Close to My Heart (1951)

90 or 92 mins | Drama | 3 November 1951

Director:

William Keighley

Writer:

James R. Webb

Producer:

William Jacobs

Cinematographer:

Robert Burks

Production Designer:

Leo Kuter

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Working titles of this film were A Baby for Midge and As Time Goes By . Gene Tierney and the film's wardrobe designer, Oleg Cassini, divorced in 1952, after nine years of marriage. Warner Bros. publicity materials state that Gertrude Hoffman was a 77-year-old Santa Barbara socialite who had taken up acting a few years earlier. According to the same source and an Apr 1951 HR news item, portions of the film were shot in Los Angeles, CA, including the downtown area, Hollywood and along Hollywood Blvd. Ray Milland and Eddie Marr reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 2 Mar 1953. In that adaptation, the roles of Midge and Mrs. Morrow were played by Phyllis Thaxter and Jeanette Nolan ... More Less

Working titles of this film were A Baby for Midge and As Time Goes By . Gene Tierney and the film's wardrobe designer, Oleg Cassini, divorced in 1952, after nine years of marriage. Warner Bros. publicity materials state that Gertrude Hoffman was a 77-year-old Santa Barbara socialite who had taken up acting a few years earlier. According to the same source and an Apr 1951 HR news item, portions of the film were shot in Los Angeles, CA, including the downtown area, Hollywood and along Hollywood Blvd. Ray Milland and Eddie Marr reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 2 Mar 1953. In that adaptation, the roles of Midge and Mrs. Morrow were played by Phyllis Thaxter and Jeanette Nolan respectively. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
13 Oct 1951.
---
Daily Variety
4 Oct 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
5 Oct 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Apr 51
p. 5, 11
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 51
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Oct 51
p. 1049.
Variety
10 Oct 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss Tierney's gowns under supv of
MUSIC
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Baby for Midge" by James R. Webb in Good Housekeeping (Jul 1950).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
A Baby for Midge
As Time Goes By
Release Date:
3 November 1951
Production Date:
13 April--late April 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 November 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1265
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90 or 92
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15324
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Although Midge Sheridan and her husband, newspaper columnist Brad, have learned that she cannot bear children, Brad's gift of a puppy intensifies her desire for a child and they decide to adopt. However, after they learn from Mrs. Morrow at the adoption agency about the two-year waiting list, Midge puts out feelers, hoping to find a baby through other sources. Midge learns about a newborn left on a police station doorstep and though Brad is wary of adopting an "off-brand" baby, she convinces him to use his newspaper contacts to find it. He tracks the child to the foster home of Mrs. Barker, then he and Midge visit under the pretense of writing an article about foundlings. Midge feels an immediate bond upon seeing the baby, named Danny, but months go by while the authorities search for Danny's parents. Brad writes about Danny in his column, ostensibly to aid the authorities in their search, but privately to allay his own misgivings about Danny's background. Meanwhile, Midge, who is certain of her love for Danny, begins secretly visiting Mrs. Barker and assisting with his care. When Mrs. Morrow unexpectedly drops by the Sheridans' house for an inspection, Brad discovers that Midge has decorated the nursery specifically for Danny. Guessing Brad's uneasiness about Danny's background, the perceptive Mrs. Morrow explains to Brad that he must accept that the background of any adopted child is concealed. Later, the Sheridans are invited to observe the testing of Danny's health and intelligence. Mrs. Morrow takes Brad aside, giving him a chance to back out, and tells him that she is trusting Danny and Midge to make a father out of him. Though the ... +


Although Midge Sheridan and her husband, newspaper columnist Brad, have learned that she cannot bear children, Brad's gift of a puppy intensifies her desire for a child and they decide to adopt. However, after they learn from Mrs. Morrow at the adoption agency about the two-year waiting list, Midge puts out feelers, hoping to find a baby through other sources. Midge learns about a newborn left on a police station doorstep and though Brad is wary of adopting an "off-brand" baby, she convinces him to use his newspaper contacts to find it. He tracks the child to the foster home of Mrs. Barker, then he and Midge visit under the pretense of writing an article about foundlings. Midge feels an immediate bond upon seeing the baby, named Danny, but months go by while the authorities search for Danny's parents. Brad writes about Danny in his column, ostensibly to aid the authorities in their search, but privately to allay his own misgivings about Danny's background. Meanwhile, Midge, who is certain of her love for Danny, begins secretly visiting Mrs. Barker and assisting with his care. When Mrs. Morrow unexpectedly drops by the Sheridans' house for an inspection, Brad discovers that Midge has decorated the nursery specifically for Danny. Guessing Brad's uneasiness about Danny's background, the perceptive Mrs. Morrow explains to Brad that he must accept that the background of any adopted child is concealed. Later, the Sheridans are invited to observe the testing of Danny's health and intelligence. Mrs. Morrow takes Brad aside, giving him a chance to back out, and tells him that she is trusting Danny and Midge to make a father out of him. Though the adoption is not final, Danny is released to the Sheridans. Later, at the office, Brad is contacted by Dunne, a taxi driver who has read his article. Dunne remembers driving a woman with a baby to a police station, and takes Brad to the woman's walk-up apartment. There Brad finds the woman, Arlene, who claims that the child's mother, Martha, a neighbor she barely knew, requested that the child not be told its parentage and died three days after giving birth in her room. Arlene says she believes Martha wanted to die, and gives Brad Martha's wedding ring, which is inscribed with the notation "ML--ECH." Brad writes an article asking readers for information about Martha, and although he is beginning to bond with Danny, continues to make an extensive search of state records and other sources, while interviewing judges and policemen to learn about the mysterious mother. With information supplied by Arlene, he finds Martha's former residence, a boardinghouse in Bakersfield, California, where the kindly landlady, Mrs. Madison, has little information about her former tenant, but gives Brad Martha's sweater. The sweater contains a label of a Bannister, California store and is coated in chalk dust, which is identified for Brad by a chemist. Following the trail to Bannister, Brad learns that Martha, a quiet schoolteacher, fell in love and eloped with a mysterious, bookish man named Edward Hewitt. When Midge becomes aware of Brad's research, she reluctantly decides to let him proceed, hoping it will ease his mind and help with the adoption process. However, Mrs. Morrow has learned about Brad's queries through the officials he interviews, and takes the investigation as a sign that Brad is still uncomfortable with Danny. Brad is about to sign the adoption papers when his city editor, E. O. "Frosty" Frost, tells him that Edward has been identified as Evarts Heilner, a convict on death row at San Quentin. Mrs. Madison has also learned the father's identity, and comes to the Sheridan home to take back Danny. When she arrives, only Midge is there, as Brad is visiting San Quentin. There, Brad meets Edward, a hardened man, guilty of killing a policeman and a prison guard. Brad then talks to the prison doctor, who introduces him to one of Edward's brothers. That night when Brad returns home, he finds Danny gone, havng been promised to another couple. Despite the late hour, Brad confronts Mrs. Morrow and tells her that Danny's father was one of five siblings growing up in squalid surroundings. Although all but Edward turned out good, he was the only one who had the ambition to get out of the slums. After Brad begs Mrs. Morrow to believe in him, and his conviction that Danny will also turn out good because of the love he and Midge will give, Mrs. Morrow gives Danny to Brad. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.