Review: ‘Penny Serenade’

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.

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)

Penny Serenade

Production

Columbia. Director George Stevens; Producer George Stevens; Screenplay Morrie Ryskind; Camera Joseph Walker; Editor Otto Meyer; Music Morris Stoloff

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1941. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Irene Dunne Cary Grant Beulah Bondi Edgar Buchanan Ann Doran

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