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Smilin' Through

(1932 b 98')

En: 7 Ed: 8

Based on a play by Jane Cowl, a man whose bride was murdered learns to forgive when the murderer's son falls in love with his niece he has raised.

John (Leslie Howard) mourns and talks with the spirit of Moonyeen (1849-1868) thirty years after her death. His friend Dr. Owen (O. P. Heggie) tells him Moonyeen's sister is dead and asks him to take in her five-year-old daughter Kathleen. In 1915 Kathleen (Norma Shearer) has grown up, and John says she is very like Moonyeen. In the rain Kathleen and Willie go into an old house. No one has been there in fifty years, and she finds a crumpled invitation to the wedding of John and Moonyeen. Jeremy Wayne killed himself there. Kenneth Wayne (Fredric March) comes in and opens some 1847 port. He finds Kathleen riding, and they spend all afternoon having tea and dinner. John asks Kathleen not to see Ken again and tells her the following story:

At a party the night before the wedding Jeremy Wayne (Fredric March) tells Moonyeen (Norma Shearer) he won't let her marry John. Moonyeen and John are so happy together. Jeremy drinks and at the wedding he shoots at John and hits Moonyeen. As she is dying, she tells John, "Our love could never die." Since then John talks to her in his garden. John hunted after Jeremy.

Kathleen promises not to see Ken but explains to him why. As they are saying good-bye, he kisses her. They meet for tea just before he is to go to the front. Kathleen cries and asks to be his wife so they can have one night together. She tells John she is marrying Ken. John tells Ken he won't forgive or take care of Kathleen. Ken tells Kathleen he can't leave her with nothing, and they say good-bye. Owen reprimands John for sacrificing the living to a memory, and John ends their friendship. Moonyeen's spirit says John's hate is a barrier to her; he must drive the hate out because these two love each other too.

Kathleen finds only Willie returning from the war at the station. Later Ken gets off with crutches and is met by Dr. Owen. Ken says he won't see Kathleen, but she finds him at his old house. Ken tells her he is leaving for America alone; it's over, and he has changed. Owen pleads with John and predicts hate will keep Moonyeen away from him in the hereafter. Kathleen tells John Ken is not smashed up physically, and she loves him. John tells her that Ken is wounded, and she realizes he loves her. John asks Kathleen to bring Ken back there. Kathleen sends Owen to John, and they patch up their friendship. John nods off, and Moonyeen's spirit calls John's spirit out of his body, for dying is nothing and everything. Kathleen and Ken return, and the spirits of John and Moonyeen leave for their honeymoon.

This spiritual story bridges the living and the afterlife with love and understanding after a great personal tragedy. The young lovers are able to shake off the pain of John's loss after a devastating war, while John learns the important lesson of the forgiveness that frees love.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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