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An embittered man threatens the love life of his niece, who's a dead ringer for his lost fiancee.
In 1898, a small English village celebrates Queen Victoria's sixtieth jubilee, but Sir John Carteret can only mourn his sweetheart Moonyean Clare, who died thirty years before. When John, who spends most of his time brooding about the past, goes to his garden, he sees Moonyean in his thoughts. That same afternoon, the Reverend Owen Harding, who is John's best friend, comes to tell him that Moonyean's sister and brother-in-law have drowned in Dublin, leaving their five-year-old daughter Kathleen orphaned. Owen has brought Kathleen with him and, despite John's initial protests, he is enchanted with the child and decides to care for her. Kathleen grows into a beautiful young woman, the image of her aunt Moonyean, and on her twenty-first birthday, Willie, one of her many suitors, tries to propose to her. Rain forces them to seek refuge in the long-abandoned Wayne house. Suddenly, a man appears and he and Kathleen are immediately attracted to each other. The man reveals that he is an American enlisting in the British army to fight in France, and that he is Kenneth Wayne, the son of the house's late owner, Jeremy Wayne. From that night, Kenneth and Kathleen spend a lot of time together and fall in love. One evening, Kathleen casually mentions Kenneth to John and Owen and is startled at her uncle's shock. When John leaves, Owen advises her not to question John, but she follows him to the garden and, to convince her not to see Kenneth again, John tells her why he hates the Waynes: In 1868, on the eve of John and Moonyean's wedding, the deeply in love couple host a party at John's house. Owen arrives and tells John that he has seen Jeremy drinking heavily and making threats, but John dismisses them as drunken words by a spurned suitor. Jeremy later comes to the garden and tells Moonyean how much he still loves her, but she only feels friendship toward him. He threatens to kill John and drunkenly grabs her, but she rejects him and he leaves. When John finds her in the garden, she does not tell him what has happened. The next morning, while Jeremy's drinking and rage increase, Owen begins the wedding ceremony. Suddenly, Jeremy shows up brandishing a gun. As he takes aim and fires at John, Moonyean jumps in front of him and takes the fatal bullet. As she dies, Moonyean tells John that their love will never die and if he needs her, she will find a way to come back to him. After John's story ends, he reveals that, despite his relentless pursuit, Jeremy was never caught. John then begs her not to see Kenneth again and she sadly agrees. She then writes a goodbye letter to Kenneth. When Kenneth goes to see her at a servicemen's canteen, she tells him about Moonyean. They kiss goodbye, but realize that they are too much in love to part and agree to see each other secretly until he goes to France. They soon decide to marry and hope that John will understand, but he angrily says that he will never forgive her if she marries Kenneth. Although Kathleen still wants to marry, Kenneth is afraid that she will have no one if he dies in France and sends her home. Later, John displays such callousness over Kathleen's pain that Owen chastises him, and John sends him away. Now alone, when John calls out for Moonyean, she says that she cannot reach him because his hate is driving her away and could stand between them for eternity. In 1918, an embittered Kenneth comes home on crutches, determined to sell his estate and leave for America without seeing Kathleen. Back at his house, Kathleen, who has seen the lights, rushes in but does not see the crutches, which he has hidden. She has been worried because he has not written for three months and quickly realizes that something is wrong. When he says that he no longer loves her, she then leaves in tears. Meanwhile, Owen who has not seen John in more than three years, goes to him. Having spoken to Kenneth earlier, Owen tells John about his wounds but John is unable to forget the past. After Owen leaves, Kathleen arrives and John realizes that Kenneth has hidden his condition to protect her. When she tearfully says that, like him, she will never be over her love, he is ashamed and tells her the truth. She then happily rushes to see Kenneth as John asks her to return home with him. On the way, she sees Owen and asks him to go to John, who tells him what has happened and asks him to stay for a game of chess. John appears to fall asleep and Owen leaves, unaware that his friend has died. The spirit of Moonyean then comes to him and his spirit rises to greet her. Happy in death, they enter their carriage, just as Kenneth and Kathleen drive back to the house.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1941||Production Date:||
A Frank Borzage Production
|Color/B&W:||Color (Technicolor)||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Sound System)||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
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Beautifully photographed film! Jeanette McDonald gets the chance to actually act and she is quite good too. You will hear the most stirring rendition...
Smilin' Through (1932)
James Higgins 2010-02-19
Solid melodrama, excellent MGM production. The cast is great, Norma Shearer is radiant and gives a fine performance. Fredric March is fine as well. Very...