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  • SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY (20th Century-Fox, 1946), directed by Walter Lang, based on the story by Nella Gardner White, became the studio's answer to Columbia's earlier hit, PENNY SERENADE (1941), starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, which borrows a similar theme about a young couple adopting a child, only to lose it in death. In this presentation with a mild twist, the mother is the one who dies, leaving the child to not only cope with the loss, but to help her adoptive father overcome his bereavement. As with the Irene Dunne character in PENNY SERENADE, the mother in this production, wonderfully played by Maureen O'Hara, enjoys listening to records, particularly her personal favorite hit tune of the day, "Sentimental Journey." Besides the occurring underscoring to "Sentimental Journey," the movie also includes a haunting instrumental score, used during the emotional scenes, lifted from THE BLUE BIRD (20th Century-Fox, 1940) starring Shirley Temple.

    As for the story, Maureen O'Hara plays Julie Beck, a stage actress, married to her producer, Bill Weatherly (John Payne) for five years. After going through rehearsals for the upcoming play, HAPPINESS, Julie starts feeling strange and weak. Doctor Miller (Sir Cedric Hardwicke), her physician, informs her that she must take things a little easier now mainly because she is suffering from a heart ailment. Not only does she intend on continuing on with her career, she keeps her condition a secret from Bill. During an out-of-town tryout, Julie decides to take time away from the theater and stroll on the beach where she encounters numerous children at play, little girls from the Fresh Air Fund Campers gathered together playing in the sand. She then comes across one particular child named Hittie (Connie Marshall), who's part of the group of children but happens to be sitting a lonely child sitting all by herself on the rocks overlooking the ocean. Almost immediately Julie bonds with this precocious child who looks up to Julie as the lovely "Lady of the Shiloh." Later that night, Julie, discusses with Bill about the possibility of adopting a child. Overriding Bill's objections, the couple come to an agreement and stop by at the Martha Stone Orphanage where arrangements are made to adopt young Hitty. All goes well with this union until Julie is stricken with a heart attack and dies. In the final half of the story, it is Hitty who tries to keep her final promise to Julie in watching over Bill, who by then, is so depressed by his wife's sudden death that he plans on sending the child away, especially after she admits to him that she sees and communicates with Julie's spirit.

    Sentiment, tragedy and a touch of comedy (thanks to William Bendix as Donnelly, the family friend) combine beautifully in this tearjerker. What really holds the movie together is the natural presence of little Connie Marshall, who is given special introduction presentation in the opening cast credits. Sad eyed and sincere in appearance, Marshall almost resembles that of future child actor Haley Joel Osmond, famous for his role in THE SIXTH SENSE (1999). What's even more ironic that both characters in which they play communicate with the dead, in this case, Marshall with her adoptive mother. While Marshall's film career was limited, it is with this movie she would be best remembered.

    Adding a touch of humor in between these touching scenes is William Bendix, who shows a rough exterior but under that rough and tough face is a kind-hearted man who loves children. At times Bendix physical appearance comes to mind of an actor of the past named Louis Wolheim (1881-1931), who had played similar likable character-types in the silent screen and early talkies. Also seen in the supporting cast in smaller roles are Glenn Langan as Judson; Mischa Auer as Lawrence Ayers; Kurt Kruegar as Wilson; Ruth Nelson as Mrs. McMasters; with Dorothy Adams, Trudy Marshall and Mary Gordon. Look for George E. Stone in a small role as a toy hawker who sells a miniature horse to the Weatherly couple as a gift for Hitty in Central Park.

    In 1947, Maureen O'Hara and John Payne would reunite together again in MIRACLE ON 34th STREET, their the best known of their four screen collaborations. While MIRACLE has its share of frequent television showings and the presence of another little girl and future star, played by Natalie Wood (1938-1981), SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY, while popular during its initial release, has today become an almost obscure film. I seem to recall reading an article in Reader's Digest some time back about Maureen O'Hara and her career. In the article, she lists SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY as one of her personal favorites, and the one most sadly neglected. Fox Movie Channel occasionally plays SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY, and some years later, Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: July 1, 2014).

    SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY, released at the time when tough film noir mysteries, dramatic realism and war time propaganda were common place in neighborhood movie theaters, this screen treatment, which consists some contrived plot twists (especially with its opening scene), and clichés, it remains a winning and charming story that would leave even the most unmoved individual in holding back some tears. SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY was remade twice, first as THE GIFT OF LOVE (20th-Fox, 1958) with Robert Stack and Lauren Bacall; and as a 1984 television movie under its original title featuring Jaclyn Smith and David Dukes. Of the three carnations, the first one, which runs at 94 minutes, seems to hold up quite well. (***1/2)
  • cottonT24 January 2003
    This was my first "grown-up" movie - my mom let stay up late to watch it with her. We just cried & cried & cried. I didn't know a movie could do that to me-much less my mother. It has such great memories for me and is such a classic love story. No sex, no violence, just emotions and attitude and fun writing and great acting. I wonder if the movie has been preserved anywhere. I haven't seen it on TV in decades.
  • This is indeed a sadly neglected film and the fact that it has never been made available on either video tape or DVD must remain a matter of deep regret. I must wholeheartedly agree that the performance delivered by child actress Connie Marshall is quite outstanding. Cinematic depictions of the effects of bereavement upon children are of necessity somewhat difficult to portray with any degree of conviction and the pitfall of lapsing into overt sentimentality must be avoided. However, certain films, including this one,I think convey something of a young child's pain and confusion regarding death and its consequences without becoming too morbid or sentimental. The scenes where Hitty is apparently visited by the spirit of her adoptive mother remind me very much of the closing sequences in Jacques Doillon's "Ponette" (1996) Are both of these little girls really experiencing a much longed for reunion, if only transitory, with their beloved mothers or does the whole thing exist solely within the realm of imagination a mere psychological device enabling them to accept and so come to terms with their loss? It is up to each individual viewer to construe such matters for themselves.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Spoiler - Sentimental Journey is a beautiful but ultimately sad story about a married couple who are heavily involved in the theatre. The wife, Julie, cannot have children and suffers from a rare, life-threatening disease. Afraid that she will leave her husband alone, she decides to adopt a little girl. However she soon realises that her immature and possessive husband cannot accept the strange and dreamy child. In the stress of having to choose between the husband and the child, Julie succumbs to her illness and dies.

    Overcome with grief, her husband withdraws from family and friends. Left alone, the little girl grieves for her adoptive mother and longs for the return of her adoptive father.

    It is only when the little girl goes missing, in her attempt to find the ghost of Julie, that the husband realises just how much he loves the little girl.
  • I love this movie. I saw if first during the 60's when I was a child and I always remembered the little girls name which was very strange more then anything else. Then I saw it later on and it was heartbreaking. I always cringed when I saw the way Bill treated Hittie after his wife died. She tried her best but he always seemed to blame her for the wife death. William Bendix is very engaging as the friend/uncle who sees that Hittie needs some fun her life and tries his best to help her. He even gets a book about the psychology of children. He has a very funny scene with the maid about him looking in all the pet stores for a unicorn to no avail. So he gets the book so he can find out how to tell Hittie he can't find one. A very nice sweet scene. The maid is also very helpful.

    John Payne who plays the father is very good, but I wanted to tell him to snap out of it. Yes he was in mourning but he acted ridiculous treating his little girl like that and everyone else. If any character was in need of medication or therapy in a movie his character is it. But this movie was made in the 40's long before any thought of treatment for depression was used. Only when he thinks something bad happened to the little girl does he snap out of it. A very simplistic but sweet ending. Maureen O'Hara one of my favorite actors is also very good. But mostly she plays a ghost.
  • darjc16 August 2003
    Well written, directed older movie. John Payne (1), Maureen O'Hara, William Bendix, Connie Marshall did a fine performance. Saw this movie when I was a child. Have waited awhile for it to appear on pay TV. Definite tear jerker. Generally a womens movie.
  • Wonderful film with John Payne and Maureen O'Hara, one year before they made the successful "Miracle on 34th Street." Amazing that Connie Marshall, who played the part of their adopted daughter in "Journey" didn't get the Natalie Wood part in "Miracle."

    This film is literally a 4 star tear jerker where an ailing Broadway actress and her director husband adopt a child only to see the mother die shortly afterwards. Both the father and daughter are devastated but use the memory of his wife and mother as a link to be drawn together.

    Payne has never been better as the embittered husband who lost his wife so unexpectedly. Maureen O'Hara, with that Irish brogue, conveys the part of the doomed mother and wife so beautifully that tears shall come to your eyes.

    In a complete departure from his usual roles, William Bendix is just marvelous in a supporting role as the couple's friend who attempts to bring comic relief to the film. Some memorable scenes show him trying to buy toys for the child, as well as discussing child psychology with Payne.

    Nevertheless, the film belongs to the touching performance of child actress Connie Marshall. Coming into a home as an adopted young child only to lose a mother so fast afterwards is preciously captured by Marshall's performance.

    There are definitely sentiment in tears but the film is engrossing and well worth the effort in watching. Sadness is so beautifully depicted here.
  • "Sentimental Journey" is a 1946 film starring Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Connie Marshall, Cedric Hardwicke and William Bendix. Set in New York City, it's the story of an actress, Julie Beck (O'Hara) and her director/producer husband Bill Wetherly (Payne). They have an idyllic marriage, but Julie has a precarious heart condition. Realizing she may die and leave her husband alone, she wants to adopt a child. She meets Hitty (Marshall), who was very much like her as a child, filled with fantasies and dreams, and the two hit it off immediately. However, her spoiled and somewhat jealous husband finds he isn't totally happy with the arrangement.

    "Sentimental Journey" is a slow-moving film with a very attractive cast. It's not for people who, as Margo Channing said, "detest cheap sentiment." Whether you like the movie or not, you'll find yourself drawn into the story, so have a box of tissues nearby. I blubbered like a baby.

    Maureen O'Hara is stunningly beautiful and gives a very gentle performance as Julie; handsome John Payne is just right as her husband, a man whose world centers around his wife. William Bendix has a film-stealing role and is terrific as Donnelly, an associate of Bill's and friend of the family. His sense of comedy is great. Cedric Hardwicke is too much of a big gun to play a small part like the doctor; he plays it beautifully, but he's wasted. Connie Marshall is Hitty. She's not only adorable, but she has to run a gamut of emotions and pulls it off very well.

    Nice movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Contains Spoiler Bill(John Payne)and Julie(Maureen O'Hara)are famous New York theatrical producers and actors. Julie has a rare fatal disease. She wants to adopt, and takes a walk on the beach. Coincidentally the orphanage is there with Mehitabel'Hitty', a sweet girl with fairytale fantasies. The two are immediately smitten with eachother, and soon Julie adopts her. Bill is jealous and overtly hostile. Julie dies but her ghost returns regularly with helpful advice like playing their favorite song and going back to where they first met. Hitty goes to the Atlantic on a dark and stormy night and is nearly consumed by tidal waves when Bill miraculously sweeps her into his arms for a happy ending. Comic relief comes in the form of William Bendix as Donnelly. Frankly Julie should've left the lout for him long ago who would have her laughing and loved the kid too.
  • William and Julie Weatherly (John Payne and Maureen O'Hara) are people of the theater. He is a director and she is an actress. They have been married for quite some time, but their love for each other is stronger than ever. Unfortunately, Julie discovers that her health cannot handle the stress of her life. She takes a break from the theater and stumbles upon an orphan girl named Hitty (Connie Marshall). Hitty is imaginative and lonely, just as Julie was as a young girl. Julie is convinced that she would make a great mother for this little lost girl, so she convinces Bill to adopt her. From here, they form a family, though Bill is a bit jealous of the attention that Hitty receives.

    Soon, Julie's health gets the better of her, but Hitty knows what to do. She pampers Bill just the way Julie did, hoping to bring the family back together again.

    This movie has all the potential to be wonderful, but it walks a fine line that easily takes into kitsch. Sometimes, it is emotional and sweet, but the occasional lapse into over-sentimentality makes it a less than perfect film. Each actor tries hard though, which makes the characters interesting and enjoyable to watch.
  • I think that the beautiful comments left here already describe this wonderful movie perfectly, so all there is left to do is to tell you about the last time I watched this movie.

    It was less then 24 hours ago, and I was reminded of two couples by Julie and Bill.

    One couple was Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, because Ozzy is the more fragile of the two, and Sharon hopes to have beaten her cancer completely so that she can stick around and take care of him.

    Another couple was a young couple of college age who were very much in love, but the woman was killed in a tragic automobile accident.

    Her boyfriend was with her, but he survived.

    Two decades, give or take, have passed, and he's never found anyone else who can take the place of this special woman, and he has a lot of emotional conflict going on because of this where he doesn't always respond to people who care about him in the best of ways.

    I even thought that Bill resembled him in physical appearance.

    Hittie could represent any of us who care about this special guy and want the best for him, because she commits herself to trying to ease Bill's deep-seated pain.

    Watching the movie this last time got me to thinking about this precious friend, and I ended up writing him an e-mail just to let him know I was thinking of him.
  • Maureen O'Hara is always beautiful and appealing. Here she plays an actress terminally ill. We don't know with what.It is a bit of a precursor to "Love Story" in that respect.

    William Bendix is good, as is most of the supporting cast. John Payne is meant to be grieving but he seems to sleepwalking. The girl who plays the child he and O'Hara adopts does her best with a contrived plot device: Of course! Adopt an orphan. She will live on after the passing of your wife. It's a sweet movie but it doesn't feel sincere.I was hoping to be moved. I was, by O'Hara's gentle performance. But I don't like to feel manipulated.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Before "Miracle on 34th Street," Maureen O'Hara and John Payne made this, this, this film. I was going to describe it, but can't find words for how badly this film turned out. The subject matter of adopting a child and Maureen's illness are both very serious and sensitive issues, but that notwithstanding, this could have been done a whole lot better than it was. It was so extreme in its portrayal that it didn't come across as real at all. Probably its problem started with a weak script.

    Another example of a screenwriter taking a novel and writing a weak movie. (See my review of "A Stranger in My Arms.") The beautiful O'Hara was often saddled with clunkers like this, another being Forbidden Street (Britannica Mews,) which I may review eventually.

    If you have any emotional ties to this from childhood, you'll be kinder to this rather lifeless, colorless, and lackluster film. But for something along the lines of this, maybe you can find its TV-movie remake. It has to be better. It has to be.
  • This is a typical Maureen O'Hara film where she shines as beautifully as ever in a tragical role for a change, but she couldn't be more convincing - she always is. William Bendix shines better than her husband (John Payne), Bendix is always an advantage to every film he is in, and here he at least makes an effort at child psychology, which the playwright doesn't. Cedric Hardwicke is the family doctor and as good as such as ever, while the child (Connie Marshall) makes the film. The story is interesting enough with its touch on parapsychology, but entering the imaginative mind of a child, everything is made credible. This is actually how it could work. Maureen feels she has to leave Bill which worries her, so she finds a child to adopt to take care of him when she is gone, which he at first fails to realize and appreciate. There is sugared music all through, and nothing wrong with that, it establishes the soft mood of sadness of the film and sticks to it, and it is finally the music that opens Bill's mind when everything else has failed. This is also quite obvious and natural. This is a film to love for its sincere warm-heartedness, and the stormy ocean is brought into the picture to accentuate the drama.
  • Get the bath towels out for Sentimental Journey. This story has been remade twice and the tear factor didn't diminish with any incarnation. This was the second of 4 films that Maureen O'Hara made with John Payne.

    Payne is a theatrical director and O'Hara his wife who has developed a serious heart condition. They decide to adopt a child Connie Marshall and then O'Hara dies. Her spirit however still makes some appearances for Marshall and soon enough for Payne.

    Sentimental Journey is kind of a children's version of Maytime or Smilin' Through with the next world reaching out to comfort the survivors in this world. O'Hara is ethereally beautiful in her role. William Bendix has a nice supporting part. It must have cost Darryl Zanuck a big wad of cash to get Bendix over from Paramount.

    You won't watch this one without shedding a bucket of tears.
  • Didn't John Payne and Maureen O'Hara make a cute couple in Miracle on 34th Street? If you thought so, you'll be happy to hear they made three other movies together! In Sentimental Journey, they play a devoted married couple. Maureen wants a child, but John sweetly asks, "What's the matter, Mom? Have I gotten too big?" Mama Maureen meets a young orphan, Connie Marshall, and completely falls in love with her. They adopt Connie, but she and her new dad don't exactly hit it off.

    John Payne gives a wonderfully layered performance in Sentimental Journey. It's always more heart wrenching to see a man cry than a woman, isn't it? In this very heavy tearjerker, John sheds just as many tears as he inspires from the audience. He blends wonderfully with everyone in the cast; he and Maureen have a lovely and comfortable rapport as husband and wife, he and Connie enjoy a very special relationship, and he and William Bendix really seem like lifelong friends.

    Connie, a very talented child actress, shows her incredible chops in only her second movie. She's simultaneously childlike yet mature, a dreamer but wise in practical matters, and above all, darling and endearing. I don't even like children, and even I was won over by her sweetness. The next time you're in the mood for a good cry, rent Sentimental Journey. From then on, you'll start blubbering at the suggestion of breakfast in bed, I guarantee it.
  • AAdaSC26 June 2010
    Maureen O'Hara (Julie) is a terminally ill actress who is married to John Payne (Bill). She hides her condition from him and persuades him to adopt a little girl, Connie Marshall (Hitty). This is so that Payne can still have a real-life link to O'Hara when she eventually dies. She does die but Payne's reaction is not what she had anticipated.

    The support cast in this film are good with William Bendix as "Donnelly" and Cedric Hardwicke as "Dr Miller" standing out for me. Hardwicke only has a small part, while Bendix turns in an endearing and amusing performance as he becomes an expert in child psychology. His scene with the maid where he explains his attempts to buy a unicorn is also funny. As regards the leads - John Payne is passive and then mopey which is a disaster for a main character, Maureen O'Hara plays a very warped character filled with sanctimonious claptrap and as for the child....aaaarrgh...!!....

    As regards the story, I enjoy films where ghosts come back and this is one of those - O'Hara returns to communicate with Marshall. However, this doesn't work for me as she ends up turning the kid into a creepy, stalker type of character. With her condition, O'Hara should NEVER have decided to adopt a child. And especially not someone like Marshall with her obsessive personality. I feel that I must point out that Connie Marshall is detestable - the way she brings breakfast to John Payne (as O'Hara did), plays Payne's special record that he liked to hear with his wife, dresses the same as O'Hara, etc. This is one seriously annoying child. She does however provide the funniest part of the film. Watch how Payne throws her out of the way to get to O'Hara on her death scene. His behaviour is only to be applauded.....and he should have thrown her back into the orphanage in exactly the same manner as soon as he could. Another person who doesn't quite gel in the film is Mischa Auer as a Russian actor. Although his part is small, he is off-key as always. He thinks he's funny and I guess nobody ever told him.

    The film is altogether a bit slow and the main characters are all awful.
  • cottonT19 December 2018
    My mother let me stay up late and watch this movie with her when I was a young girl. I love the movie and the romance. And it was such a special bond between me and my mom. I sure wished it would come on TV.