Smilin' Through (1922 film)

Smilin' Through is a 1922 American silent drama film based on the 1919 play of the same name, written by Jane Cowl and Jane Murfin (together under the pseudonym Alan Langdon Martin). The film starred Norma Talmadge, Harrison Ford, and Wyndham Standing. It was co-written and directed by Sidney Franklin, who also directed the more famous 1932 remake at MGM. The film was produced by Talmadge and her husband Joseph M. Schenck for her company, the Norma Talmadge Film Corporation. It was released by First National Pictures. Popular character actor Gene Lockhart made his screen debut in this film.[3][4]

Smilin' Through
1922 music sheet with movie cover
Directed bySidney Franklin
Produced byNorma Talmadge
Joseph M. Schenck
Written byJames Ashmore Creelman (scenario)
Sidney Franklin (scenario)
Based onSmilin' Through
by Alan Langdon Martin (aka Jane Murfin and Jane Cowl)
StarringNorma Talmadge
Harrison Ford
Wyndham Standing
CinematographyJ. Roy Hunt
Charles Rosher
Distributed byFirst National Pictures
Release date
February 13, 1922 (1922-02-13)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)
Box office$1 million (US/Canada)[1][2]

The story is essentially the same as the popular Jane Cowl play, with Talmadge in the dual role of Kathleen and Moonyean. Kathleen, a young Irish woman, is in love with Kenneth Wayne but is prevented from marrying him by her guardian John Carteret. John is haunted by memories of his thwarted love for Kathleen's aunt, Moonyean.

The story was an especially popular one and was filmed twice more by MGM: in 1932 with Norma Shearer and 1941 with Jeanette MacDonald.


As described in a film magazine,[5] on a moonlit night many years prior to the story, John Carteret (Standing) and the beautiful Moonyeen (Talmadge) were to be married. The guests were assembled and the garden in which the wedding would take place presented a scene of gaiety, beautifully decorated and lit with many lanterns. Just prior to the ceremony, Jeremiah Wayne (Ford), desperately in love with Moonyeen, forces his way through the crowd and tries to stop the wedding. As John moved towards him, Jeremiah drew a pistol and leveled it at the bridegroom. Just as the shot was fired, Moonyeen moved to protect John and received the bullet intended for him. As she laid dying, the marriage ceremony was performed. Many years later, Kathleen (Talmadge), the image of her aunt Moonyeen, has become the ward of John. She meets Kenneth Wayne (Ford), the son of Jeremiah, and the couple fall in love, much to the grief of her guardian, who hates the name of the man who caused him a lifetime of sorrow. John orders the young Wayne away and forbids Kathleen from ever seeing him again. In spite of John's orders, Kathleen goes to bid farewell to her sweetheart as he leaves for duty in World War I. When she returns, John tells her the story of Moonyeen as the reason she must forget Kenneth. After four years Kathleen and Kenneth meet, the latter returning wounded and crippled. Kenneth feels that in his condition he is not fit to wed Kathleen and leaves her, she thinking that he is in love with someone else. That night the spirit of Moonyeen appears to John and, as a result of the visitation, the old man sends for Kenneth. The lovers are reunited just prior to the death of John, who dies happily knowing that he has not doomed the couple to the life of sorrow that he had.



Mary Pickford praised Talmadge's performance and the film's sets, costumes, and entertaining story. "It deals with a subject which interests most women — that of spiritualism — which is so delicately and beautifully handled that it could offend no one," she described. It was one of her favorite films.[6]

DVD release

Smilin' Through was released on Region 0 DVD-R by Alpha Video on July 7, 2015.[7]

See also


  1. Variety list of box office champions for 1922
  2. Quigley Publishing Company "The All Time Best Sellers", International Motion Picture Almanac 1937-38 (1938) accessed 19 April 2014
  3. Smilin Through at the database
  4. Smilin Through as performed on Broadway during the 1919-1920 theatrical season; Jane Cowl starring
  5. "Reviews: Smilin' Through". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 14 (12): 57. March 18, 1922.
  6. Howe, Herbert (January 1924). "Mary Pickford's Favorite Stars and Films". Photoplay. New York: Photoplay Publishing Company. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
  7. "Alpha Video - Smilin' Through (1922) (Silent)". Retrieved 2015-06-26.
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