Early 1905, French governess Emilie Gallatin (Ingrid Bergman) is hired to care of a luxurious family mansion and the four sons of wealthy Adam Stoddard (Warner Baxter) and his wife, Molly Stoddard (Fay Wray). Things couldn't be more perfect, until in 1907, first Molly dies, and then the stock market crashes, wiping out the Soddard's fortune. Emilie is forced to go back home to France. The parting is difficult, for the teenager boys - Jack Stoddard (Billy Ray), David Stoddard (Steven Muller), Chris Stoddard (Wallace Chadwell), and Phillip Stoddard (Bobby Walberg) - had grown to depend on Emilie more after the loss of their mother, and Emilie had fallen in love with Adam. Seven years later, just before the beginning of World War I, the family's fortunes have improved, and Adam insists with Emilie to return and stay on as part of the family - preserving her from the foreseeable fates of war. The four boys are adults, and they all serve in various branches of the military - Jack Stoddard (... Written by
"Adam Had Four Sons" (1941) is a perfect movie for folks who enjoy watching stars performing early in their careers. In this film, there are four such performances to draw the viewer's attention. The story here concerns the quaint Connecticut household headed by Warner Baxter and Fay Wray in 1907, and the French governess (Ingrid Bergman, in her second American film) who is brought in to care for their four young boys. Years later, trouble brews when one of the boys brings home a new wife, Susan Hayward, "the Brooklyn Bombshell," in one of her earliest screen roles. Hayward wastes no time in becoming drunken, bitchy and flirtatious, especially with the hunky eldest brother, Richard Denning, in one of HIS earlier roles. Need I even mention that a Grade A confrontation looms between the protective governess and the interloping bad girl? This is actually a very warm little movie, with nice performances by all; an involving, over-the-years type of story; and handsome production values. The three lead actresses look as beautiful as one could wish for, especially Hayward. Honestly...has there EVER been an actress with such a combination of drop-dead good looks and sheer acting ability? Not for me, anyway. But in this picture, our sympathies are completely with Bergman, and she is just radiant and lovely in her sweet role. The contrast between the two is quite striking here; what a shame that these wonderful actresses never worked together again. Anyway, I really did enjoy this movie and do recommend it to all IMDb viewers. Oh, I almost forgot. A 16-year-old June Lockhart also appears in this film; yet another early performance to relish!
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