This is one of those films that is virtually unknown today, but should be up there with Casablanca.
A great story about love overcoming all obstacles, and winning in the end.
Greer Garson plays her usual role of a strong woman withstanding tremendous trials.
Ronald Colman is, as usual, a handsome lovable man. Although this time his character has more depth as a man suffering from amnesia.
Excellent movie, and though long, I have never thought it dull!
Great Period film!
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
THEY DON'T MAKE 'EM LIKE THEY USED TO...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 12/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1942 five hanky tearjerker garnered seven Academy Award nominations and was the number four box office hit of the year. It is a wonderful, sentimental and romantic love story that captures the heart of the viewer. Corny? Sure, but so what. The film is totally absorbing, fueled by wonderful performances by the velvet voiced Ronald Colman and the beautiful Greer Garson. The story revolves around a shell shocked, World War I vet (Ronald Colman), who is suffering from amnesia and convalescing in a sanitorium. He simply cannot remember who he is. One day, he simply walks out of that sanatorium and runs into a dance hall entertainer (Greer Garson), who takes a shine to him. Realizing that he has been under a great strain, she looks after him and, before you know it, they fall in love and marry. Now Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, they rent a little cottage in a quaint country village, and he begins a career as a writer. They have a baby boy. All is rosy and well with their world for three years. One day, John travels to Liverpool, where he is struck by a car. The end result is that he remembers who he was before the war, but has no recollection of the last three years.It turns out that he is wealthy industrialist Charles Rainier. He goes home and takes over the reins of his business. He ultimately engages the services of a wonderful secretary, who turns out to be his wife, though he is unaware of having had any relationship with her, and she does not disclose it to him under advice of the sanatorium psychiatrist, wonderfully played by Phillip Dorn. Steadfast, she patiently waits for the day that he will remember all that they had together. What happens to them is memorable in this story of love lost and found. It is, no doubt, a highly sentimental and manipulative film, as its intention to tug at one's heart strings and render one immobilized by tears. It definitely succeeds in that department. It is also hugely entertaining. They certainly don't make 'em as they used to. All in all, a wonderful film. Fans of Ronald Colman and Greer Garson will love it, as will all those who love classic films."
Simon Davis | 08/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Greer Garson always stated that of all the fine films she made during her heyday at MGM in the 1940's "Random Harvest" was her personal favourite. After another viewing of this grand work directed by the terrific Mervyn LeRoy it is very easy to see why. For lovers of well written, beautifully acted love stories "Random Harvest' is unsurpassed and the memory of its wonderfully moving story will stay with you for a long time.This tale includes a vivid telling of the story of Charles Rainier (Ronald Colman in one of his best performances)a shell shocked World War 1 veteran suffering from amnesia who is befriended by , marries and then loses his great love Paula (Greer Garson in another superb performance). Although Ronald Colman is central to the action here Greer Garson really steals the film lock , stock and barrel in her depiction of the lovely dance hall performer who falls in love and marries this mysterious man with no past only to see him regain his former life and in the process forget her. Greer's self sacrifice in the scenes where she becomes the newly well Colmans' personal assistant just to remain part of his life while never revealing her true identity to him are the stuff that romantic dreams are made of. Realistic? I doubt that strongly, but Colman and Garson are so professional and committed in their playing that we the viewers believe what is happening and are in there barracking for them ."Random Harvest" never fails to move me and ranks right up there with those other great emotional dramas of the time like "Waterloo Bridge", "Blossoms in the Dust" and "To Each His Own". It has the added benefit of a typical sterling MGM supporting cast with Henry Travers, Reginald Owen, Una O'Connor give the film that special "British" feel that MGM was so good at producing during the war years. It's obvious that cast and crew never once left the Hollywood sound stages but that doesn't matter as it is a beautifully put together production created with alot of love and care for the material. It ,in my belief deserved the multiple Oscar nominations it earned and in a way was a big comeback for Ronald Colman after a few ordinary years as a Hollywood star.If you are a fan of Greer Garson or Ronald Colman like I am you wont fail to love the sentimental and beautifully put together film of "Random Harvest" . It is movie making in the old style at its very best and definately the type of film that Hollywood doesn't make anymore. Definite 4 hankerchief material and one that will never fail to move you with each viewing. Enjoy!"
Beautiful and tender
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 05/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An exquisite romance, a love that survives "for better for worse, for richer for poorer", and a wartime tragedy all make this well written melodrama very engrossing, and it stars two of the most gorgeous and popular stars of their era: Ronald Colman was one of the handsomest men that ever drew breath, with a voice of liquid gold...a voice that helped him make the most successful transition from silent films to "talkies" of any actor, and this was Greer Garson's year, as "Mrs. Miniver" was also released in 1942, which won her a Best Actress Oscar.
There are many unexpected twists to the plot, saving it from being "sappy and sentimental", and it is blessed with lovely cinematography (by Joseph Ruttenberg, who also filmed and received an Oscar for "Mrs. Miniver"), an atmospheric score by Herbert Stothart, and sensitive direction by Mervyn LeRoy.There are some numbers connected with this film: It is # 36 in the American Film Institute's "Top Romances", it was nominated for 6 Academy Awards (Best Picture and Best Director lost to "Mrs. Miniver", and others were Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress with the excellent Susan Peters as Kitty, Screenplay, and Score), and Ronald Colman was my mother's # 1 heartthrob, as he was for so many women during those golden years of the cinema. Total running time is 2 hours and 7 minutes.
Recommended additional viewing for these two marvelous actors is of course, "Mrs. Miniver", and Ronald Colman as a Shakespearean actor in the superb psychological thriller "A Double Life"."
Enthralling tale for the romantic.
R. Christenson | Pine, CO USA | 07/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Random Harvest is the classic double-amnesia yarn, quite effective due to the immense talents of Ronald Colman and Greer Garson. Colman is one of my favorite actors from the olden days, one who could play anything from a rugged hero to an intellectual professor convincingly. It's a shame he's not known to modern audiences; in my book he's right up there with Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, and Jimmy Stewart. The few of his movies available today include Talk Of The Town, Lost Horizon, Champagne for Caesar, and Random Harvest.
Here Colman plays an English World War One veteran who escapes from an asylum with a severe case of amnesia. Greer Garson (Mrs. Miniver, Madame Curie) is Paula, an entertainer who takes him in and calls him Smithy. She decides he's better off not returning to the asylum, and takes him to the country, where they start a new life together, fall in love, marry, and start a family.
After three years Smithy goes to Liverpool to answer a job offer, where he's struck by a truck in the street. The shock brings back the memory of his identity, at the cost of that of his new life, wife and all. He returns home an heir of substantial wealth and responsibility, and as years pass he takes over the family business, and eventually becomes engaged. But his three year memory gap haunts him and he breaks off the engagement, suspecting his life can never be complete, failing at every attempt to bring back memories of his lost time.
During the second half of the film the plot takes a new turn as Paula, having discovered his real identity, takes a job as his secretary. On the advice of his former doctor, played by Philip Dorn (the Papa in I Remember Mama), she can't reveal her true identity to Smithy. This becomes really engrossing. If you let yourself in on this - if you're a romantic, and let yourself be absorbed by the well-performed story - you're in for a heart-wrenching experience, an allegory for any lost love experience, as she attempts to live with him unrecognized as his former wife. But I think you will find it well worth while at the end.
The supporting cast also includes a favorite character actor, Henry Travers (It's A Wonderful Life, Ball of Fire, On Borrowed Time, etc. etc.), Susan Peters, Reginald Owen, Melville Cooper, Alan Napier, Peter Lawford and Arthur Shields (who was Barry Fitzgerald's brother). "
Classic Old Hollywood
Mcgivern Owen L | NY, NY USA | 08/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Random Harvest" is NOT a "tearjerker", as some amazon friends have suggested. In fact, it may be the definitive feel good movie, if the open -minded viewer gives the chance. The two leads, Ronald Colman and Greer Garson carry the story. The fine supporting cast is virtually anonymous, more to their credit. He is a WWI vet, suffering from amnesia. She is the nice girl who nurses him back to health. The plot thickens when Colman is hit by a car- regains his original (!) memory- and forgets about the beautiful, caring Garson. What happens? This reviewer won't give away the rest of the wonderful story. Folks will just have to see this classic and find out but there IS a surprise "reappearance" involved-similar to that by Gene Tierney in "Laura". Watch that office door! (According to Tom O' Neil's "Movie Awards", RH was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Screenplay. The fact that it won NONE of the foregoing is meaningless. It was competing for Oscars with "Mrs. Miniver", which gave Miss Garson an Academy Award for Best Actress and the chance to set the dubious distinction of making the longest acceptance speech in Oscar history). The final RH scenes are golden as Colman retraces his past to the friendly pub where he first met Garson, the old tobacco shop and that little cottage. Maybe it is a bit of a tearjerker- a heartening one. Does anyone seriously believe Hollywood could remake this one? Who would play the Colman role? Tom Cruise? Please! Let's all be grateful to the persons who preserve the old classics like "Random Harvest"."