7th Heaven

Alternate Title: Silly Heart
1927 Nominee

Forced into truth-telling in front of a rich aunt and uncle, Diane (Janet Gaynor) gets thrown out of her home by her abusive. alcoholic sister. By chance, she meets Chico (Charles Farrell), an optimistic street cleaner. Chico comes to Diane’s rescue multiple times, but implicates himself by lying to a police officer. To protect him from legal peril, Diane offers to spend the night at Chico’s apartment. It isn’t long before Chico gets used to Diane’s pampering and offers to let her stay past her welcome. Of course with nowhere to go, Diane is grateful. The pair of housemates soon find themselves developing more than friendly feelings for each other, but their infatuation has dreadful timing. World War I threatens to tear the pair apart as quickly as they started.

The movie is totally silly. Aside from the obvious comments about theatrical acting in the silent film era, the whole movie is a melodrama…and the leading man is named Chico. Chico saves a girl from suicide and then falls in love with her because she makes him coffee and irons his shirt. It’s absolutely ridiculous and I’m not ashamed to say that I laughed more than once. Like falling in love, 7th Heaven is absurd in a good way. Janet Gaynor’s teary-eyed gazes and Charles Farrell’s smirking speak volumes despite the silent venue. It’s safe to say that romance movies haven’t lost all the melodrama, though the storytelling is (maybe) a little more cohesive in the present day.

Now it’s Your Turn…
7th Heaven was nominated for Best Picture in 1927, but did The Academy get it right?

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