Director Sidney Franklin originally adapted Jane Murfin and Jane Cowl's play Smilin' Through for the silver screen in a 1922 silent film starring Norma Talmadge and (the other) Harrison Ford. Remaking his own film, Franklin directed Norma Shearer in this 1932 talkie. Leslie Howard plays John Carteret, an old man whose fiancée (Shearer) was killed on their wedding day by her jilted former suitor (Fredric March). Years later, Carteret is forced to take care of his orphaned niece Kathleen (also Shearer), who looks exactly like his his former betrothed. The niece soon falls in love with Kenneth Wayne (also March), the son of the jilted suitor. Filled with bitterness and resentment about the past, Carteret does all that he can to stand in the way of the blossoming romance. Smilin' Through was once again adapted in a 1941 version directed by Frank Borzage and starring Jeanette MacDonald.