Friday, August 12, 2011

The Secret Heart(1946).

The Secret Heart(1946). Directed by Robert Z. Leonard. Cast: Claudette Colbert, Walter Pidgeon and June Allyson.

Lee is engaged to marry Larry Adams, a alcoholic widower with two children, Chase and Penny. While returning home on an ocean liner, she meets and falls in love with Chris Matthews, a friend of Larry's. Even though she loves Chris, she marries Larry, and moves to his farm in Rhode Island. Larry's talent is playing the piano, which he teaches Penny. Over the next two years Lee tries to live with his alcoholism. On evening while Lee is out with Chris, Larry's body found at the bottom of a cliff. He had committed suicide after embezzling money from his clients. Lee moves the family away from the farm, to New York where she takes a job to pay off Larry's debts, and keeps the truth from Penny, wanting to protect her.

Ten years later, a troubled Penny, drops out of school and is always playing the piano. Lee, now concerned goes to see psychiatrist Dr. Rossiger, and the story up to this point is told in flashback: The doctor advises that they move back to the farm for the summer, since that is where Larry died, and he believes that confronting the past will help cure Penny. Chase returns home from the navy and lands a job with Chris, who now owns a shipyard. He introduces Penny to his navy buddy Brandon Reynolds. They all move to the farm, together with Chase's friend Kay Burns, where Chris comes back into Lee's life after a ten-year absence, and Lee realizes that it was Chris she has always loved. Once at the farm, Chase tells Penny the truth, and she becomes despondent. Although, Brandon is interested in Penny, she loves Chris, and is heartbroken when she finds him in Lee's arms. Penny then tries to kill herself by jumping off a cliff, as Larry had done. Will Lee get there in time to prevent it?

This movie is an interesting psychological study of a young girl obsessed with the memory of her dead father.

Fun Fact:

After filming The Secret Heart together, Claudette Colbert and co-star June Allyson became such great friends in real life Colbert became godmother to Allyson's daughter Pamela.

Elizabeth Patterson (November 22, 1875 – January 31, 1966) was a film and television character actress remembered for her portrayal of elderly neighbor Matilda Trumbull on I Love Lucy.

Patterson's acting in college theatricals, began her interest in drama. Her parents sent her to Europe in the hope of discouraging her from the theater, but her determination to become an actress was only reinforced by her experiences attending productions at the Comédie Française.

After returning from Europe, Patterson move to Chicago, where she joined a theatrical troupe, and toured with repertory companies. In 1913, she made her Broadway debut in the play, Everyman. She remained active in New York City theatre through 1954.

In 1926, at the age of 51, Patterson was cast in her first movie, The Boy Friend. She also performed in the films: A Bill of Divorcement, Tarnished Lady, Dinner at Eight, High, Wide, and Handsome, Intruder in the Dust, Remember the Night, No Man of Her Own, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, Little Women, My Sister Eileen and Pal Joey.

Never married, Patterson lived alone at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel during her thirty five-year movie career.


  1. Very nice fun fact.

    The movies first seen in my youth sometimes get jumbled together. I would sometimes confuse the cliff in "The Secret Heart" with the cliff in "The Uninvited" combined with the cliff in "Green Dolphin Street".

    Wonderful to see the spotlight turned on Elizabeth Patterson.

  2. I caught the end of this one on TCM this morning...didn't know it at all. Loved Elizabeth Patterson, a great character actress...and who can forget Mrs. Trumbull? Can't help but smile at that Patterson lived at the Hollywood Roosevelt for years. Perfect.

  3. Caftan Woman, From what I have read about June Allyson, she has many life long friends through out her movie career. She must have been a wonderful person.

    I know from time to time, that I have also jumbled together a couple of movies.. Right now, I can not rememeber which ones they were...

    I' m always happy to see Elizabeth Patterson's, name listed in the credits.

    The Lady Eve, My favorite Elizabeth Patterson's performances are: Dinner at Eight, Little Women, My Sister Eileen and Pal Joey. It is kind of sad, that she did not have a family to call her own.

  4. Claudette was such a great actress! I know this is a pretty old post but I thought I'd write a quick little something seeing as how today was her birthday. Happy Birthday Claudette Colbert!


  5. Mighty B, Jump in any time.. I always enjoy reading your comments. :)


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