7th Heaven (1927 film)
7th Heaven (also known as Seventh Heaven) is a 1927 American silent romantic drama directed by Frank Borzage, and starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. The film is based upon the 1922 play Seventh Heaven, by Austin Strong and was adapted for the screen by Benjamin Glazer. 7th Heaven was initially released as a standard silent film in May 1927. On September 10, 1927, Fox Film Corporation re-released the film with a synchronized Movietone soundtrack with a musical score and sound effects.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Frank Borzage|
|Produced by||William Fox|
|Screenplay by||Benjamin Glazer|
|Based on||Seventh Heaven|
by Austin Strong
|Edited by||Barney Wolf|
|Distributed by||Fox Film Corporation|
|Language||Silent (English intertitles)|
|Box office||$2.5 million|
Upon its release, 7th Heaven was a critical and commercial success and helped to establish Fox Film Corporation as a major studio. It was one of the first of three films to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture (then called "Outstanding Picture") at the 1st Academy Awards held on May 16, 1929. Janet Gaynor won the first Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film (she also won for her performances in 1927's Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans and 1928's Street Angel). Director Frank Borzage also won the first Academy Award for Best Director while screenwriter Benjamin Glazer won the first Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay).
Chico works in the sewers of Paris. He dreams of becoming a street sweeper and therefore lights candles in the church. He also asks a blonde woman to be his partner. But his wishes are not granted, which makes him bitter.
One day Chico saves the young prostitute Diane, who is suffering from her unscrupulous sister Nana. The police want to arrest the innocent and honorable prostitute, who is innocent in spite of her job, but Chico saves her by pretending to be her husband. Now the two have to maintain the facade and act as spouses. So Chico allows Diane to move into his attic with him. In fact, the two find each other. But when the war breaks out, Chico is called up. Diane survives the war working in an ammunition factory. When the news of Chico's death reaches her, she continues. But Chico is not dead. He returns home to Diane, wounded and blind from the fighting.
- Janet Gaynor as Diane
- Charles Farrell as Chico
- Ben Bard as Col. Brissac
- Albert Gran as Boul
- David Butler as Gobin
- Marie Mosquini as Madame Gobin
- Gladys Brockwell as Nana
- Emile Chautard as Father Chevillon
- Jessie Haslett as Aunt Valentine
- Brandon Hurst as Uncle George
- George E. Stone as Sewer Rat
- Lillian West as Arlette
When the play was adapted for the screen, Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell were cast in the lead roles. The pairing proved to be so popular, the two went on to star in 11 more films together and were dubbed "America's Favorite Lovebirds".
7th Heaven initially premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles replacing another Fox melodrama What Price Glory?, which had been playing since November 1926. A second opening was held at the Sam H. Harris Theatre in New York City on May 25. Both openings earned a total of $14,500. A series of Movietone shorts featuring Ben Bernie and his Orchestra, Gertrude Lawrence, Raquel Meller, and Charles "Chic" Sale preceded the film.
Upon its release, 7th Heaven was a critical and commercial success. The New York Times critic stated that the film "grips your interest from the very beginning and even though the end is melodramatic you are glad that the sympathetic but self-satisfied Chico is brought back to his heart-broken Diane." The critic also praised Borzage's direction, stating that the director "has given it all that he could put through the medium of the camera." The film went on to play for 19 weeks in New York City and for 22 weeks in Los Angeles.
Due to the film's success and the success of other Fox films featuring sound elements (Sunrise, What Price Glory?), the studio re-released 7th Heaven with a synchronized Movietone soundtrack, including a musical score arranged by Ernö Rapée and sound effects. The re-release version premiered at New York City's Roxy Theatre on September 10, 1927.
By 1932, 7th Heaven had become the 13th-highest-grossing American silent, earning more than $2.5 million at the box office.
Awards and honorsEdit
|1927||Academy Awards||Best Actress||Janet Gaynor||Won|
|1927||Academy Awards||Best Art Direction||Harry Oliver||Nominated|
|1927||Academy Awards||Best Director||Frank Borzage||Won|
|1927||Academy Awards||Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)||Benjamin Glazer||Won|
|1927||Academy Awards||Outstanding Picture||Fox Film||Nominated|
|1928||Kinema Junpo Awards||Best Foreign Film||Frank Borzage||Won|
|1927||Photoplay Awards||Medal of Honor||William Fox||Won|
Remakes and adaptationsEdit
A comparatively unknown 1937 remake of the film was produced as a sound feature starring Simone Simon, James Stewart, Jean Hersholt, and Gregory Ratoff, with Henry King directing. Unlike the 1927 version, the sound remake was not as financially successful.
7th Heaven was adapted for the Lux Radio Theatre four times: October 14, 1934, with Miriam Hopkins and John Boles (the show's premiere episode); October 17, 1938, with Jean Arthur and Don Ameche; October 16, 1944, with Jennifer Jones and Van Johnson (on the show's tenth-year anniversary); and finally on March 26, 1951, with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, recreating their original roles.
A television adaptation was aired on October 26, 1953, on the anthology series Broadway Television Theatre. The episode stars Hurd Hatfield and Geraldine Brooks and was directed by Robert St. Aubrey.
In popular cultureEdit
The theatrical poster for 7th Heaven is displayed on the wall of the student Watanabe's lodgings in the oldest surviving film by the Japanese director Yasujirō Ozu, Days of Youth: A Student Romance (Gakusei Romansu: Wakaki Hi, 1929).
- (Eyman 1997, p. 114)
- "Biggest Money Pictures". Variety. June 21, 1932. p. 1.
- (Goble 1999, p. 447)
- Bird, David (September 15, 1984). "Janet Gaynor Is Dead At 77; First 'Best Actress' Winner". nytimes.com. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
- American Society of Cinematographers (February 1996). "Films Chosen for Library of Congress National Film Registry". American Cinematographer. ASC Holding Corp. 77 (22): 114. ISSN 0002-7928.
- "Complete National Film Registry Listing | Film Registry | National Film Preservation Board | Programs at the Library of Congress | Library of Congress". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
- Seventh Heaven at the Internet Broadway Database
- (Hischak 2008, p. 238)
- (Bradley 2004, p. 125)
- (Melnick 2014, p. 293)
- (Holston 2012, p. 56)
- (Crafton 1999, p. 528)
- (Eyman 1997, p. 113)
- (Soloman 2011, p. 114)
- (Dyer MacCann 1996, p. 106)
- "LUX RADIO THEATRE – NEW FULL-HOUR SHOW (advertisement)". The Pittsburgh Press. October 14, 1934. p. 11 (Society Section). Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- "Today's Radio Highlights". The Pittsburgh Press. October 17, 1938. p. 15. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- "Dewey Address Tonight Aired from St. Louis". Youngstown Vindicator (Ohio). October 16, 1944. p. 9. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- "Silent Screen Lovers On Air with First Hit". Youngstown Vindicator (Ohio). March 26, 1951. p. 16. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- (Dumont 2006, p. 396)
- (Dietz 2014, p. 121)
- "20th Century Fox Home Entertainment 2008 DVD edition". silentera.com. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
- (Clark 2013, p. 741)
- (Morefield & Olson 2015, pp. 4–5)
- Vineyard, Jennifer (January 5, 2017). "Damien Chazelle Reveals the Movie That Influenced La La Land's Ending". vulture.com. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
- Bradley, Edwin M. (2004). The First Hollywood Musicals: A Critical Filmography of 171 Features, 1927 through 1932. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-2029-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Clark, Peter, ed. (2013). The Oxford Handbook of Cities in World History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-958953-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Crafton, Donald (1999). The Talkies: American Cinema's Transition to Sound, 1926–1931. New York: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-22128-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Dietz, Dan (2014). The Complete Book of 1950s Broadway Musicals. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefiel. ISBN 978-1-4422-3505-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Dumont, Hervé (2006). Frank Borzage: The Life and Films of a Hollywood Romantic. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-2187-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Dyer MacCann, Richard, ed. (1996). Films of the 1920s. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-3256-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Eyman, Scott (1997). The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution 1926–1930. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4391-0428-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Goble, Alan (1999). The Complete Index to Literary Sources in Film. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-095194-3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Hischak, Thomas S. (2008). The Oxford Companion to the American Musical: Theatre, Film, and Television. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-533533-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Holston, Kim R. (2012). Movie Roadshows: A History and Filmography of Reserved-Seat Limited Showings, 1911–1973. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-9261-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Melnick, Ross (2014). American Showman: Samuel "Roxy" Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908–1935. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-15905-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Morefield, Kenneth R.; Olson, Nicholas S., eds. (2015). Faith and Spirituality in Masters of World Cinema, Volume III. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4438-7498-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Soloman, Aubrey (2011). The Fox Film Corporation, 1915–1935: A History and Filmography. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-8610-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 7th Heaven (1927 film).|
- 7th Heaven essay by Aubrey Solomon at National Film Registry 
- 7th Heaven essay by Daniel Eagan in America's Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide to the Landmark Movies in the National Film Registry, A&C Black, 2010 ISBN 0826429777, pages 128-130 
- 7th Heaven on IMDb
- Synopsis at AllMovie
- 7th Heaven at Rotten Tomatoes
- 7th Heaven at Virtual History
- dvd of Seventh Heaven