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Now and Forever (1934 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Now and Forever
Now and Forever 1934 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byHenry Hathaway
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Jack Kirkland
  • Melville Baker
Produced byLouis D. Lighton
CinematographyHarry Fischbeck
Edited byEllsworth Hoagland
Music by
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • August 31, 1934 (1934-08-31) (USA)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States

Now and Forever is a 1934 American drama film directed by Henry Hathaway. The screenplay by Vincent Lawrence and Sylvia Thalberg was based on the story "Honor Bright" by Jack Kirkland and Melville Baker.[1] The film stars Gary Cooper, Carole Lombard, and Shirley Temple in a story about a small-time swindler going straight for his child's sake. Temple sang "The World Owes Me a Living". The film was critically well received. Temple adored Cooper, who nicknamed her 'Wigglebritches'.[2] This is the only film in which Lombard and Temple appeared together.


Carefree, irresponsible Jerry Day (Gary Cooper) and his second wife, Toni (Carole Lombard), are running up a bill at a Shanghai hotel that Jerry has no means to pay. Jerry hatches a scheme to swindle other guests to get money to pay his hotel bill and the two escape to the next leg of their foreign vacation. Desperate for more cash, Jerry is willing to sell the custody rights of his 5-year-old daughter Penelope from his first marriage, known as Penny (Shirley Temple), whom he has never met, to his former brother-in-law. Toni is shocked and goes by herself to Paris, while Cooper meets his daughter and is captivated by her, deciding to retain custody after all. Penny and Jerry arrive in Paris to be reunited with Toni, who will now play her mother. After selling a nonexistent gold mine to Felix Evans (Sir Guy Standing), a man who turns out to be much more versed in the art of swindling than he, Jerry decides to re-enter the workforce as a real estate salesman, but is not very successful. Soon he finds himself in need of cash to support himself, Penny and Toni.

Jerry meets up again with Evans, who had paid with a phony check, and Evans convinces Jerry to steal a valuable necklace from Mrs. Crane (Charlotte Granville), a rich lady Penny has befriended. Mrs. Crane tells Jerry that she wants to adopt Penny, and offers to throw a party for her. During the party, Jerry spots one of Mrs. Crane's expensive necklaces lying out on her dresser and steals it, hiding it in Penny's teddy bear. The police are called and all the guests are searched but the necklace is not found. When Penny is put to bed, she cuddles her teddy bear and discovers the necklace hidden inside. She asks Jerry if he stole it and he says no. To get her to stop crying, Toni tells Penny that it was she who took the necklace so really Jerry was telling the truth. Penny is again satisfied that her father did not lie.

Jerry brings the necklace to Evans to resell it, but starts feeling guilty when Penny throws all her faith and love towards Jerry for being honest. He goes back to try to recover the necklace and threatens Evans with a gun; Evans shoots back and wounds Jerry, but Jerry kills Evans. Jerry returns the necklace to Mrs. Crane, who agrees to lie that the necklace was not stolen at all, but mislaid. Mrs. Crane then takes Penny off to boarding school, while Jerry, suffering from his untreated gunshot wound, and Toni say goodbye to her. Though Jerry does not want to go to a doctor lest the police be involved, he collapses as he tries to get back in the car and Toni takes him to a hospital. Lying in a hospital bed with a police officer standing nearby, Jerry ruminates that it is not so bad coming clean after all.



Shirley Temple was loaned out to Paramount by Fox Films for $3,500 a week in what would be her second film at Paramount. It would also be the first film in which a stand-in (Marilyn Granas) was hired for Temple. Temple had a good rapport with the adult crew, especially Gary Cooper, who bought her several toys and made a number of sketches for her. During the making of the movie, Dorothy Dell, who co-starred with Temple in Little Miss Marker and developed a close personal friendship with her, died in an automobile accident. Temple was not told about this until filming started on the crying scene in the film in which her character finds out her father was lying to her about stealing the jewelry. The tears she was crying in that scene were in effect real tears.[3]

In the film Temple sings "The World Owes Me a Living",[4] a version of which also featured in a Silly Symphonies animation of The Ant and the Grasshopper[5] in the same year.

Hathaway had directed Shirley Temple before, in To the Last Man (1933) starring Randolph Scott and Esther Ralston and released the previous year. Despite having a memorable role in which her doll's head is shot off right in front of her, the then 5-year-old Temple was not cited in the credits.

Alternate ending

The film was originally made with a different ending, in which Jerry and Toni drive alongside the train tracks as Penny and Mrs. Crane depart on the train. Jerry succumbs to his gunshot wound en route and Toni takes over the wheel, steering the car over an embankment and killing herself as well. The ending was re-scripted and re-filmed by Paramount to match the lighter tone of the rest of the film.[1]


Now and Forever was released on August 31, 1934.[1] It was popular at the box office.[6]

Critical reception

The New York Times thought the film "a sentimental melodrama" and "a pleasant enough entertainment". It gives high praise to Temple, citing her "enormous charm", "unspoiled freshness of manner", and "total absence of self-consciousness" for giving the script authenticity and rescuing it from total incredulity.[7]

Louella Parsons was amazed "at the ease with which [Temple] reels off her lines, saying big words and expressions. There is nothing parrot-like about Shirley. She knows what she is talking about". Temple-fever spread with the release of the film. Her fan mail (which numbered 400–500 letters a day) was delivered in huge mail sacks to the studio and a secretary was hired to manage it.[8]

In her 2015 book Shirley Temple and the Performance of Girlhood, Kristen Hatch casts the entire screenplay as a commentary on the tension between the grown-up, capitalist marketplace and the unburdened fantasy life of childhood. The character of Jerry is locked in childhood and imagination, unable to hold down a real job and constantly reverting to carefree and irresponsible fun and games. His daughter Penny, as a child who is removed from the "cynical and rational world of the capitalist marketplace", is the perfect person to save him, but she is in danger of losing her own innocence by being paired with a criminal father. Penny does ultimately serve as Jerry's savior, for her faith in him to always tell the truth impels him to risk his life to retrieve what he stole and maintain that faith. Hatch also notes the constant references to money (including the child's name, Penny), bills, and checks, reinforcing the theme of the capitalist marketplace.[9]

Film quotes

  • "You lost your size, Jerry, and I could never chase trains with a little man" — Toni expresses her disappointment in Jerry wanting to sell his child.[10]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Now and Forever (1934) – History". American Film Institute. 2019. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  2. ^ Windeler 1978, p. 140.
  3. ^ Shirley Temple Black, "Child Star: An Autobiography" (New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1988), 60-65.
  4. ^ Available on Video on YouTube
  5. ^ Available on Video on YouTube
  6. ^ Churchill, Douglas W. The Year in Hollywood: 1934 May Be Remembered as the Beginning of the Sweetness-and-Light Era (gate locked); New York Times [New York, N.Y] 30 Dec 1934: X5. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  7. ^ Sennwald, Andre (October 13, 1934). "The Paramount Presents Little Miss Temple in 'Now and Forever'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  8. ^ Edwards 1998, p. 66.
  9. ^ Hatch 2015, pp. 138–9.
  10. ^ Nowlan & Nowlan 2013, p. 549.


External links

This page was last edited on 30 March 2021, at 12:10
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