Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gene Tierney & Thelma Ritter in The Mating Season (1951)

Val McNulty (John Lund) has just married beautiful Maggie (Tierney) and is eager to make good at his job. He's a first generation college grad who's widowed mother runs a hamburger stand in Jersey City. Maggie on the other hand is the daughter of an ambassador. When Val's mother, Ellen comes to pay the new bride her respects, due to a mix-up she thinks Ellen is the new cook and puts her to work. Ellen doesn't want to embarrass her new daughter-in-law and so she works for her, hoping to speak to her son when he comes home. As you can expect, things get out of hand, and the combination of the complicated circumstances, the inferiority complex of the McNultys and the arrival of Maggie's snobbish, disapproving mother-in-law (Miriam Hopkins), there just doesn't seem to be a good opportunity to set things right.
MoviePosterShop.com
This charming film is a lovely character study of class conflicts in mid-century America, and a beautiful example of Hollywood's take on the nobility of the common man. Look for a fun turn by a young Billy Bird (one of the grandmothers in Sixteen Candles) as one of Ellen's buddies.

This title has yet to make it to DVD, which seems odd to me, because it's a film of some note and there's been interest of late in Gene Tierney's career. It is available in full on YouTube, however. Part one is above, uploaded by LillianPrune. It's also occasionally aired on TCM.

Obscurity factor: 6 (known in some circles, not on DVD, available on YouTube)

6 comments:

  1. I saw most of this on TCM, and it was quite good. Thelma Ritter, especially, is great; she's a performer who I could watch in just about anything. (I feel the same about Marjorie Main; the movie could stink but she's always watchable to me.) Ritter was one of those great character actresses who never got the recognition she deserved.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's really interesting to see Ritter play a society matron in Move Over Darling... She's cast against type, but is still enjoyable.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thelma Ritter - sigh. Six Supporting Actress nominations....but NOT one for "Rear Window," her crown jewel......

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, she's wonderful in that...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just as I always love Ritter, I usually don't enjoy at all Hopkins' work, which strikes me as hammy, brittle, and fussy. Hence my surprise with this one: I thought Hopkins was great, and almost sexy in a perverse way. I wish there were more Hopkins roles in "contemporary" roles: I think it's the period nightgowns, lace, and frills that encourage her to flutter about. Here, as I said, she's just great.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think Hopkins is a real product of her time. She was a much bigger star as a young woman in the early 30's. By this period her style of acting was on the wane. She so frequently plays vain, thoughtless women - almost as if she was type cast that way. I have to say I like her in Old Acquaintance though.

    ReplyDelete