None But the Lonely Heart


1h 53m 1944
None But the Lonely Heart

Brief Synopsis

A young ne'er-do-well tries to get his life on track to help his ailing mother.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Release Date
Oct 17, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel None But the Lonely Heart by Richard Llewellyn (London, 1943).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,175ft

Synopsis

On the eve of Armistice Day, itinerant jack-of-all-trades Ernest Verdun Mott visits the tomb of the unknown warriors who died in World War I and remembers his father, one of the soldiers killed during the war. After leaving the tomb, Ernie wanders the darkened street of London's poor East End where he grew up. When he enters his mother's second-hand store, Ma Mott bitterly asks why he has returned after such a prolonged absence and tells him that he must stay home now or leave forever. Angered by his mother's ultimatum, Ernie declares that he will leave in the morning. In the street outside the shop, Ernie sees their neighbor, Aggie Hunter, who is in love with him. Aggie plays her cello for Ernie, but when she suggests that they meet later that night, he balks at making any commitments. Instead of visiting Aggie, Ernie goes to the arcade, where he meets gangster Jim Mordinoy, who offers him some money. After rejecting Mordinoy's offer, Ernie sees the waif-like Ada taking tickets at a booth, and is immediately smitten. Ernie makes a date with Ada, but when, at the end of the evening, he tells her that he is leaving the next day, she denounces him for toying with her feelings. The next morning, Ma confides in her friend, pawnbroker Ike Weber, that she is dying of cancer. At breakfast, Ma and Ernie quarrel again, causing Ernie to storm out of the house. Outside Ernie runs into Aggie, who offers to support him on condition he marry her. Rather than respond to Aggie's offer, Ernie goes to Tate's fish and chip parlor, where he meets Ike. Realizing that Ma needs her son to care for her, Ike tells Ernie of his mother's condition. That night, Ernie is befriended by peddler Henry Twite, and after spending an evening at the bar, the two drunkenly wander the streets as Ernie calls out to his dead father. Upon returning home, Ernie tells his mother that he has decided to stay and they make peace. Five weeks later, Ma winces in pain while eating dinner and sends Ernie out of the house. Ernie then decides to visit Ada, who informs him that Mordinoy has forbidden her to see him. Undaunted, Ernie makes another date with Ada for later that week. On his way home, Ernie meets Aggie, and when he asks her advice about Ada, Aggie tells him that she still loves him. The next day, Ma is visited by Mrs. Snowden, a shoplifter, who tries to convince her to fence stolen goods. Ma resists the offer until Mrs. Snowden makes her feel guilty about not providing her son with a decent inheritance. The night of their date, Ada asks Ernie to take her dancing at Mordinoy's club, where the gangster offers him a job and informs him that Ada is his wife. Although Ada protests that she is divorced from Mordinoy, a stunned Ernie refuses to believe her. The next morning, while working at the shop, Ernie becomes overwhelmed by the abject poverty surrounding him when an old lady is forced to pawn her pet bird and the bird dies. When her son cries out for a decent human life, Ma decides to visit Mrs. Snowden and agrees to be her fence. The incident also causes Ernie to accept Mordinoy's proposition, but when he informs Ada, she shows him her baby daughter Kitty and warns him that his association with Mordinoy will lead to jail. Ignoring Ada's warning, Ernie goes to work stealing cars for the gangster. Alarmed, Ada begs Ernie to run away with her, but he refuses to leave his dying mother. Later, Ernie incurs Mordinoy's wrath when he stops one of his men from beating Ike while the rest of the gang ransacks the pawnshop. That night, Twite warns Ernie that Mordinoy's men are looking for him, and the two, accompanied by the Motts's dog Nipper, go to the arcade, where they meet Mordinoy and Ada. Although the gangster orders him to stop seeing Ada, Ernie insists that they be married in the morning. Ernie then entrusts Ada with Twite and Nipper as he goes to finish his conversation with Mordinoy. After buying a rifle from the arcade, Ernie accepts a ride with Taz and his brother, two of Mordinoy's men. When the police recognize their car as stolen, they begin a pursuit, and in their flight, Taz's brother collides with a truck and the car explodes into flames. Rescued from the crash, Taz and Ernie are taken to the police station. After the police find Ernie's platinum cigarette case, a birthday gift from Ma, they question him about it. Ernie refuses to answer, so the police send for Ike, whose address they found on a postcard that Ernie was carrying. After identifying Ernie, Ike bails him out of jail and he returns home. At Ma's store, Ernie finds Twite and Aggie waiting for him and learns that this mother has been arrested because the cigarette case was stolen. Ernie rushes to the prison hospital, where his dying mother advises him to find a wife to look after him and begs his forgiveness for disgracing the family. Later that night at the bar, Ernie plays Twite the music box that he plans to present to Ada's daughter at their wedding the next morning. To the strains of the music, Twite reads Ernie a note from Ada, informing him that she has decided to return to Mordinoy. As the two walk along a bridge, Eddie asks, "When will the world awake from this midnight, when will humanity get up from its knees?" When they hear the roar of bomber planes flying overhead, Twite replies that war may make a better world. Vowing to fight for a "human way of life," Ernie returns to his street and hears Aggie playing the cello. After stopping to peek in her window, he disappears into her doorway.

Cast

Cary Grant

Ernest Verdun "Ernie" Mott

Ethel Barrymore

His Mother, Ma Mott

Miss Ethel Barrymore

His mother, Ma Mott

Barry Fitzgerald

Henry Twite

June Duprez

Ada

Jane Wyatt

Aggie Hunter

George Coulouris

Jim Mordinoy

Dan Duryea

Lew Tate

Roman Bohnen

Did Pettyjohn

Konstantin Shayne

Ike Weber

Joseph Vitale

Cash

Eva Leonard

Mrs. Chalmers

Morton Lowry

Taz

Helen Thimig

Sister nurse

William Challee

Knocker

Renie Riano

Flo

Marcel Dill

Percy

David Clyde

Policeman with stripes

Roy Thomas

Rookie policeman

Amelia Romano

Lame girl

Queenie Vassar

Mrs. Snowden

Rosalind Ivan

Mrs. Tate

Art Smith

Marjoriebanks

Clare Verdera

Barmaid

Katherine Allen

Willie Wilson

Charles Thompson

Defeated man

Diedra Vale

Miss Tate

Herbert Heywood

Dad Fitchitt

Helena Frant

Old woman in shop

Virginia Farmer

Ma Segwiss

Walter Soderling

Pa Floom

Polly Bailey

Ma Floom

Bill Wolfe

Blind man

George Atkinson

Man with gramaphone

Milton Wallace

Ike Lesser

Ted Billings

Cockney bum

Rosemary Blong

Dancer

Barry Regan

Dancer

Jack Jackson

Dancer

Rosemary La Planche

Dancer

Eric Wilton

Prison guard

David Thursby

Prison guard

Sammy Blum

Drunk

Alec Harford

Drunk

Skelton Knaggs

Slush

Forrester Harvey

Bloke

Al Rhein

Henchman

Al Murphy

Henchman

Yorke Sherwood

Cell block policeman

Matthew Boulton

Police sergeant

Herbert Evans

Police sergeant

Joe North

Old man

Elsie Prescott

Old lady

Ida Shoemaker

Old lady

Chef Milani

Rossi

Keith Hitchcock

Roly poly man

Lita Gordon

Girl

Marina Bohnen

Girl

Nancy Russell

Girl

William Ambler

Bus driver

Marie De Becker

Madame La Vaka

Bill O'leary

Cab driver

John Meredith

Policeman

Leyland Hodgson

Policeman

Diane Dyer

Baby

Charles Irwin

Policeman at crash

Colin Kenny

Policeman outside

Tiny Jones

Ernie Shield

Robin Sanders Clark

Sayre Dearing

Photo Collections

None But the Lonely Heart - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from None But the Lonely Heart (1944). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
None But the Lonely Heart - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from RKO's None But the Lonely Heart (1944), starring Cary Grant. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Release Date
Oct 17, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel None But the Lonely Heart by Richard Llewellyn (London, 1943).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,175ft

Award Wins

Best Supporting Actress

1944
Ethel Barrymore

Award Nominations

Best Actor

1944
Cary Grant

Best Editing

1944
Roland Gross

Best Score

1944

Articles

None But the Lonely Heart


An uncharacteristically depressed and perennially glum Cary Grant faced turning 40 in the mid-Forties. Not an ideal situation for a romantic idol, Grant was additionally enveloped by marital unhappiness and would soon display immense dislike for his next smash, Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), held up for several years and now breaking box office records. The star despised director Frank Capra's handling of the material and cast, forcing him to indulge in an overabundance of mugging. It would remain the actor's least favorite film. The publication of Richard Llewellyn's down beat novel, None But the Lonely Heart, about a cockney London loser, temporarily changed the actor's sour outlook, even more so when he discovered that RKO had purchased the screen rights expressly to placate their suave debonair star.

The studio knew they had a probable financial disaster, but eventually figured that the combination of Grant, Ethel Barrymore and screenwriter Clifford Odets would help write the project off as a "prestige picture," buttressed by its possible success in the major cities. The popularity of author Llewellyn, whose previous work, How Green Was My Valley (1941), scored big for Fox, would be another promotional plus. Grant, who hadn't even read the book when it was gift wrapped to him by RKO, clearly identified with the poverty stricken lead. It would be the closest any screen portrayal came to the real Archibald Leach as opposed to the Hollywood-created Cary Grant, irony compounded when many reviewers commented on the star being miscast.

Odets was stunned when he was first told of the upcoming picture: "...It was about a 19 year old boy with pimples whose two desires are to have a girl friend and to get a new suit of clothes. 'Are you sure it's right for Cary Grant?' I said. It seemed they were, so I had to change the concept of the book considerably." So impressed was Grant with the final adaptation that he victoriously lobbied for the writer to be the movie's director as well. That said, neither Odet's bitter yet perceptive script nor his sensitive direction would receive a nomination at Oscar® time. Likewise, None But the Lonely Heart would also be ignored in the Best Picture category.

Barrymore, on the other hand, who wrapped up her chores as the lead character's dying mother during a two week hiatus from her stage triumph, The Corn is Green, was rewarded by a much-deserved Best Supporting Actress statuette. Winning his second and final Best Actor nomination, Grant, who claimed he never took the awards seriously, didn't even bother showing up for the ceremony (losing to Bing Crosby for Going My Way). Nevertheless the star's closest friends revealed that he was always tremendously disappointed by the loss and considered None But the Lonely Heart his finest performance and a personal favorite among his films. To this day, many movie fans agree with Grant, feeling that he was shortchanged by the Academy. As for RKO, they were correct: in the big cities, None But the Lonely Heart won critical raves and did fair business before ultimately drowning in the "Red Sea" of the company's year end accounting books.

Producer: David Hempstead
Director: Clifford Odets
Screenplay: Clifford Odets, based on the novel by Richard Llewellyn
Production Design: Mordecai Gorelik
Cinematography: George Barnes
Costume Design: Renie
Film Editing: Roland Gross
Original Music: C. Bakaleinikoff, Hanns Eisler
Cast: Cary Grant (Ernie Mott), Ethel Barrymore (Ma Mott), Barry Fitzgerald (Twite), June Duprez (Ada), Jane Wyatt (Aggie Hunter), George Coulouris (Jim Mordinoy).
BW-114m. Closed captioning.

by Mel Neuhaus
None But The Lonely Heart

None But the Lonely Heart

An uncharacteristically depressed and perennially glum Cary Grant faced turning 40 in the mid-Forties. Not an ideal situation for a romantic idol, Grant was additionally enveloped by marital unhappiness and would soon display immense dislike for his next smash, Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), held up for several years and now breaking box office records. The star despised director Frank Capra's handling of the material and cast, forcing him to indulge in an overabundance of mugging. It would remain the actor's least favorite film. The publication of Richard Llewellyn's down beat novel, None But the Lonely Heart, about a cockney London loser, temporarily changed the actor's sour outlook, even more so when he discovered that RKO had purchased the screen rights expressly to placate their suave debonair star. The studio knew they had a probable financial disaster, but eventually figured that the combination of Grant, Ethel Barrymore and screenwriter Clifford Odets would help write the project off as a "prestige picture," buttressed by its possible success in the major cities. The popularity of author Llewellyn, whose previous work, How Green Was My Valley (1941), scored big for Fox, would be another promotional plus. Grant, who hadn't even read the book when it was gift wrapped to him by RKO, clearly identified with the poverty stricken lead. It would be the closest any screen portrayal came to the real Archibald Leach as opposed to the Hollywood-created Cary Grant, irony compounded when many reviewers commented on the star being miscast. Odets was stunned when he was first told of the upcoming picture: "...It was about a 19 year old boy with pimples whose two desires are to have a girl friend and to get a new suit of clothes. 'Are you sure it's right for Cary Grant?' I said. It seemed they were, so I had to change the concept of the book considerably." So impressed was Grant with the final adaptation that he victoriously lobbied for the writer to be the movie's director as well. That said, neither Odet's bitter yet perceptive script nor his sensitive direction would receive a nomination at Oscar® time. Likewise, None But the Lonely Heart would also be ignored in the Best Picture category. Barrymore, on the other hand, who wrapped up her chores as the lead character's dying mother during a two week hiatus from her stage triumph, The Corn is Green, was rewarded by a much-deserved Best Supporting Actress statuette. Winning his second and final Best Actor nomination, Grant, who claimed he never took the awards seriously, didn't even bother showing up for the ceremony (losing to Bing Crosby for Going My Way). Nevertheless the star's closest friends revealed that he was always tremendously disappointed by the loss and considered None But the Lonely Heart his finest performance and a personal favorite among his films. To this day, many movie fans agree with Grant, feeling that he was shortchanged by the Academy. As for RKO, they were correct: in the big cities, None But the Lonely Heart won critical raves and did fair business before ultimately drowning in the "Red Sea" of the company's year end accounting books. Producer: David Hempstead Director: Clifford Odets Screenplay: Clifford Odets, based on the novel by Richard Llewellyn Production Design: Mordecai Gorelik Cinematography: George Barnes Costume Design: Renie Film Editing: Roland Gross Original Music: C. Bakaleinikoff, Hanns Eisler Cast: Cary Grant (Ernie Mott), Ethel Barrymore (Ma Mott), Barry Fitzgerald (Twite), June Duprez (Ada), Jane Wyatt (Aggie Hunter), George Coulouris (Jim Mordinoy). BW-114m. Closed captioning. by Mel Neuhaus

Quotes

Trivia

According to a 1947 New York Times article, Lela Rogers, the mother of Ginger Rogers, denounced the script at a committee hearing of HUAC (United States Congress Committee on Un-American Activities) as a "perfect example of the propaganda that Communists like to inject" and accused Odets of being a Communist. Rogers cited the line spoken by "Ernie" to his mother, "you're not going to get me to work here and squeeze pennies out of little people who are poorer than I am," as an example of Communist propaganda. Hans Eisler, who was nominated for an Academy Award for composing the film's score, was also interrogated by HUAC and was designated as an unfriendly witness for his refusal to cooperate.

According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, the East End London road set in this film was the largest and most complete external set constructed inside a sound stage at that time. The set measured 800 feet long and extended the length of two sound stages.

According to an October 1943 news item in Hollywood Reporter, 'Alfred Hitchcock' was initially slated to direct this picture.

According to an article in Hollywood Citizen-News, to secure the services of Ethel Barrymore, the studio had to pay all the expenses incurred by temporarily closing the play "The Corn Is Green", in which she was starring on Broadway.

Notes

In the opening scene, when "Ernie" visits the tomb of the unknown warriors who died in World War I, a narrator comments that "Mott never dreamed that he May become the unknown warrior of World War II. This is his story, the story of Ernie Mott who searched for a free, a beautiful and noble life in the second quarter of the 20th century." According to a October 1943 news item in Hollywood Reporter, Alfred Hitchcock was initially slated to direct this picture. A July 1943 news item in Los Angeles Examiner notes that RKO studio head Charles Koerner bought Richard Llewllyn's book as a starring vehicle for Cary Grant. A New York Times article adds that in January 1944, Koerner suggested that playwright Clifford Odets direct the picture. This was the first film that Odets directed. He would direct only one other picture in his career, the 1959 film Story On Page One. According to an article in Hollywood Citizen-News, to secure the services of Ethel Barrymore, the studio had to pay all the expenses incurred by temporarily closing the play The Corn Is Green, in which she was starring on Broadway. A news item in Hollywood Reporter notes that the East End London road set in this film was the largest and most complete external set constructed inside a sound stage at that time. The set measured 800 feet long and extended the length of two sound stages. This was the last film that producer David Hempstead made for RKO before asking to be released from his contract because of illness. Barrymore won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in this film. The picture was also nominated for Best Editing and Best Score and Grant was nominated as Best Actor.
       According to a 1947 New York Times article, Lela Rogers, the mother of Ginger Rogers, denounced the script at a HUAC committee hearing as a "perfect example of the propaganda that Communists like to inject" and accused Odets of being a Communist. Rogers cited the line spoken by "Ernie" to his mother, "you're not going to get me to work here and squeeze pennies out of little people who are poorer than I am," as an example of Communist propaganda. Hans Eisler, who was nominated for an Academy Award for composing the film's score, was also interrogated by HUAC and was designated as an unfriendly witness for his refusal to cooperate. Ethel Barrymore and June Duprez reprised their roles in a June 3, 1946 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast, co-starring Brian Aherne.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1944

Released in United States March 1987

Released in United States 1944

Re-released in United States on Video February 21, 1995

Re-released in United States on Video February 21, 1995

Released in United States March 1987 (Shown at AFI/Los Angeles International Film Festival (UCLA Movie Marathon: A Tribute to Cary Grant) March 11-26, 1987.)