A Vienna based acting couple make magic when they perform together on stage. Unknown to the theater going public and despite being married for only six months, that magic seems no longer to... See full summary »
Emma Morris at her young age faces a traumatic accident where her best friend Lily dies. She is in a shock, doctors have faith in her recovery, but it doesn't seem that she is getting ... See full summary »
Waterfront couple raise their son to be a sea captain. He grows up to be rather snotty and rebels against drunken Beery. Valiant Dressler keeps things moving even as hubby ruins their ... See full summary »
When their mother dies in childbirth, Emma Thatcher who has been the nanny to his 3 children but now has an infant to care for. The children grow up and Frederick becomes rich and successful. He and Emma marry, as it turns out right before his death, and his will becomes a source of trouble between the children and Emma. Written by
Rebecca Fennig <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After winning her Best Actress Academy Award in 1931 for "Min and Bill," Marie was nominated again the very next year for her role in this film; Emma. See more »
When Ronnie drives up to the Smith mansion with his dog, the dog can be seen about to follow him out of the car. Ronnie calls the dog, and we see the dog sitting in the back seat as if he hadn't budged and then walking toward him. See more »
I was never so happy in my life, I never had anything like this. When people like we, well, grow old, we've had all the bad things in life and then when the good things come... they seem so much better.
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Hefty housekeeper Marie Dressler (as Emma) becomes the surrogate mother to a wealthy Long Island family, after their mother dies, giving birth to Richard Cromwell (as Ronnie). While helping her prepare for a well-deserved Niagara Falls vacation, family father Jean Hersholt (as Smith) startles Ms. Dressler by proposing marriage; and, the trip becomes a honeymoon. Back home, only Mr. Cromwell, Dressler's favorite "son", celebrates the marriage. The three other Smith children (George Meeker, Myrna Loy, and Barbara Kent) are furious; they feel the ailing Mr. Hersholt married a mere "servant", who will steal the family fortune.
This is Marie Dressler at her sentimental best; assisted by an apt MGM team, including Clarence Brown (director), Oliver Marsh (photographer), and Frances Marion (writer). Dressler won a "Best Actress" Academy Award" for a previous effort, "Min and Bill" (1930); however, her "Emma" is a stronger characterization. This more deserved "Best Actress" nomination became the Academy Awards' #2 choice for the 1931/32 eligibility period; in the voting, Dressler was just behind winner Helen Hayes (in "The Sin of Madelon Claudet"). Dressler should have won for "Emma", rather than "Min and Bill".
Richard Cromwell and Jean Hersholt might have been nominated as "Best Supporting Actors"; but, the category was not introduced until 1936 (Dressler would have likely won the 1929/30 award, in this category, for "Anna Christie"). Parts of "Emma" have not aged well, especially some of the early, yet important, scenes. But, its strengths make up for these weaknesses. Watch for the scene in which Dressler throws her ungrateful step-children out of the house. This is followed by a scene with Dressler being "haunted" by the "ghosts" of the little Smith children; it's an extraordinarily touching "special effect". And, it all works so well due to Dressler.
Dressler is unfairly called a "scene stealer"; most of the time, she was just very good. If you were good, you kept up with her. With material to work with, Dressler's co-stars are just as memorable. Note, how, in lesser roles, Cromwell and Hersholt compliment Dressler's "Emma" perfectly. Both Hersholt and Dressler play his "death scene" beautifully. And, Cromwell's one-word description of "Emma" is the film's most lingering. You won't forget it.
********* Emma (1/2/32) Clarence Brown ~ Marie Dressler, Richard Cromwell, Jean Hersholt, Myrna Loy
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