Home » blog » Vintage Review: Penny Serenade – An Honest Classic Film about Life

Vintage Review: Penny Serenade – An Honest Classic Film about Life

Penny Serenade

Penny Serenade (1941) Vintage Review

Penny Serenade is a lovely story of romance, family and struggling onward despite everything. It is a Silver Screen Classic starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne.

Penny Serenade records

Julie and Roger are a young married couple who are thinking of separating. As she waits for a taxi she begins to play records that are important to their relationship. This is fitting, seeing as they meet because of a scratched record. She remembers all the major events that brought them closer then drove them apart. She finally begins to wonder whether they are making the right decision after all.

Penny Serenade is a sweet old film which doesn’t seem to get nearly as much attention as it deserves. The film’s technical quality isn’t very good in some places but that’s just due to age. Other than a few slow scenes, that is really the film’s only failing.

The film strikes a competent balance between humor, joy and tragedy while never overdoing the melodrama. The comedy is laugh-out-loud in places and the sadder moments can be truly heart-breaking.  There is a very funny sequence after they first bring their daughter home where the new parents try desperately to figure out what to do. There are lots of sweet moments like that. It is a very real story of two people enduring life’s ups and downs together.

Penny Serenade Adoption

RELATED POST – A Room with a View (1985) – An Artistic and Stunning Romantic Period Drama

The acting from all parties is excellent and extremely moving at times. There is one scene where Cary Grant is pleading with a judge, that is guaranteed to make you tear up. You really care for the young couple and their daughter Trina. Everyone is so incredibly likable. Edgar Buchanan is also wonderful as the charming family friend character, Applejack, who has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Penny Serenade birthday 1

While the love story was well acted and completely believable, I felt it lacked that spark that comes from great chemistry between actors. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne did well together and perhaps this is just me being used to more banter between a leading romantic couple. But this is not that kind of film, it is not a farce, it is a realistic film about real people and a good one too. I’ve heard good things about the other two films they did together so it may just be due to the material.

Penny Serenade car

Overall, Penny Serenade is a roller coaster of emotion with a cathartic combination of laughter and tears which any fan of the Silver Screen will appreciate.

Photo Credit: GMVS Limited/ Columbia Pictures

Content Note: There is no explicit content in this film.


Five Corset Rating Lower Byte Size

“The stuff that dreams are made of.”


four heart rating

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My

feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me

to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Silver Petticoat Review Logo Our romance-themed entertainment site is on a mission to help you find the best period dramas, romance movies, TV shows, and books. Other topics include Jane Austen, Classic Hollywood, TV Couples, Fairy Tales, Romantic Living, Romanticism, and more. We’re damsels not in distress fighting for the all-new optimistic Romantic Revolution. Join us and subscribe. For more information, see our About, Old-Fashioned Romance 101, Modern Romanticism 101, and Romantic Living 101.
Pin this article to read later! And make sure to follow us on Pinterest.


By on June 23rd, 2016

About Elinor Cackett

Elinor is a writer and semi-recent graduate of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University. She has been writing ever since she could hold a pen but her love affair with fiction started when the entirety of David Eddings’ 'The Belgariad' was read to her at age four. She currently has a couple of books and half a dozen short stories on the go. She spends her free time writing, analysing media and knitting very colourful scarves.

More posts by this author.

4 thoughts on “Vintage Review: Penny Serenade – An Honest Classic Film about Life”

  1. How funny. I watched this movie for the first time this week. I thought it merely tolerable. I am not a HUGE Cary Grant fan, at least in romantic roles; I think he needs comedic or comedic-romantic roles (I also just watched His Girl Friday in which he is quite funny and the role and plot just suited him well, actually the whole movie was better).

    I need to look at more of the vintage review here as I am trying to watch more “Silver Screen” movies.

    • Yeah, he’s certainly not my favorite leading man but I think he had a few good moments in this film. I preferred this to His Girl Friday but that’s probably personal taste. For funny, may I suggest Some Like it Hot, if you haven’t seen it already?


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.