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Stella and Victor meet in Europe, fall deeply in love, and marry soon thereafter. Then they sail back to the States to meet Victor's family, and the honeymoon is over: Victor's family, dominated by his manipulative mother, find Stella -- a free spirit -- pretentious and aloof. Their marriage starts to fall apart when Victor begins siding with his family instead of his wife. Written by
Chris Stone <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Determined Copy Editor
[Victor has left the house against his mother's wishes]
Victor! Come back here!
Don't bother to faint, Mom, he can't see you.
[suddenly alert, and very irritated]
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A marvelous movie, from start to (just before the) finish.
We meet Robert Montgomery and Helen Hayes, with whom he has eloped recently, on shipboard. She is eager to start their home life together. All he can think of is seeing his mother.
Louise Closser Hale is superb as the suffocating matriarch of his family. The other members, including Henry Travers and Margaret Hamilton, are very good as well. Especially fine is John Beal, as Montgomery's nephew. Indeed, he gives a heart-wrenching performance. It's possibly the best in this movie and he is working against very stiff competition.
Montgomery is not only a mama's boy -- called Vicky by everyone, as his name is Victor. He is also a supreme narcissist: In one shocking scene, he inspects himself in a mirror over the mantel. Directly under the mirror is a plaster bust of him that Hayes has lovingly worked on sculpting. He doesn't even notice it.
It's very hard to fault this movie. The ending is a trifle disappointing. And a Mark Twain aphorism is spoken by one character and laughed at by others, as if it were original to this screenplay.
Hayes is superb and very likable. Montgomery, not generally a favorite of mine, is believable as her self-centered husband. Beal is absolutely superb in a very touching role. And Hale is subtle but compelling as the woman of iron who becomes an invalid the minute doing so will get what she wants from her offspring.
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