1942 “Random Harvest” Film Review

Random Harvest


I have not previously written or even contemplated writing a film review before. I prefer to get to grips with a good book. However after watching Random Harvest from 1942 I felt compelled to share this wonderful film with you in hope that it may be discovered and enjoyed by more people.

The film itself is actually based on a novel of the same name by James Hilton in 1941; however I will read and review this another time.

Main Cast:

Ronald Colman Charles Rainier
Greer Garson “Paula Ridgeway”/Margaret Hanson
Philip Dorn Dr. Jonathan Benet
Susan Peters Kitty Chilcet
Henry Travers Dr. Sims

Film Synopsis:

The film is set towards the end of World War 1, a British Officer is gassed and suffers shell shock in the trenches and brought back to England. Unfortunately, due to this he also loses his memory. This amnesiac which we will know as Smith for the first portion of the film is transferred to an asylum as an unidentified veteran who also experiences difficulty speaking. During his time in the asylum Smith has to come to terms that he does not know who he is, let alone where he is from. Eager families with missing sons visit in desperate hope to be reunited, but all leave with disappointment.

Not long later, the end of the war has been declared and celebrations are being had all round, due to the excitement the gatekeepers abandon their posts in triumph leaving Smith to simply wonder out of the grounds and into the town.

In the town he is befriended by a Singer called Paula who offers him shelter and compassion. She realizes at once he is from the asylum but feels he is harmless and gives him the opportunity to join her on her theatrical tour. This plan is quickly thwarted by an incident and Smithy’s (as she calls him) identity is discovered. To avoid being taken back to the asylum Paula takes Smith to the country where they settle down and marry.

Now you would assume this would be the happily ever after but the core of the film hasn’t even begun yet! Smith visits Liverpool for a job interview and is struck by a taxi. His previous memories are restored however his new life and love with Paula is erased; leaving him with emptiness that he just cannot fathom, the only clue to his past is the key which he carries in his pocket.


I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this film that I wish to own it. I borrowed this from my father as he recommended it to me. Firstly, black and white films do not faze me as they do with some. My partner sat down for the first ten minutes of this film and I did think to myself, I’ll give it five minutes and he’ll wonder back upstairs but he didn’t. He stayed and really got into this film, so much so that at the end he was a little weepy as was I.

The acting is superb, but you do have an actor and actress whom were very popular back in this era, so I have been told. (Ronald Colman and Greer Garson.) The only criticism I have in regards to acting would be by Susan Peters who played Kitty, If you do watch the film you will notice she regularly looks above Colman’s head rather than directly at him. Is it nervousness due to being around a big star or the struggle of trying to remember her lines? I honestly don’t know but it does get a little irritating.  Due to the age of the film some of the props are noticeable but this did not ruin the movie in anyway for me.

Random Harvest presents us with two characters that we care about, that we feel for and that we want to be together. At one point I just wanted to scream at the screen “Remember her!!!”, out of frustration for poor Paula. It is a classic romantic film that I would highly recommend to all.

images  Random-Harvest