Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tonight's Movie: The Secret Heart (1946)

THE SECRET HEART is a psychological melodrama about a girl (June Allyson) obsessed with her dead father's memory. Claudette Colbert is the girl's caring stepmother, and Walter Pidgeon is Colbert's old flame. The movie is the kind of glossy, solidly made film which MGM excelled at in the '40s.

Colbert and Pidgeon are their usual entertaining, polished selves as the reunited lovers. Allyson looks particularly lovely in this film, but unfortunately is saddled with a fairly unappealing character as the disturbed young girl. The story, however, is absorbing and this is a well-made film with good performances which is well worth watching.

The supporting cast includes Robert Sterling, Patricia Medina, Marshall Thompson, Lionel Barrymore, and Elizabeth Patterson. Barrymore is only in one scene, playing Allyson's psychiatrist, but he's very effective in the part.

A nice bit of trivia is that Allyson came to consider Colbert a great mentor; Allyson admired Colbert so much that she and Dick Powell later asked Colbert to be the godmother to their daughter, Pamela. Allyson wrote in her autobiography that Claudette brought the baby a christening gown from Paris.

THE SECRET HEART was directed by Robert Z. Leonard. It runs 97 minutes.

This movie is unfortunately not available on DVD or video -- a Claudette Colbert DVD set would be a fine idea! -- but it can be seen on cable on TCM.

The trailer can be seen here.

August 2014 Update: This film is now available on DVD from the Warner Archive. My review of the DVD, with more extensive thoughts on the film, may be found here.


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