Here’s the story. Irene Dunne and Cary Grant adopt a six weeks’ old baby and raise her until she is six, when she dies, after a brief illness. Then they adopt a boy of two.
That’s all, but the telling of it from an excellently written screenscript by Morrie Ryskind, who found inspiration from a McCall’s Magazine story by Martha Cheavens, occupies nearly two hours, in the course of which there are tenderness, heart-throb, comedy and good, old-fashioned, gulping tears. Half a dozen times the yarn approaches the saccharine, only to be turned back into sound, human comedy-drama.
Produced with less skill and acted with less sincerity, Penny Serenade might have missed the mark by a mile, but George Stevens’ direction and the excellence of the stars’ playing make the film.
1941: Nomination: Best Actor (Cary Grant)