Even though Penny Serenade has its sad moments, it is one of my absolute favorite classic movies of all time. No matter how many times I watch it, it always moves me to tears. In the beginning of Carey Grants movie career he starred in a lot of screwball comedies. As times began to change by the depression and World War Two, the type of movies that Carey Grant made started to change.
Penny Serenade was directed by George Stevens. The movie starred Carey Grant as Roger Adams, Irene Dunne as Julie Gardiner Adams, Beulah Bondi as Miss Oliver and Edgar Buchanan as Apple Jack carney. Penny Serenade was released on April 24, 1941.
Carey Grant and Irene Dunne
The storyline of Penny Serenade begins at the end and told throughout the film in flashbacks as Julie Adams reminisces about her life after she met her husband. Julie is about to move out of the apartment that she shared for so many years with Roger. Julie plays records as she goes down memory lane. Each record represents a period of her life.
Journalist Roger Adams meets Julie Gardiner in the record store where she works. Roger is immediately smitten and from that point on spends every free moment with Julie. A common trait that all of Carey Grant's character have is that they are relentless when they are attracted to a specific woman.
Roger spends the rest of the day in the record store and purchases 27 records even though he does not own a record player as Julie finds out when he walks her home.
After dating for some time, Roger is chosen to replace and American Journalist in Japan. It is a great opportunity for Roger, but he does not want to go without Julie so he proposes. Julie has been in love with Roger for while and happily accepts his proposal. It is New Years Eve and Roger has to leave shortly to catch a train to San Francisco where he will then continue on to Hong Kong. Roger doesn't want to leave without first marrying Julie. He is afraid that some other guy could come along and steal her heart, so Roger and Julie get married that nightjust before he has to catch the train to San Francisco.
Julie accompanies her new husband to the train station. The train starts to move before she gets off but Julie and Roger are too engrossed with one another and Julie stays on the train long enough to consummate their marriage. Julie finally gets off the train at a stop that is 115 miles from New York.
An earthquake in Hong Kong destroys their house and causes Julie to have a miscarriage. Julie is left unable to have anymore babies and is devastated.
The doctor would not allow Roger to see his wife for several days until she has recovered enough and that makes Roger crazy with worry and missing his wife. When Roger is finally allowed to see Julie both of them are overcome with emotion and love for one another.
After two years of marriage Roger and Julie apply to adopt a child and meet Miss Oliver at the agency. Roger and Julie are both very excited about it but nervous at the same time. The process of adoption is not what they expected and they are told that there is a long waiting list for type of child Roger and Julie desire to have. They want a boy that is two years old and has curly hair and blue eyes. This part turns me off a little because it is so superficial. Roger and Julie also did not realize that they would be investigated first. The agency is not going to just hand them over a baby just because they want one. Miss Oliver is very firm but she has a heart and recognizes that Roger and Julie would make loving and caring parents.
Beulah Bondi plays Miss Oliver.
Miss Oliver makes the required surprise visit to see how Roger and Julie really live. The house is a mess because Julie is busy giving it a thorough cleaning. Julie is uncomfortable over the fact that Miss Oliver caught her and their apartment is disarray. The only room that is perfect at the moment is the child's room and Miss Oliver is very impressed.
Miss Oliver is partial to Julie and Roger and gives them a call when a 5 week old baby girl named Trina becomes available for adoption. At first Roger is not keen on it because he wants a boy, but once he sees the little girl his heart opens up.
Julie doesn't want to part with the baby girl and the couple takes Trina home for a one year period. If everything goes well they will go before the court for final adoption.
It is funny and endearing watching Julie and Roger's first few days with baby Trina.
Father daughter bonding is taking place. Roger is really loving having Trina with them.
Julie is afraid to give Trina a bath fearing that she will drown her. Apple Jack shows Julie how to do it and it is one of the most touching scenes in the movie.
A year has passed and it is time for Julie and Roger to go before the court for final adoption of Trina. They love Trina and enjoy being her parents. Unfortunately, the newspaper had to shut down and their is currently no income coming in. Roger and Julioe must prove they have sufficient income or else Trina will be taken from them.
The court date arrives and Roger still has no income. He has not been able to revive the newspaper and has not been able to find work elsewhere. Knowing they will have to return Trina, Julie cannot bring herself to accompany Roger to the court proceeding. As Roger leaves with Trina, Julie tearfully watches from the window.
Roger arrives at the courthouse with Trina and faces the judge. Miss Oliver is there. Since Roger has no income the judge rules that he cannot allow him to adopt Trina and says that the little girl must go into an orphanage. Carey Grant then delivers one of his finest performances when he pours his heart and soul out to the judge. I cried. It is a very powerful scene.
Several years have goneby and Roger and Trina enjoy being parents to Trina. Trina is also going to bein the school Christmas pageant playing the part of a cloud and echo. Trina is not goingf to be seen because she will be behind a huge cut out of clouds. It is such a touching scene that brought out more tears from me. Carey Grant and Irene Dunne plays the part of proud and loving parents to Trina so well.
Tragedy strikes the Adam's household without warning and Trina becomes ill suddenly and passes away. Roger deals with his pain alone and refuses to turn to his wife so that they can deal with it together. The stress of it all rips them apart. Julie writes a letter to Miss Oliver telling her of their misfortune with Trina now troubled marriage.
Julie is finishing up packing and awaiting Apple Jack's return with her train tickets that will take her away. Apple Jack knows that Julie and Roger still over each other and wishes he could do something to help them.
Roger does return to the apartment before Julie leaves and they have a few words with each other. Roger is disappointed in himself for not being able to do for Julie everything that he said he would do for her when they were first married. Trina's passing brings out all of these feelings within him. He feels like a failure. Julie makes the remark to him that when they truly needed one another instead they were ripped apart. Julie needed Roger so much emotionally after Trina passed away but he shut her out and she was all alone to deal with the tragedy.
Just before Julie heads out she receives a phone call from Miss Oliver. A two year old little boy with curly hair and blue eyes has just become available for adoption. Here is where I start crying all over again until the end of the movie.