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In the small town of South Renford, Alice Adams comes from a working class background, although she aspires to be among the upper class. Alice's mother blames her husband for their low social standing, despite his working hard and Alice not blaming him for anything. Regardless, Alice tries to do whatever necessary to put on appearances of wealth and social standing, despite everyone in that class in town knowing who she is, and thus largely ignoring her because of her false airs. First meeting at a society ball, Alice surprisingly catches the eye of Arthur Russell, surprisingly as he purportedly is engaged to débutante Mildred Palmer. As Alice continues to hide her true social standing from Arthur as he courts her, Mrs. Adams pressures Mr. Adams into doing something he doesn't want to do in an effort truly to become part of the business class, that measure which entails sinking all his money into a business venture. Beyond the time when Arthur finds out the true nature behind Alice's ... Written by
I am NOT a fan of Katharine Hepburn....but I really like her in this film. I don't think she ever looked cuter and was more appealing. One often forgets the fresh face and beauty she had when she was young.
This film starts off wonderfully for 20 minutes, then bogs down a bit for an hour and then rallies brilliantly in the last 20 minutes. That last part is so good that made the film not only worthwhile to view but one to keep and watch every few years.
It bogs down when Hepburn starts her deceiving scheme and nervously yaks and yaks and yaks trying to impress her boyfriend (Fred MacMurray). The deceit involves her trying to hide her social status, something that must have meant a lot more back in the early '30s than it does today.
Critics comment about how the dinner scene is a "classic" and the highlight of the film, but I didn't think it was all that great, although Hattie McDaniel is funny. It's what happened afterward that made it a memorable film to me.
Although Hepburn and Fred MacMurray are the stars of this romance-comedy, Fred Stone almost steals the show. Playing Hepburn's dad in the film, he was both hilarious at times and very sad....and always interesting. He gives an unbelievably powerful speech to his boss near the end of this film.
Another plus for "Alice Adams" is the direction. This is early George Stevens, but just about any film that man directed is top-notch, including this one.
Without giving away what happens in the story, the film does present a nice message of forgiveness and reconciliation and sports one of the stronger feel-good endings I've ever seen on film. Hepburn's last words in the movie are "Gee Whiz!!" That bygone innocent reaction to MacMurray's comment that he loved her says a lot about how movies and times have changed.
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