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Olivia de Havilland,
A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long suffering brother.
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
Vibrant, young ALICE ADAMS keeps looking for love & happiness, no matter what tough knocks the world throws at her.
Booth Tarkington's novel comes alive in this splendid film from RKO, which, aside from its first rate production values, features a luminescent Kate Hepburn in the title role. Brave & spunky, yet tenderhearted & true, she immediately engages the viewer's interest & compassion. Belittled by her local high society's casual cruelty, her shining eyes & courageous little smile (nearly) always come through. It is wonderful to watch Hepburn work through the film's emotional centerpiece, a disastrous dinner served for the rich young man who's taken a shine to her, inadvertently given on the hottest evening in a decade. (Deftly playing her suitor, Fred MacMurray deserves his share of the applause.) The intrinsic honesty of the actress makes her performance a triumph.
Hepburn is abetted by a very fine supporting cast. Fred Stone as her invalid father, and Ann Shoemaker as her fretful mother are almost uncomfortably realistic - one naturally feels sorry for their trials & tribulations. Frank Albertson plays her loudmouthed brother; a few short years before this actor showed tremendous promise as a musical comedy star, but the breaks didn't come and he was to play mostly supporting roles.
Hedda Hopper irritates nicely as a snobbish society matron. Charley Grapewin gives a good handful of scenes as Stone's gruff, kind-hearted employer. Grady Sutton deserves special mention, playing a lonely young man whose plain face & chubby body have distanced him from the vast majority of society girls. Usually relegated to playing simpering sissies, Sutton's wistful sadness here in his few short scenes makes one instantly sympathetic for the poor fellow
Hattie MacDaniel is hilarious as the clumsy job cook who arrives to prepare and serve Hepburn's dinner party. Movie mavens will recognize Zeffie Tilbury as an elderly lady at the society party.
But it is Hepburn who stays in the mind long after the movie ends...
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