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A story like so many others...
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My Foolish Heart (1949) is a melodrama starring Dana Andrews and Susan Hayward.

It was based on the short story by J. D. Salinger (Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut), a part of his Nine Stories collection.

Eloise (Hayward) is an alcoholic housewife meeting with her old friend Mary Jane (Loise Wheeler). The meeting conjures up old memories. Specifically, Eloise’s old beau, Walt (Andrews) who died in the air force.

The story follows their relationship before the war and how Eloise turned into a bitter woman.

J.D. Salinger hated the changes made to the story so much that he never allowed his stories to be adapted to the screen again.


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The film shows the following tropes:

  • The Alcoholic: Eloise has become one as a bored, sad housewife.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Although her marriage is over and Walt is dead, Eloise can care for her daughter.
  • Dad the Veteran: Eloise’s father, Henry (Robert Keith), relates his own experiences of wedding quickly before heading off to war. It’s clear that he regrets the decision somewhat, but he understands the feeling which Eloise and Walt are under.
  • Framing Device: Eloise receives a visit from Mary Jane and while packing to run away from the house, she stumbles upon a dress which she wore when she first met Walt.
  • Meet Cute: Walt absentmindedly throws away a cigarette – and it lands on Eloise.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: This is what Eloise wants to avoid and why she doesn’t ask Walt to marry her when she finds out she’s pregnant.
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  • Parents as People: Eloise and her father have a clear deep connection, and he’s completely honest to her about everything. He relates how he also rushed into marriage when he entered the army and regrets it to a certain extent.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Eloise has Ramona which she treats rather roughly. By the end of the film, however, it’s clear that she loves her daughter and that she’s all that she has left of Walt.
  • The Reveal: After finding out about his death, Eloise is given Walt's final letter where he admits that he wants to marry her as soon as possible. Eloise’s fears were all for naught.
  • Running Joke: When trying to sweettalk Eloise, Walt says she has an “aristocratic” ear. He then proceeds to call different parts of her aristocratic throughout the movie.


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