None But the Lonely Heart (1944)

112-113 mins | Melodrama | 17 October 1944

Writer:

Clifford Odets

Producer:

David Hempstead

Cinematographer:

George Barnes

Editor:

Roland Gross

Production Designer:

Mordecai Gorelik

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

In the opening scene, when "Ernie" visits the tomb of the unknown warriors who died in World War I, a narrator comments that "Mott never dreamed that he may become the unknown warrior of World War II. This is his story, the story of Ernie Mott who searched for a free, a beautiful and noble life in the second quarter of the 20th century." According to a Oct 1943 news item in HR , Alfred Hitchcock was initially slated to direct this picture. A Jul 1943 news item in LAEx notes that RKO studio head Charles Koerner bought Richard Llewllyn's book as a starring vehicle for Cary Grant. A NYT article adds that in Jan 1944, Koerner suggested that playwright Clifford Odets direct the picture. This was the first film that Odets directed. He would direct only one other picture in his career, the 1959 film Story On Page One . According to an article in HCN , to secure the services of Ethel Barrymore, the studio had to pay all the expenses incurred by temporarily closing the play The Corn Is Green , in which she was starring on Broadway. A news item in HR notes that the East End London road set in this film was the largest and most complete external set constructed inside a sound stage at that time. The set measured 800 feet long and extended the length of two sound stages. This was the last film that producer David Hempstead made for RKO before asking to be released from his contract because of illness. Barrymore won ... More Less

In the opening scene, when "Ernie" visits the tomb of the unknown warriors who died in World War I, a narrator comments that "Mott never dreamed that he may become the unknown warrior of World War II. This is his story, the story of Ernie Mott who searched for a free, a beautiful and noble life in the second quarter of the 20th century." According to a Oct 1943 news item in HR , Alfred Hitchcock was initially slated to direct this picture. A Jul 1943 news item in LAEx notes that RKO studio head Charles Koerner bought Richard Llewllyn's book as a starring vehicle for Cary Grant. A NYT article adds that in Jan 1944, Koerner suggested that playwright Clifford Odets direct the picture. This was the first film that Odets directed. He would direct only one other picture in his career, the 1959 film Story On Page One . According to an article in HCN , to secure the services of Ethel Barrymore, the studio had to pay all the expenses incurred by temporarily closing the play The Corn Is Green , in which she was starring on Broadway. A news item in HR notes that the East End London road set in this film was the largest and most complete external set constructed inside a sound stage at that time. The set measured 800 feet long and extended the length of two sound stages. This was the last film that producer David Hempstead made for RKO before asking to be released from his contract because of illness. Barrymore won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in this film. The picture was also nominated for Best Editing and Best Score and Grant was nominated as Best Actor.
       According to a 1947 NYT article, Lela Rogers, the mother of Ginger Rogers, denounced the script at a HUAC committee hearing as a "perfect example of the propaganda that Communists like to inject" and accused Odets of being a Communist. Rogers cited the line spoken by "Ernie" to his mother, "you're not going to get me to work here and squeeze pennies out of little people who are poorer than I am," as an example of Communist propaganda. Hans Eisler, who was nominated for an Academy Award for composing the film's score, was also interrogated by HUAC and was designated as an unfriendly witness for his refusal to cooperate. Ethel Barrymore and June Duprez reprised their roles in a 3 Jun 1946 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast, co-starring Brian Aherne. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
30 Sep 1944.
---
Daily Variety
2 Oct 44
pp. 3, 8
Film Daily
3 Oct 44
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
16 Mar 1944.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 44
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 44
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 44
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 44
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 45
p. 2.
Los Angeles Examiner
13 Jul 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Apr 44
p. 1826.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Oct 44
p. 2129.
New York Times
9 Jan 1944.
---
New York Times
18 Nov 44
p. 16.
New York Times
3 Dec 44
p. 1.
New York Times
25 Oct 1947.
---
Variety
4 Oct 44
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Ernie Shield
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dir of action footage
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Unit mgr
STAND INS
Stand-in for Cary Grant
Stand-in for Ethel Barrymore
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel None But the Lonely Heart by Richard Llewellyn (London, 1943).
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 October 1944
Production Date:
6 March--27 May 1944
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
20 October 1944
Copyright Number:
LP13003
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
112-113
Length(in feet):
10,175
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10039
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On the eve of Armistice Day, itinerant jack-of-all-trades Ernest Verdun Mott visits the tomb of the unknown warriors who died in World War I and remembers his father, one of the soldiers killed during the war. After leaving the tomb, Ernie wanders the darkened street of London's poor East End where he grew up. When he enters his mother's second-hand store, Ma Mott bitterly asks why he has returned after such a prolonged absence and tells him that he must stay home now or leave forever. Angered by his mother's ultimatum, Ernie declares that he will leave in the morning. In the street outside the shop, Ernie sees their neighbor, Aggie Hunter, who is in love with him. Aggie plays her cello for Ernie, but when she suggests that they meet later that night, he balks at making any commitments. Instead of visiting Aggie, Ernie goes to the arcade, where he meets gangster Jim Mordinoy, who offers him some money. After rejecting Mordinoy's offer, Ernie sees the waif-like Ada taking tickets at a booth, and is immediately smitten. Ernie makes a date with Ada, but when, at the end of the evening, he tells her that he is leaving the next day, she denounces him for toying with her feelings. The next morning, Ma confides in her friend, pawnbroker Ike Weber, that she is dying of cancer. At breakfast, Ma and Ernie quarrel again, causing Ernie to storm out of the house. Outside Ernie runs into Aggie, who offers to support him on condition he marry her. Rather than respond to Aggie's offer, Ernie goes to Tate's fish and chip ... +


On the eve of Armistice Day, itinerant jack-of-all-trades Ernest Verdun Mott visits the tomb of the unknown warriors who died in World War I and remembers his father, one of the soldiers killed during the war. After leaving the tomb, Ernie wanders the darkened street of London's poor East End where he grew up. When he enters his mother's second-hand store, Ma Mott bitterly asks why he has returned after such a prolonged absence and tells him that he must stay home now or leave forever. Angered by his mother's ultimatum, Ernie declares that he will leave in the morning. In the street outside the shop, Ernie sees their neighbor, Aggie Hunter, who is in love with him. Aggie plays her cello for Ernie, but when she suggests that they meet later that night, he balks at making any commitments. Instead of visiting Aggie, Ernie goes to the arcade, where he meets gangster Jim Mordinoy, who offers him some money. After rejecting Mordinoy's offer, Ernie sees the waif-like Ada taking tickets at a booth, and is immediately smitten. Ernie makes a date with Ada, but when, at the end of the evening, he tells her that he is leaving the next day, she denounces him for toying with her feelings. The next morning, Ma confides in her friend, pawnbroker Ike Weber, that she is dying of cancer. At breakfast, Ma and Ernie quarrel again, causing Ernie to storm out of the house. Outside Ernie runs into Aggie, who offers to support him on condition he marry her. Rather than respond to Aggie's offer, Ernie goes to Tate's fish and chip parlor, where he meets Ike. Realizing that Ma needs her son to care for her, Ike tells Ernie of his mother's condition. That night, Ernie is befriended by peddler Henry Twite, and after spending an evening at the bar, the two drunkenly wander the streets as Ernie calls out to his dead father. Upon returning home, Ernie tells his mother that he has decided to stay and they make peace. Five weeks later, Ma winces in pain while eating dinner and sends Ernie out of the house. Ernie then decides to visit Ada, who informs him that Mordinoy has forbidden her to see him. Undaunted, Ernie makes another date with Ada for later that week. On his way home, Ernie meets Aggie, and when he asks her advice about Ada, Aggie tells him that she still loves him. The next day, Ma is visited by Mrs. Snowden, a shoplifter, who tries to convince her to fence stolen goods. Ma resists the offer until Mrs. Snowden makes her feel guilty about not providing her son with a decent inheritance. The night of their date, Ada asks Ernie to take her dancing at Mordinoy's club, where the gangster offers him a job and informs him that Ada is his wife. Although Ada protests that she is divorced from Mordinoy, a stunned Ernie refuses to believe her. The next morning, while working at the shop, Ernie becomes overwhelmed by the abject poverty surrounding him when an old lady is forced to pawn her pet bird and the bird dies. When her son cries out for a decent human life, Ma decides to visit Mrs. Snowden and agrees to be her fence. The incident also causes Ernie to accept Mordinoy's proposition, but when he informs Ada, she shows him her baby daughter Kitty and warns him that his association with Mordinoy will lead to jail. Ignoring Ada's warning, Ernie goes to work stealing cars for the gangster. Alarmed, Ada begs Ernie to run away with her, but he refuses to leave his dying mother. Later, Ernie incurs Mordinoy's wrath when he stops one of his men from beating Ike while the rest of the gang ransacks the pawnshop. That night, Twite warns Ernie that Mordinoy's men are looking for him, and the two, accompanied by the Motts's dog Nipper, go to the arcade, where they meet Mordinoy and Ada. Although the gangster orders him to stop seeing Ada, Ernie insists that they be married in the morning. Ernie then entrusts Ada with Twite and Nipper as he goes to finish his conversation with Mordinoy. After buying a rifle from the arcade, Ernie accepts a ride with Taz and his brother, two of Mordinoy's men. When the police recognize their car as stolen, they begin a pursuit, and in their flight, Taz's brother collides with a truck and the car explodes into flames. Rescued from the crash, Taz and Ernie are taken to the police station. After the police find Ernie's platinum cigarette case, a birthday gift from Ma, they question him about it. Ernie refuses to answer, so the police send for Ike, whose address they found on a postcard that Ernie was carrying. After identifying Ernie, Ike bails him out of jail and he returns home. At Ma's store, Ernie finds Twite and Aggie waiting for him and learns that this mother has been arrested because the cigarette case was stolen. Ernie rushes to the prison hospital, where his dying mother advises him to find a wife to look after him and begs his forgiveness for disgracing the family. Later that night at the bar, Ernie plays Twite the music box that he plans to present to Ada's daughter at their wedding the next morning. To the strains of the music, Twite reads Ernie a note from Ada, informing him that she has decided to return to Mordinoy. As the two walk along a bridge, Eddie asks, "When will the world awake from this midnight, when will humanity get up from its knees?" When they hear the roar of bomber planes flying overhead, Twite replies that war may make a better world. Vowing to fight for a "human way of life," Ernie returns to his street and hears Aggie playing the cello. After stopping to peek in her window, he disappears into her doorway. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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