None But the Lonely Heart (1944)

 Run Time: 113 min. | b/w
Director: Clifford Odets
Stars: w. Cary Grant, Ethel Barrymore, Barry Fitzgerald, Jane Wyatt
 Genres: Drama | Romance
Storyline
A Cockney layabout comes to self-discovery when he learns that his mother is dying. Some fine moments here, and the great Ethel Barrymore won a Supporting Actress Oscar.

4 Comments

  1. IMDBReviewer

    August 2, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Cary Grant wanted to do something different than being a comedic or romantic leading man. He'd have liked to do more serious things like None But the Lonely Heart a good deal more frequently.

    In point of fact Grant understood the character of Ernie Mott far better than any of his other more upper class characters. Ernie Mott was the kind of fellow Cary would have run into back in the days when he was Archie Leach. Grant came from a hardscrabble background growing up in London. In many ways Cary Grant was the greatest role he ever played.

    Grant had played cockneys before on the screen, but in a more comic vein in Sylvia Scarlett and Gunga Din. However what we've got in None But the Lonely Heart is far more serious.

    It's an original screenplay by Clifford Odets and adapted from a novel by Richard Llewellyn who also wrote How Green Was My Valley. Odets was at that time a sensation on Broadway with a whole string of dramas of social significance from the Thirties. The grinding effects of poverty are just about the same whether it's the Lower East Side of New York or the cockney slums of London. Odets also directed this film, one of only two times he did that.

    Grant understood that very well and he turned in one bravura performance as Ernie Mott who wants desperately to get ahead and makes a few bad choices in trying to do so. The only one who understands him is his mother played by Ethel Barrymore who returned to the screen for the first time in a decade.

    It was a great performance for Cary Grant and it lost a fortune for RKO Studios as the public as Sam Goldwyn said, stayed away in droves. They would not accept Grant in a dramatic part. Cary got his second and last nomination for Best Actor, but lost the Academy Award to Bing Crosby in Going My Way.

    Ethel Barrymore won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar that year for this film. It led to a permanent break from the stage and she spent the rest of her life in Hollywood in a variety of films. Unlike brother Lionel she wasn't tied down to a long term contract to one studio and she picked and chose wisely in roles when she stayed in Hollywood.

    George Coulouris is the best from the rest of the cast as a small time racketeer in the neighborhood who Grant gets mixed up with. Coulouris always exudes menace, one of the best in doing that.

    What happened to Cary Grant is the same thing that happened to Tyrone Power when he appeared in Nightmare Alley, great critical reviews and the public wouldn't buy it. Both of those guys were limited by type casting their entire careers. Power did manage to do Witness for the Prosecution at the premature end of his career, the closest Grant did to a dramatic part after this was Crisis which also was a commercial flop.

  2. Anonymous

    August 2, 2017 at 8:14 am

    This 1944 movie is a masterpiece of black and white photography by Director Clifford Odets. The subtilty of background lighting and the shadow effects in the street scenes are magic. There are moments of sheer brilliance with Cary Grant as the independent unorthodox Cockney son Ernie Mott, who comes home and decides to run the secondhand furniture shop and care for his sick mother, Ethel Barrymore. Jane Wyman, makes money playing the cello and patiently loves Ernie from across the street. Mott has ‘perfect pitch’ and can tune pianos and does odd jobs. Grant brings this quirky character to life and makes us love him. Ernie is a combination of dark brooding and sanguine pathos. All the actors are excellent and bring the poetic language of the script to life. June Duprez as Ernie’s girlfriend Ada is riveting. Barry Fitzgerald as genial family friend Henry Twite is special. Even the Dog called Nipper stole every scene. As you can see I loved this movie, hope you do too….

  3. Anonymous

    August 2, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I first saw this movie in 1973 and felt it was a great film. Cary Grant plays Ernie Mott a drifter from the east end of London who values his pride and independence above all else. He was raised in the poverty ridden area of the city but refuses to be tied to it. He believes that mankind can be better if given the chance and not held back. As he says: "Stand back! Let the man see the rabbit."

    Clifford Odets screen play is very loosely based on the Richard Llewellan novel. The film captures dark moodiness that represents the poverty stricken area of London and the Cockney inhabitants thereof.

  4. Anonymous

    August 2, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Great movie about one man’s dilemma where he must choose between freespirited independence vs. the security of settling down with the ones you love, as seen through the eyes of Ernie Mott (Cary Grant). Ernie wants only freedom and peace which he can only obtain by being a wanderer, not being tied down by jobs or commitments. This changes when he finds his mother (Ethyl Barrymore) is very ill and he decides to stay with her and help run her shop. He had also fallen in love and his staying with Mom conveniently means he won’t have to leave his new girl Ada(). But there is a catch with Ada, which she seems to realize from the start but Ernie slowly finds out the hard way as events unfold. The tragic implications have effects on everyone who is close to him and he ultimately is forced to re-evaluate his priorities.

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