Smiling Along


1h 15m 1939

Brief Synopsis

Jane breaks into the film business while also reviving the flagging career of her film director uncle (Wilcoxon) and getting him hooked up with his secretary (Stuart).

Film Details

Also Known As
Keep Smiling
Release Date
Jan 20, 1939
Premiere Information
London opening: Dec 1938
Production Company
New World Pictures, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
London--Iver Heath, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Boy, the Girl and the Dog" by Alexander Farago and Alexander G. Kenedi (publication undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,455 or 8,278ft

Synopsis

Gracie Grey is the leader of an English theatrical troupe. Bert Wattle is another member of the group, and though he has long been in love with her, he has yet to build up the courage to propose to her. Avis Maguire is the youngest member of troupe, and Gracie keeps a sharp eye on her, in the hope of keeping the young girl away from trouble. That trouble is named Denis Wilson, who attempts to romance Avis, but she is smart enough to know that Denis is not the type of man she should marry. The troupe's crooked manager, Bill Sneed, has the company play a series of charity performances, but he keeps most of the money for himself. Gracie discovers Sneed's thievery and forces him to give the money back to the charities. She then takes over the company, and Sneed threatens to blacklist any member of the troupe who stays with her. Denis wants to go with Sneed, and asks Avis join him, but she remains loyal to Gracie. With little money for food, Gracie leads the troupe to the farm of her grandfather, Silas Grey. Along the way, they find a lost dog, "Mr. Skip." Actually, Mr. Skip is the property of world famous pianist Rene Sigani, who, with his manager, DeCourcy, informs Scotland Yard of the dog's disappearance. Gracie and Bert travel to London to meet with their agent, who offers them an engagement at the Pier Pavilion in Brightbourne if they can arrange for the two-hundred pound rent in advance. Without such funds, they are forced to turn the appearance down. Denis learns of the one-hundred pound reward for Mr. Skip, and tries again to convince Avis into abandoning the troupe and collecting the reward for themselves. She refuses once more, then tells the troupe of the reward offer. Gracie takes Mr. Skip to Rene's hotel, but it is so overrun with other reward seekers, she never sees the pianist. Bert then calls Rene and has Mr. Skip bark over the phone. Rene recognizes his beloved dog's voice and pays the reward. The troupe buys a boat with the reward money, and prepares to perform their show on it. Sneed sneaks aboard the boat on opening night and sinks it, leaving the troupe penniless once more. Rene, having fallen in love with Avis, offers to pay all their damages if he is allowed to tour with the troupe. Rene has such a good time traveling with the troupe and romancing Avis, he forgets to tell DeCourcy where he is, which greatly angers the manager. The troupe raises enough money to rent the Pier Pavilion, only to have both Sneed and DeCourcy attempt to thwart their plans. Handbills are printed advertising Rene's performance with the troupe, and the mayor and city council refuse to allow the show without the famous pianist. Rene learns of DeCourcy's complicity in the handbills, fires his manager and agrees to perform with the troupe. These actions firmly unite Denis, DeCourcy and Sneed. Denis lures Rene, Avis and Mr. Skip to an amusement park, where he locks them inside the fun house. Mr. Skip escapes, and leads Bert and Gracie to the couple's rescue. The villains are captured, and the ensuing show is such a huge success that the troupe is given a two-year contract. The next day, Rene weds Avis, Bert weds Gracie, and "Lassie," Gracie's dog, delivers a litter of puppies courtesy of Mr. Skip.

Film Details

Also Known As
Keep Smiling
Release Date
Jan 20, 1939
Premiere Information
London opening: Dec 1938
Production Company
New World Pictures, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
London--Iver Heath, England, Great Britain
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "The Boy, the Girl and the Dog" by Alexander Farago and Alexander G. Kenedi (publication undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,455 or 8,278ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The summary and credits for this film are based on a cutting continuity. The film was released in Great Britain under its original title, Keep Smiling. The title was probably changed for its American release due to the fact that Twentieth Century-Fox had released another film entitled Keep Smiling, starring Jane Withers, earlier in 1938. Materials found in the Twentieth Century-Fox Legal Files at the UCLA Theater Arts Library indicate that the film was originally devised as a Sonja Henie vehicle, to be written by Frederick Kohner and Charles Kenyon, however, their work was not used in the final film. Variety reported that this was Gracie Fields' second British film for Twentieth Century-Fox, and that the dog Skippy played "Asta" in The Thin Man series. The cutting continuity mistakenly states that "Bill Sneed" played "Silas Grey," rather than correctly crediting Edward Rigby with the role of "Silas Grey" and Joe Mott with the role of "Bill Sneed." Modern sources include Gus McNaughton (Eddie Perkins), Hal Gordon and Wilfrid Hyde-White in the cast.