Joy in the Morning (1965): Romantic Melodrama, Starring Richard Chamberlain and Yvette Mimieux (Gay Character)

Alex Segal directed Joy in the Morning, a romantic melodrama starring Richard Chamberlain and Yvette Mimieux.

Grade: C+ (** out of *****)

Joy in the Morning
Joy in the Morning original release poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster

The film tells the story of a young newlywed couple, Carl and Annie Brown, who marry against their parents’ wishes while Carl is still in law school.

In the late 1920s, Annie McGairy moves to a college town in the Midwest to marry her Carl Brown at the local courthouse. The newlyweds must overcome many obstacles, including disapproval from their parents (who knew each other before emigrating to the U.S. from Ireland), financial problems, and Annie’s sexual insecurities.

Due to the marriage, Carl’s law school cuts off his loans, and his father cuts off support from home, forcing Carl to work multiple jobs. Annie causes gossip in the town by befriending a lonely gay florist and babysitting for the mistress of a married businessman.

Annie discovers she is pregnant, but before she can tell Carl, the couple have a heated argument caused by the stress of his night job interfering with the couple’s marital intimacy.

Annie leaves Carl and returns to her mother in Brooklyn, without telling Carl she is pregnant, not wanting to burden him while he finishes his education.

Devastated by the loss of Annie, Carl’s schoolwork suffers, putting him in danger of failing all his classes. When Carl’s father discovers the situation, his attitude toward Annie softens, and he convinces the couple to reconcile.

Annie helps Carl to catch up in his studies on the same day Annie gives birth. Carl graduates, and he and Annie celebrate a church wedding before happily riding away with their new baby.

The film was based on the 1963 novel by Betty Smith, who had written A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  It was based on her own life: she married during the Depression and lived near campus while her husband studied law.

Richard Chamberlain was at that time a teen idol and the star of the MGM TV series Dr. Kildare. Yvette Mimieux, who was also under contract to MGM, and had played Chamberlain’s love interest in a two-part episode of Dr. Kildare.

The film’s score was composed by Bernard Herrmann.

Cast
Richard Chamberlain – Carl Brown
Yvette Mimieux – Annie McGairy Brown
Arthur Kennedy – Patrick Brown
Oskar Homolka – Stan Pulaski
Donald Davis – Anthony Byrd
Joan Tetzel – Beverly Karter
Sidney Blackmer – Dean James Darwent
Virginia Gregg – Mrs. Lorgan
Chris Noel – Mary Ellen Kincaid
Bartlett Robinson – Professor Victor Newcole
Ellen Atterbury – Marriage License Clerk
Harvey Stephens – Dr. Marson
Ira Barmak – Dr. Kirkson

Credits:

Directed by Alex Segal
Produced by Henry T. Weinstein
Written by Sally Benson, Alfred Hayes, Norman Lessing, based on Joy in the Morning
1963 novel by Betty Smith
Music by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster (title song); Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography Ellsworth Fredericks
Edited by Thomas J. McCarthy
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Release date: May 7, 1965

Running time: 103 minutes