🎥 Random Harvest – 1942
The Story …
Opened to an English asylum as “John Smith”, an unidentified inmate.
On the day the war ends, the asylum’s gatekeepers abandon their posts to join the celebration in the nearby Midlands town of Melbridge, and Smith wanders away. In town, he is befriended by a singer with the stage name Paula Ridgeway.
She guesses he is from the asylum, but as he seems harmless, she arranges for him to join her travelling theatrical group. After an incident that threatens to bring unwanted attention, Paula takes Smith to a secluded country village in Devon, where they stay at an inn run by Mrs. Deventer.
They fall in love and marry, renting a small cottage and eventually having a son. “Smithy”, as Paula calls him, discovers he has some literary talent. Paula remains home with their newborn son while Smithy goes to Liverpool for a job interview with a newspaper …
He is struck by a taxi. When he regains consciousness, his past memory is restored, but his life with Paula is now forgotten. He is Charles Rainier, the son of a wealthy businessman. None of his meagre possessions, including a key, provide any clue about where he has been. Charles returns home on the day of his father’s funeral.
Kitty, the stepdaughter of one of Charles’s siblings, becomes infatuated with her “uncle”. Charles wants to return to college, but the mismanaged family business needs him, and he puts off his own desires to safeguard the jobs of his many employees and restore the family fortune.
After a few years, a newspaper touts him as the “Industrial Prince of England”. Meanwhile, Paula has been searching frantically for her Smithy. Their son died as an infant, and she now works as a secretary. One day, she sees Charles’s picture and story in a magazine.
Paula becomes his executive assistant under her real name, Margaret Hanson, hoping that her presence will jog his memory. Dr Jonathan Benet, who works at the Melbridge asylum, is her confidant and admirer. He warns her that revealing her identity would only cause Charles to resent her. As Kitty grows up, she sends Charles love letters, and they become engaged.
However, a hymn that Kitty is considering for their wedding triggers a vague memory in Charles. Kitty, realizing he still loves someone else, sadly breaks off the engagement. Margaret joins Charles in Liverpool, where he is trying one last time to piece together his lost years.
They recover his old suitcase from a hotel’s lost and found, but he recognizes nothing. Charles is approached to stand for Parliament. After his election, in which Margaret provides invaluable assistance, he feels the need for a wife in his new role.
He proposes to her, more as a business proposition than a romantic one, and she accepts. They become an ideal couple, at least to all outward appearances, with Margaret a perfect society hostess. They discuss his lost past, and she tells him of her own lost love, without revealing that it is him. He hopes their life together can fill the void they both feel.
After three years of marriage, she decides to take an extended solo vacation abroad. Before her liner sails, she revisits the village where she and Smithy lived. Charles is summoned to mediate a strike at the Melbridge Cable Works. After the successful negotiation, he walks through the town, and the surroundings and celebrations begin to unlock his memories, leading him to the nearby village and the cottage he and Paula shared. Hesitantly, he tries the old key he kept; it unlocks the door.
Margaret, about to leave for her boat, makes a casual remark to the innkeeper about her predecessor, Mrs. Deventer. The innkeeper tells her that a gentleman just that morning had inquired about Mrs. Deventer, and had mentioned that he used to rent a cottage near a church. Margaret hurries to the cottage and finds Charles at the front door.
She tentatively calls out “Smithy?” Charles turns and recognises her. He rushes to embrace her, calling her Paula.
“One of Greers touching roles! …”
- Directed by : Mervyn LeRoy
- Screenplay by : Arthur Wimperis, George Froeschel and Claudine West
- Based on : Random Harvest 1941 novel by James Hilton
- Produced by : Sidney Franklin
- Cinematography : Joseph Ruttenberg
- Edited by : Harold F. Kress
- Music by : Herbert Stothart
- Production Company : Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
- Distributed by : Loew’s Inc.
- Release Date : December 17, 1942
- Ronald Colman as Charles Rainier/”Smithy”
- Greer Garson as “Paula Ridgeway”/Margaret
- Hanson Philip Dorn as Dr. Jonathan Benet
- Susan Peters as Kitty Chilcet
- Henry Travers as Dr. Sims
- Reginald Owen as Biffer Bramwell
- Fletcher as Harrison
- Rhys Williams as Sam
- Una O’Connor as Tobacco Shopkeeper
- Aubrey Mather as Sheldon
- Margaret Wycherly as Mrs. Deventer
- Arthur Margetson as Chetwynd Rainier
- Melville Cooper as George Rainier
- Alan Napier as Julian Rainier
- Jill Esmond as Lydia Rainier
- Ivan F. Simpson as Vicar
- Ann Richards as Bridget
- Norma Varden as Julia
- Marie De Becker as Vicar’s Wife
- Charles Waldron as Mr Lloyd
- Elisabeth Risdon as Mrs Lloyd
- Clifford Severn as Albert
Film Information :
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