Penny Serenade 4/10
Penny Serenade (NR) 1941
Reviewer’s Tilt (4)
Special DVD Features worth a look-None
“When I woke from my dream she was gone, my poor heart was broken
Still I pray that wherever she may be she will remember
In her heart she will always hear my Penny Serenade”
Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, famous for their incredible comedic chemistry, come together in this tragic tale of a young couple trying to adopt a child. After a whirlwind romance, Roger and Julie Adams marry and move to Tokyo with Roger’s job. The storybook marriage starts to unravel when Roger quits his job and Julie becomes infertile. Julie wants to adopt a child, while Roger wants to do whatever is necessary to save the marriage. What initially started out as Julie’s project, soon consumes Roger, bringing out a joy he has never experienced. The family struggles through various hardships, each of which draws them closer and closer together. When tragedy threatens to destroy their lives, and their family, the couple must look deep within themselves to rekindle their love.
Be prepared for the audio and visual, which are distractingly bad in this poorly preserved piece of celluloid. Despite being technically deficient, overlong and melodramatic, however, this film does have several touching scenes. Both the scenes Roger acclimating himself to the new baby, and professing his love for his daughter appear heartfelt and moving. Unfortunately, however, nothing but the child appears to be holding the marriage together. It would have been much more interesting to see the couple grow through the tragedies, rather than drift further apart. Seeing the couple communicate with each other through the child and about the child, rather than discussing their own pain and frustration, leaves the viewer ultimately unsatisfied. Although the film presents Roger and Julie as model parents, even the fix-it guy, Applejack Carney (Edgar Buchanan) displays more true human compassion and caring in one scene with the kid than either Roger or Julie do throughout the remainder of the movie. Applejack’s genuinely unselfish nature highlights and exposes the dysfunctionality of the marriage. Although billed as a tearjerker, it is tough to feel compassion for such a shallow couple.
Format: B&W, Fullscreen, Closed captioned.
Sound: (Dolby Digital Mono)
Extras: Trivia, Photo of the movie poster, Cary Grant bio.