Cast & Crew
Robert Z. Leonard
J. Farrell Macdonald
After a long day of fishing with his only daughter Peg, poor Irishman Pat O'Connell learns from London lawyer Sir Jerry Markham that Peg has been named as the sole heir to his deceased wife's family's fortune. To Pat's dismay, however, the conditions of his father-in-law's will state that in order for Peg to collect her £2,000,000 fortune, she must live in England for at least three years and be permanently separated from him. Disturbed by the separation clause, Pat at first tells Jerry that Peg will not collect on the will, but changes his mind when the sudden death of several local fishermen reminds him of the precariousness of his life. Although reluctant to leave her father, who says nothing about the separation clause, Peg agrees to travel with Jerry to England, where she is to live and be educated by the aristocratic Mrs. Chichester. When Peg first arrives at the Chichester home, she is treated like a servant by Mrs. Chichester and her two grown children, foppish Alaric and snobbish Ethel. Unaware that the Chichesters are being paid £5,000 a year to board her, Peg swallows her indignation and accepts their harsh treatment in an attempt to please Jerry, with whom she has fallen in love. In addition, Peg is discreetly silent about Ethel and the married Captain Christopher Brent, whom she accidentally sees kissing in secret. Unknown to Peg, however, Jerry has longed love Ethel and dreams of marrying her. At the command of her mother, Ethel accepts Jerry's proposal but, because she is still involved with Brent, asks Jerry not to tell anyone about the engagement. At the same time, Alaric also obeys his mother and proposes to Peg, who, to his relief, rejects him. After Brent informs Ethel that his wife Grace has refused him a divorce, Ethel allows Jerry to announce their engagement at a post-fox hunt party. Devastated by the news, Peg writes to her father her desire to return home, unaware that Pat is on his way to England. At Jerry and Ethel's engagement party, Pat confers secretly with Jerry that he is emigrating to America but, after looking at the now-elegant Peg through the mansion window, begs him to tell her that he died at sea so she will not be bothered in any way by her poor past. Although Jerry is reluctant to lie, he finally agrees to Pat's plan and breaks the news to Peg. Heartbroken, Peg stays up late crying, then becomes aware that Ethel is about to elope with Brent. To Ethel's surprise, Peg bursts into her room and demands that she not be a fool with Brent, whom Peg knows is a womanizer. When Ethel resists Peg's advice, Peg rushes ahead to Brent's inn room and confronts Brent with his indecency. Moments after Ethel shows up, Peg sees Grace approaching Brent's room with two detectives. Peg then hides Ethel and, while Grace reveals that it was Brent who had refused to divorce her, presents herself to the detectives as Brent's mistress. The next day, Mrs. Chichester, who has read about Peg's scandalous behavior in the newspaper, shuns and demeans her boarder in front of Jerry. Refusing to expose Ethel to her mother, Peg announces that she is leaving the house, then learns through Alaric the truth about the Chichesters' financial arrangements. Outraged by this revelation, Peg tells Jerry she is giving up her inheritance and returning to Ireland. After Jerry finally reveals his lie to Peg, she denounces him and rushes to stop her father before his departure for America. Later, while Peg is celebrating her birthday with Pat and her Irish neighbors, an apologetic Jerry shows up and asks her to marry him.
Robert Z. Leonard
J. Farrell Macdonald
Frank R. Adams
Nacio Herb Brown
Robert Z. Leonard
Peg O' My Heart
Hearst's gamble in returning the light of his life to the homespun roles of her youth paid off surprisingly well. In the opinion of Davies biographer Fred Lawrence Giles, the actress "made the audience forget her years through much of...the film...pouring considerable Irish charm and vitality into her role." Giles wrote that Hearst saw to it that Peg O' My Heart "was polished to a brightness" that made the film one of Davies' best. She won some excellent notices, including a comment from The New York Times that hers was a "whole-souled portrayal, always devoting more thought to Peg than to any idea of making herself attractive." The film did well at the box office, especially in smaller towns.
Released through MGM, Peg O' My Heart is a musicalized adaptation of J. Hartley Manners' stage success, which he wrote for his wife, Laurette Taylor. The play, which ran on Broadway for two years beginning in 1912, had been a triumph for Taylor, who also starred in a silent-screen version in 1922. In all versions, the story concerns the uneducated Peg's comic adventures after she is bequeathed two million pounds on the condition that she leave her homeland and live with an upper-crust English family.
Shortly after Davies completed filming Peg O' My Heart, she and Hearst threw one of their much-celebrated parties - this one to celebrate his 70th birthday - at San Simeon, the lavish estate shared by the couple. The guest list of about 200 included the cream of Hollywood society. The theme was "Pioneer America," and Davies dressed as Hearst liked to see her in films - in a gingham dress and sunbonnet. The dance orchestra repeatedly played the theme from Peg, "There's a Light in Your Eyes, Sweetheart, Darling," a lilting ballad in the old Irish tradition which was destined to become even more popular than the movie. Within a short time, it was named the country's number one song.
Producer: Robert Z. Leonard, John W. Considine Jr. (supervising, uncredited)
Director: Robert Z. Leonard (uncredited)
Screenplay: Frank R. Adams, Frances Marion (adaptation), from play by J. Hartley Manners
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Cinematography: George Barnes
Costume Design: Adrian
Editing: Margaret Booth
Original Music: Herbert Stothart
Cast: Marion Davies (Margaret "Peg" O'Connell), Onslow Stevens (Sir Gerald "Jerry" Markham), J. Farrell MacDonald (Patrick Shamus OÕConnell), Juliette Comptom (Ethel Chichester), Irene Browne (Mrs. Chichester), Tyrell Davis (Alaric Chichester), Alan Mowbray (Capt. Christopher Brent).
by Roger Fristoe
Peg O' My Heart
The original play opened in New York on 20 December 1912, starring Laurette Taylor as Peg.
There was an early silent version of the play produced by Famous Players-Lasky Corp. in 1919, but it was never released theatrically because of legal disputes with the author, J. Hartley Manners. It was directed by William C. de Mille and starred Olga Printzlau.
A September 1931 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that Sarah Y. Mason was working on the screenplay and dialogue for this film. Another September 1931 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that M-G-M was "bidding" for the writing services of Philip Barry and John Balderston. It is not known if any of these writers actually contributed to the final script. According to modern sources, William Randolph Hearst, the financial backer of the Cosmopolitan unit at M-G-M, chose Peg O' My Heart as a vehicle for Marion Davies because he felt her previous "talkie" roles had been too coarse and unflattering. In a November 1932 Hollywood Reporter news item, George Marion, Sr. was announced for the role of "Pat O'Connell," which was eventually portrayed by J. Farrell MacDonald. Modern sources provide the following statistics regarding the picture: the film was 8,140 feet long, was in production for 42 days, cost $623,000 to make, and earned a total revenue of $979,000, resulting in $18,000 in profits. In addition, modern sources list John W. Considine, Jr. as the supervising producer on the film, and note that the song "Sweetheart Darlin'" became the number one hit song in the United States. J. Hartley Manner's play was first produced in 1919 by Famous Players-Lasky Corp. Because of legal disputes with Manner, the 1919 film, which was directed by William C. de Mille and starred Olga Printzlau, apparently was not released theatrically (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.3402). In 1922, Metro produced another silent version of the play, which starred Laurette Taylor, the original stage "Peg," and was directed by King Vidor (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.4193).