Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Penny Serenade (1941)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Penny Serenade (1941)

In director George Stevens' classic heartbreaker melodrama:

  • the scene of childless parents Roger Adams (Cary Grant) and his wife Julie (Irene Dunne) bringing home an adopted baby girl
  • their nervousness about keeping quiet and their exhaustion after getting up all night with it
  • the scene before a judge a year later, when Roger (without an income) movingly begged and pleaded for the official to grant them a continuation of the adoption, rather than return the child to the orphanage: ("...the first time I saw her, she looked so little and helpless. I didn't know babies were so, so little. And then when she took a-hold of my finger and I held onto it. She, she just sort of walked into my heart Judge and, and she was there to stay. I didn't know I could feel like that... It's not only for my wife and me, I'm asking you to let us keep her Judge, it's for her sake, too. She doesn't know any parents but us. She wouldn't know what'd happened to her. You see, there's so many little things about her that nobody would understand her the way Judy and I do. We love her Judge, please don't take her away from us. Look, I'm not a big shot now, I-I'll do anything, I'll work for anybody. I-I'll beg, I'll borrow, I-I'll. Please, Judge, I'll sell anything I've got until I get going again. And she'll never go hungry, she'll never be without clothes not so long as I've got two good hands, so help me!")
  • and later, the scene of the aftermath following the death of their six-year-old child Trina (Eva Lee Kuney) following a brief illness, when the bereaving Mrs. Adams wrote a letter to the saddened adoption agency's representative Miss Oliver (Beulah Bondi): ("Since the night of Trina's death, we have been like strangers to one another. I don't know what to do. It seems as if there is nothing between us any more. I've tried to talk to him, but he does not wish to listen. He is punishing himself, not realizing that he is also punishing me")
  • the final scene in which another child, a two-year old boy, was offered for adoption to the Adams couple, communicated via a phone call from Miss Oliver: ("He's the exact image of the youngster you asked for when you first wrote to me. Do you remember? I have that old letter here in front of me now - 'Curly hair, blue eyes, dimples'. And this is strictly off the record, but really, another couple has the right to see him first, but he's such a remarkable baby that I thought perhaps you and Mr. Adams might take a look"); Julie responded with great anticipation: "Please don't have that other couple see him until we do!"
Miss Oliver's Receipt of Letter from Mrs. Adams
A New Adoption Possibility

Adams' Family's Adoption of Baby Girl

Roger's Plea to Judge to Keep Child

Their Daughter


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