claudette's adult son was very good. He and Claudette as stepson and stepmother exhibited a loving and believable relationship. It was also fun to see Elizabeth Patterson (Mrs. Trumble from I Love Lucy) as the housekeeper/cook.

As for Miss Colbert, I had the privilege of seeing her in two Broadway shows (The Kingfisher and A Talent for Murder). She gave me an autograph and we enjoyed a brief chat at the stage door. She was gracious, sweet, and still beautiful. As for the film, she was very strong and believable as the determined mother to take on all she needed to in order to provide for her children and to clean up her husband's mistakes.

The Secret Heart maybe a bit melodramatic at times, but as a product of the 1940's, it is an interesting film and well made.

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