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Penny Serenade

212 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

An honest look at a happy, if not exactly peaceful period, in the domestic life of a newspaperman and a former salesgirl in a music shop. Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, one of Hollywood’s best comedy teams, are perfectly cast.

Includes an introduction by Tony Curtis and the original theatrical trailer for Grant’s The Philadelphia Story.

B&W
Running Time: 117 min.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Beulah Bondi, Edgar Buchanan, Ann Doran
  • Directors: George Stevens
  • Writers: Martha Cheavens, Morrie Ryskind
  • Producers: George Stevens, Fred Guiol
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Delta
  • DVD Release Date: June 26, 2000
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630591463X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,076 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Penny Serenade" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 16, 2003
Format: DVD
Directed by George Stevens and starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, PENNY SERENADE was among the most admired films of 1941. But it seems the film has now drifted into public domain, and the result is incredibly dire: a very muddy soundtrack coupled to a picture that shudders and shakes so that you can barely stand to look at it.

This a great pity, for PENNY SERENADE is a fine film that deserves much better. The concept is simple: as wife Julie (Irene Dunne) packs to leave her husband Roger (Cary Grant), she plays the various records the two have collected over the years. Each recording recalls the various phases of their lives: their chance meeting, their rather unexpected marriage, early years spent in the far east. But they are unhappy in their inability to have a child--and so they return to the United States to adopt. But their happiness ends in tragedy, a tragedy which neither seem able to surmount.

The story is sentimental melodrama, of course, but it transcends its own genre. George Stevens was one of the great directors of Hollywood's golden age--director of such diverse classics as A PLACE IN THE SUN, SHANE, and WOMAN OF THE YEAR. In lesser hands the film might have been reduced to pure soap, but he strikes the perfect balance between charm and tearfulness. The leads are equally perfect, with both Irene Dunne and Cary Grant (who were memorably teamed in such frantic screwball comedies MY FAVORITE WIFE and THE AWFUL TRUTH) discarding their broad comedic skills in favor of plausible humor and sincerity. The supporting cast, which sports nice performances by the likes of Beulah Bondi and Edgar Buchanan, is also very fine, the script is quite good, and the cinematography both functional and elegant.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mjhood on March 18, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
When one considers how many poor or downright bad releases there are with this and other public domain movies, It is good to be able to report that no-one will be unhappy with the qaulity of the restoration offered by Digicom.
The Picture is sharp and clear with good contrast and resolution.They are obviously working with good raw materials and not the cruddy rehashed ancient video copies of copies that other companies have released.
The sound quality is clear if not a little over done in the equalization. There are no extras with the disc.
I grade this as 89/100 for restoration and 60/100 for the package / Price.However as there is no viable alternative, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a very good copy of this movie.
I can also recommend this company's release of LIFE WITH FATHER 1947 - equally as good and with good color restoration as well. Avoid any other releases of these two titles.
Mark Hood - writing from Germany
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By tvtv3 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 1, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
PENNY SERENADE is the story about a young woman who falls in love with a newspaper reporter. They get married. Move to Japan. Survive an Earthquake. Loose a child. Adopt another. Tragedy besets them, but in the end they are able to overcome it. The movie is mostly told through musical flashbacks thanks to rotating RPMs and is one of the first films to ever have used the soundtrack as an intrical part of the film. The movie is a notch above most other melodramatic tearjerkers and there's one big reason for that: Cary Grant.
Cary Grant is the man. What more does one need to say? Sure Irene Dunn does a good job in this melodramatic tale about a husband and wife who live through an earthquake in Japan, the loss of an unborn child, and the adoption of another. Of course, the actor who plays Applejack steals many scenes, serving as the wise fool in this Shakespearean-type romance as his character balances everything that occurs. Nevertheless, through all of Uncle Applejack's helpful advice and Irene Dunn's moving tears, it's Cary Grant who carries the picture. Grant nailed this performance of Roger and once again illustrated how great of an actor he truly was. A lot of actors would have been tempted to delve into melodramatic play-acting, but not Grant. Even though this is a tear-jerker melodrama and he has some really cheesy lines in some scenes, Grant makes the whole thing seem plausible and feel realistic. I admit that I am a huge fan of Cary Grant, but I keep digging up these old movies he made, hoping to find a film that he totally flops in. So far, I haven't found any. Grant was just a notch above the rest and could make any movie more enjoyable just by being in it. It's worth more than a penny to see his performance in this serenade.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Underwood VINE VOICE on September 7, 2010
Format: DVD
George Stevens framed this entire film using flasbacks, an old phonograph playing the songs from various stages in the lives of two people who fall in love and are nearly torn apart by tragedy. The screenplay of Morrie Ryskind based on a story by Martha Cheavens is sentimental and heartwrenching. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne make it all seem real and director Stevens gives the film a romantic glow which makes this one of the most fondly remembered films of the 1940's.

The story opens as Julie (Dunne) is getting ready to leave Roger (Grant) because of the pain caused by a tragedy in their lives he can not talk about so that they can begin to heal. She laments that they simply don't need each other anymore. When she finds an old stack of records she begins to trace the various stages of their love through the memories recalled by each song.

Roger sees Julie through the window of the record store where she works, and though he doesn't have a phonograph player, he ends up buying a big package of songs just so he can spend time with her. He pretends he is going her way after work and it isn't long before she becomes "his funny little redhead." There are some wonderful scenes like Julie and Roger sitting in a cabana by the beach reading fortune cookies which gives the story a very romantic atmosphere.

When Roger, who is a reporter, has a chance to go to Tokyo for a few years, the two get married and have a truncated honeymoon on a train which results in them becoming prospective parents. But an earthquake takes their happiness away and prevents them from having another child. Only when Roger gets an inheritance do they move back to the states and consider adoption while he starts the small town paper he has always dreamed of.
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