Release year: 1941
Director: George Stevens
Screenwriter: Morrie Ryskind, Martha Cheavens
Starring: Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Beulah Bondi, Edgar Buchanan, Ann Doran, Eva Lee Kuney, Wallis Clark, Walter Soderling
Ratings: 1 Oscar nominations: Best Actor (Cary Grant)
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #259, week 23 2019
We follow the ups and downs of the marriage of Julie (Dunne) and Roger (Grant) as they struggle to become parents and start a family.
Stevens’s (Giant, 1956) melodramatic love story is a touching story ready to pull at your heartstrings. With stellar performances from both Grant (North by Northwest, 1959) and Dunne (Love Affair, 1939) the movie switches elegantly between humorous, sweet and heart-wrenchingly sad. From the beginning we learn the outcome of the love story has been bad as we watch Julie think back on their time together, and with songs she plays on records working as frames we get glimpses of a loving couple strained by hardship. Watching Roger fall instantly for Julie is wonderful as is their friendship with Applejack, Buchanan (Shane, 1953) is one of the most charming parts of the movie, but the most touching scene is probably the first night with the new baby. Any newborn parent should watch this scene just so they can see, how all new parents are helpless and insecure. It is the scene closest to flat-out comedy yet played straight. The humour is found in the unknown situation leaving the two adults stumbling into their new roles as parents and the result is touching. Touching, there is that word again, but when all comes to all, it is simply one of the best words to describe this wonderful drama about love and how much it can, or cannot, overcome.
Cary Grant and Irene Dunne played spouses two times prior to Penny Serenade. In Awful truth in 1937 and in My Favourite Wife in 1950.
One of Cary Grant’s only two Oscar nominations. The other was for None But the Lonely Heart (1944).
In real life Cary Grant didn’t become a father until he was 62 years old.