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 »
Lally is a rich girl whose father writes books and plays Polo. After 23 years of marriage, he decides to divorce his wife, and marry Mrs. Chevers. This sours Lally on all men, while on ... See full summary »
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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>
This film was first telecast in Los Angeles Monday 22 April 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11), but its New York City television premiere did not take place until 6 October 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2). 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 »
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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