ALWAYS IN MY HEART
US, 1942, 92 minutes, Black and white.
Kay Francis, Walter Huston, Gloria Warren, Patti Hale, Frankie Thomas, Una O' Connor, Sydney Blackmer, Frank Puglia, Borrah Minevitch and His Harmonica Rascals.
Directed by Jo Graham.
Always in my Heart is a pleasing and somewhat sentimental film, one for those who enjoy the golden years of Hollywood.
Walter Huston portrays a man in jail who has divorced his wife out of sympathy for her and she has told everyone that he is dead and that they were divorced. At the opening of the film, the wife, a sympathetic Kay Francis, goes to visit her husband to say that she intends to marry again, a rather severe man but who is kind to her, Sydney Blackmer.
Her children, have difficulties with their prospective stepfather, the young man being sent off to college but being given a car, the daughter, wanting to be a singer, given the gift of a piano which she does not want. The daughter is played by Gloria Warren, a singer in the vein of Deanna Durbin but not destined to be like her as a film star. She has quite a number of arias in this film.
The theme music and song was Oscar-nominated but was up against White Christmas, so who else could win!
The plot becomes complicated and emotional when the prisoner is released and passes by the town, seeing his daughter, seeing his son, helping the local people, especially a group of harmonica players. While this complicates matters with his wife, his daughter finds out the truth and wants him to stay – with a melodramatic episode when she goes to sea and runs into danger with her father and brother rescuing her.
1. The title? The song? Oscar-nominated? As this theme of the film, musically and for its meaning?
2. The California setting, the 1940s, Santa Rita, the wealthy area, Fish Town, the Hispanic, Italian and migrant area?
3. Importance of music, the piano, the harmonica, the songs, excerpts from opera, the Harmonica band, the procession, everybody joining in, the final broadcast?
4. The situation with Marjorie and Mac, her visiting him in prison, his conducting the orchestra, his indicating that he would be there for life, urging her to marry Philip? The irony that he was receiving a pardon, leaving, going to California, to the town, passing by, wanting to glimpse his children, hearing Vicky sing, tuning the piano, knowing the piano, rescuing it when it went to the junkyard? Going to visit Joe, admiration for him because of his help for Vicky, the invitation to stay, Joe, his wife and the seven children? Vicky visiting Joe, meeting Mac, their friendship, his admiration for her singing? The encounter with Marty, Marty and his car, with Lolita and his friends, no regard for Mac?
5. Marjorie and Philip, the possibility of marriage, her divorce, the children not liking Philip much, his cold manner, wanting to send them to College, music training? Getting the car for Martin, on the boat? Getting a new piano and Vicky upset at the loss of the old one?
6. The maid, her granddaughter, the comedy in the kitchen, the children and their relationship with her? The little girl, eager, hearing everything, passing it on?
7. Mac, accepted as Professor, his friendship with the harmonica group, the rehearsals, Vicky and her singing?
8. Vicky, the discovery of Mac’s identity, the pictures, her father? wanting him to stay? Marjorie coming to see him? His still urging her to marry Philip?
9. Mac, his decision to move, Martin and his problems with Lolita and her brother, the fight, the brother drawing a knife, wounding Mac, Martin and his admiration for Mac and saving Vicky?
10. Vicky, missing the boat, taking the speed boat, the rough seas, the group in pursuit, saving her?
11. Marjorie and Philip, her hesitation about the marriage having met Mac?
12. The maid, her telling Philip off?
13. Philip and his moving out of the scene? Marjorie, with Mac, with the children, the possibilities for a new stage of life?