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In New York City, Hal and Joan Foster worry about caring for their eight-year-old son Davy, a victim of congenital heart disease. Although both Hal and Joan work, the family's tight financial circumstances distress Hal, as does the possible undue influence that Gladys, Davy's nurse and nanny, has over the boy. Gladys, an outspoken Christian, sings regularly with a large religious choir group and when she gives Davy a book on Bible stories, Hal tells Joan that he does not want his son filled with religious "mumbo-jumbo." Joan disagrees that the stories are harmful and wishes she and Hal were not so continually consumed by fear and worry. At Pratt and Noble Advertising Agency, where Hal works as a copy writer, his boss Greg Johnson asks him to design a new campaign for their largest client, Pioneer, Inc. When Hal tells his coworker and best friend Bill of the assignment, Bill speculates that Hal could be promoted if Johnson approves of the campaign. That same afternoon, Joan, a buyer's consultant for a toy department, receives a phone call at work from Davy's physician, Dr. Chambers, requesting that they meet to discuss Davy's latest lab test results. At the doctor's office, Joan is discouraged to learn that there has been no major change in Davy's condition. Dr. Chambers startles Joan by advising that, along with a new medication, prayer might help Davy. On the walk home Joan finds herself drawn to a large church nearby and goes inside. Later at home, Joan tells Gladys of her church visit, the first she has made since Davy's birth. Pleased, Gladys invites Joan and Hal to a religious program that evening at Madison Square Garden, led by the reverend Billy Graham. When Joan admits that Hal would never agree to attend, Gladys suggests Hal might be convinced to come hear her sing with the choir. That evening, Joan asks Hal to join her, but because he is busy designing the advertising campaign, Hal declines, while encouraging Joan to attend. At Madison Square Garden, Joan is taken aback by the large audience and impressed by the choir's performance and Gladys' solo. Moved by Rev. Graham's sermon about placing oneself in God's hands, Joan joins several others who come forward to accept Christ in their lives. At home afterward, however, Hal disappoints Joan by refusing to listen to her experience. The next day at Pratt and Noble, Johnson enthusiastically approves Hal's campaign. Hal telephones Joan to hastily arrange a cocktail party that night in order to meet Pioneer's chief executive, Alfred Carlson. That evening, Hal and Joan entertain Carlson, his wife, the Johnsons and Bill and his wife Alice. During the conversation, Carlson notes the success of the Graham Crusade due to its strong and well-organized advertising. Mrs. Johnson makes a cynical comment about the crusade, but Alice says there is an undeniably appealing quality to religion. Johnson declares that he finds popular religion appeals to unstable personalities and predicts the crusade's effects will be forgotten in a few months. When Carlson asks Joan her opinion, she cautiously admits attending the event the previous night and describes her realization that her analytical approach to life has failed to provide her satisfactory answers. To Hal's dismay, Joan then acknowledges understanding Christianity for the first time upon hearing Rev. Graham's sermon. Uncomfortable, the guests soon depart, with only Alice supporting Joan's transformation. When alone, Hal berates Joan for her confession, certain that it has compromised his work with Pioneer. Joan accuses Hal of rejecting something of which he has no knowledge, but Hal retorts that he rejects a God who would allow their son to live so near to death. Over the next several days, Hal withdraws into his work on the campaign as Joan seeks solace with Gladys and the Bible. One afternoon a few weeks later, Hal drops in unexpectedly at Joan's office to relate that he has done so well with the Pioneer campaign that Johnson has been made an executive and Hal has been promoted to Advertising Copy Director. Relieved that his sufficient raise will enable them to provide Davy with the proper medical specialists, Hal assures Joan that she need not continue to cling to religion as a way out of their problems. Joan explains that she feels religion has been the major element missing from their lives and has no intention of giving it up. The discussion is interrupted by a call from an alarmed Gladys, who reports that Davy has fallen unconscious. At the hospital later, Hal and Joan learn that Davy must have emergency surgery. During the next several hours of the surgery, Hal grows increasingly distraught, then verbally beseeches God for help. Joan stands nearby, but does not intervene. Sometime later, the surgeon informs the Fosters that Davy has survived and that the repair on his heart valve may allow the boy to live a normal life in the future. Grateful, Gladys suggests they pray together, but Hal refuses, prompting Joan to accuse him of dishonesty. Angry, Hal goes to a bar, then on to Pratt and Noble to pack for his move to his new office. Bill finds Hal there and admits that Joan and Alice have discussed the Fosters' disagreement over religion. Bill upbraids Hal for not supporting Joan and suggests he be more open-minded. The men then go to a nearby bar where the Graham Crusade is playing on the television. Hal listens closely to Graham's sermon until other patrons request a station change to a musical program. Hal then returns to the hospital where he joins Joan and, embracing the revived Davy, vows to change with God's help.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||World premiere in Los Angeles: 2 May 1958|
|Release Date:||1958||Production Date:||
We gave our VIDcopy to EB
|Color/B&W:||Color||Distributions Co:||World Wide Pictures, Inc.|
|Sound:||Production Co:||World Wide Pictures, Inc.|
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What today's society needs to see
Trouble ripples through a marriage when a man has difficulty accepting his wife's newfound ChristianityThis movie has heart. It is about a young boy...
the heart is a rebel, released, 1958
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