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The Shining Hour

The Shining Hour(1938)

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Henry Linden, a wealthy farmer from Wisconsin, has fallen in love with New York City nightclub entertainer Olivia Riley and wants to marry her. Although Olivia is not in love with Henry, she is lonely and fond of him, so she agrees to become his wife and move to his family's Wisconsin farm. Meanwhile, Henry's brother David, who has never met Olivia, goes to New York to try and stop the marriage, but when he sees her, he immediately becomes very attracted to her. She is also attracted to the moody David, but, for Henry's sake, neither express their feelings and she soon weds Henry. At the farm, David's wife Judy, a sweet, uncomplicated woman who loves her husband very much, is kind to Olivia, but Hannah, David and Henry's possessive older sister, is cold to her new sister-in-law. Hannah's feelings of animosity toward Olivia soon cause strains on the family, as does the growing attraction between David and Olivia. To alleviate the strain of living under the same roof with the rest of the family, Olivia and Henry build a new house close by. Building the new house seems to help Olivia, but soon David approaches her and tells her that he loves her. Olivia, who is still attracted to David, feels disloyal to Henry as well as to Judy, who has become her closest friend, and begins to think that she should leave. At a house-warming party for Olivia and Henry, Hannah makes snide, hurtful remarks to Olivia, and Benny Collins, a hired hand who is also attracted to Olivia, makes a pass at her and is knocked down by David. Later, Olivia tells Henry that she wants to leave and, though he does not completely know why, he agrees that they should travel for a while. When Henry goes to tell Hannah, she angrily accuses him of being blind to his wife's true character, and he tells her that it is she who is forcing them to leave. Just then, Benny rushes in to tell them that Henry and Olivia's new house is in flames. While the family tries to stop the fire, Judy, who has suspected that the more worldly David is in love with Olivia, rushes into the burning house. As the structure collapses, Olivia runs into the house and saves Judy. Though Olivia's burns are minor, Judy is very seriously burned in the blaze. Guilt-ridden over Judy's attempted sacrifice, David finally realizes that he has loved his wife all along. After Olivia tells him to go to her bedside, he finds Judy's face bandaged, but her eyes show him that she forgives him. Now realizing that she does not love David, Olivia decides that she must leave the farm and will not listen to Henry when he tries to convince her to stay. Hannah, however, whom Henry knows set the fire, tells her brother that she was wrong about Olivia and begs him to either bring her back or go with her. After listening to her advice, Henry goes after Olivia and they drive away from the farm together, in the hope of finding a new life.