Pennies From Heaven Reviews
I enjoyed watching this movie. It is filled with great music, serious issues, and comedy.
This film ask how to support yourself or a family when there is no plan and how to make a way when one is desperate.
I think one of the things that interesting was that this film goes into a lot of different environments and jobs to be able to keep the audiences attention such as a jail, a restaurant, an orphanage, and more.
I found the Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby parts to this film very good. I was kept fully engaged when either one was on screen during this film. Bing Crosby does a lot from doing very little such as body or facial expressions to tell a lot.
They try to put the girl in an orphanage in most of the film just to get to the end of the film where the orphanage does not desire to have her because she causes more trouble than she is worth to support.
I loved the ending because it ends in an unexpected slap stick ending.
Although Drifter (Bing Cosby) has his heart set on performing music in Venice but gets a little distracted on the way.
It's filled with lovely music & natural performances and it's simple form a sheer crowd pleaser. It's fun & lovable, a good old fashioned lovely film.
I'm really just half-joking. PENNIES FROM HEAVEN is such an innocuous film from the depression era...escapist fare meant to showcase Bing Crosby's singing chops. Most everyone in it truly has a heart of gold that it's kind of hard to watch it with modern sensibilities - I guess what I mean is we are just too inured a society nowadays - what with child kidnappings and Megan's Law, to watch a film like PENNIES FROM HEAVEN without having the niggling "P" word irratating the back of your consciousness (that's "P" as in pedophilia). We just aren't as trusting a society (to strangers, especially) as we were in the 1930's (if you go by this movie.)
The ex-con here is Larry Poole (Bing Crosby)...that in itself is hard to believe (Bing Crosby as a con) but there he is in prison at the beginning of the film. He is handed a letter by a convicted murderer on his way to be executed. The murderer wants Larry to deliver the letter to the family of his victim. A means to atone for his crime. Larry promises the condemned man that he would find the family and deliver his letter. (I told you everyone in this flick is nice...even the murderer)!
When Larry gets out of prison...the first of the family members that he finds is Patricia (Edith Fellows)- the daughter of the murdered man. Patricia is now living on the streets with her grandfather (Donald Meek) after they have been kicked out of their house for non payment of rent. A concerned welfare worker, Susan Sprague (Madge Evans) is also trying to get Patricia into a children's institution because she thinks the grandfather cannot properly care for her. Patricia considers Susan a threat to break up her family and runs away every time she sees the social worker nearby.
But Larry brings good news in the form of the letter from the executed criminal who has willed his house to Patricia and the grandfather. They no longer need to sleep on the streets. Unfortunately...the house is dilapidated, but - where there's a will, there's a way...as most of these uplifting films from the 30's can attest to!!!
Pedophilia? Pfftt!!! Banish the thought!!!
Bing Crosby was a recording star at this point in his career. His film career would really take off in a few more years when he is teamed up with Bob Hope for their "Road" pictures. The songs he sings in this film are nice, which includes PENNIES FROM HEAVEN, SO DO I, and LET'S CALL A HEART A HEART. But I think the highlight of the film is a number by the jazz great Louis Armstrong - SKELETON IN THE CLOSET. The scene really stands out compared to the rest of the film and would make a nifty music video by itself.