Penny Serenade (1941)


No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...


Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

While listening to a recording of "Penny Serenade," Irene Dunne begins reflecting on her past. She recalls her near-impulsive marriage to newspaper reporter Cary Grant, which begins on a deliriously-happy note but which turns out to be fraught with tragedy.

Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Romance, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Martha Cheavens, Morrie Ryskind, Morris Ryskind
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 13, 1998
Columbia Pictures


as Roger Adams

as Julie Gardiner Adams

as Miss Oliver

as Applejack Carney

as Dotty 'Dot'

as Trina age 6

as Dr. Hartley

as Billings

as Trina age 1

as Minister

as McDougal

as Sung Chong

as Bill Collector

as Flower Girl

as Press Operator

as Ohanna-San

as Sam the Cook

as Policeman

as Cab Driver

as Reporter

as Bootlegger

as Train Conductor

as Cab Driver

as Minister's Wife

as Mother

as Father

as Chinese Waitress

as Rickshaw Boy

as Rickshaw Boy

as Old Printer

as Mother
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News & Interviews for Penny Serenade

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Critic Reviews for Penny Serenade

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (4)

George Stevens' direction and the excellence of the stars' playing make the film.

Full Review… | November 13, 2007
Top Critic

This is a classic 'women's picture' in every sense.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

If you are prone to easy weeping, you might even take along a washtub.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

If you have any tolerance for soap opera, this is one of the classics.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

George Stevens' sentimental melodrama is extremely well acted by Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, who received for his part of a depressed father the first of his two Oscar nominations.

Full Review… | April 29, 2012

This is a weeper from the start, with only a few moments of comedy placed in so the audience can dry their eyes before the next sentimental barrage.

Full Review… | November 13, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Penny Serenade

Love, marriage, and parenthood, all the bittersweet magnificence of life is on display in "Penny Serenade", a sentimental little film from 1941. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne star as the lovers who, as the movie opens, seem doomed to separate. As she's packing to leave her husband, she finds a box of old records and begins to listen to them. Each record is tied to a specific place and time in her mind, unlocking memories that show a relationship unfold as the movie progresses. The song she was playing at the record store where she worked when they first met or the song that reminded her of the time they spent living in Japan, each is a poignant little chapter in the lives of these two people. But why is she leaving her husband? The answer reveals itself slowly and tragically.

It's said that the human body is simply a vehicle for genes needing to replicate (Agent Scully, X-Files, season 4, episode 2), so the suggestion is that a body unable to reproduce might lose its purpose. If I can find any fault in "Penny Serenade", it's that the ending is wrapped up a little too neatly and perhaps a little too callously. There are some things in life you can't just kiss and make better. There are some losses that can't be cooled with an ice cream cone on the ride home. Dunne and Grant both deliver career-highlight performances (Grant was in fact, nominated for an Oscar), and maybe the ending was an audience appeasement. After all, when we've invested so much emotion into the characters, it would be cruel not to give some light at the end of the tunnel.

Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

This is a very sentimental, sappy, but realistic drama of a young couple. It's good, but I'm not a big fan of the film, although I loved Grant in it.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


Such a sad-y! My biggest problem with this film was the time passage in records. Cutting back to Irene Dunne and all she did was change records, circle into "a few years" later deal and it got old. There are better ways to tell passage of time. That aside, Cary Grant's cracking voice in the courtroom teared me up. The man is such an acting god.

Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

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