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The War Against Mrs. Hadley (1942)

Passed | | Drama | 4 March 1943 (Mexico)
A Washington official courts a society matron who is trying to ignore the effects of World War II.



(original screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Elliott Fulton
Stella Hadley
Theodore Hadley
Patricia Hadley
Mrs. Michael Fitzpatrick
Cecilia Talbot
Michael Fitzpatrick
Isobel Elsom ...
Mrs. Laura Winters
Dorothy Morris ...
Halliwell Hobbes ...
Connie Gilchrist ...
Peters (as Horace McNally)
Dr. Leonard V. Meecham
Louie (as 'Rags' Ragland)


A Washington official courts a society matron who is trying to ignore the effects of World War II.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 March 1943 (Mexico)  »

Also Known As:

Aço da Mesma Têmpera  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the film, Mrs. Hadley's birthday is December 7th and she is dismayed that the events at Pearl Harbor ruin her party. Ironically Fay Bainter who played the title character was born on December 7th. See more »


When Mrs. Hadley, Mr. Fulton and Mrs. Fitzgerald leave at the end, they walk out of the house (closing the door behind them) twice. See more »


Cecilia Talbot: [to Stella] I just wanted to know what stand I should take about cherry trees. They're so decorative - but they are Japanese.
See more »


Featured in Personalities (1942) See more »


Happy Birthday
(1893) (uncredited)
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
Sung a cappella by Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer
Also sung a bit by Halliwell Hobbes
See more »

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User Reviews

An All-star Cast of Character Actors
1 January 2005 | by (NY, NY) – See all my reviews

This begins in an elegant manner and is a serious film. It has a fantastic cast, almost entirely made up of character actors. Edward Arnold could be the only one ho ever starred in A pictures, though Fay Bainter, in the title role here, could have been said to also.

Bainter's character lives in a bubble. She's a rich widow in Washington, DC, who refuses to pay attention to the sounds of W.W.II, right up through Pearl Harbor. Her daughter (Jean Rogers, not quite believable as a child of privilege) meets a military man, the young Van Johnson. Her alcoholic son is sent off to war by influential Arnold, rather than disgrace Bainter, whom he loves.


It works well, even to the end, though it becomes less plausible as it moves toward its resolution. Would patrician Bainter/Hadley really embrace the working class mother-in-law of her daughter to such a degree? Seems unlikely.

There are strange overtones of homosexuality in this movie. At its start we see a bouquet being delivered to Bainter. It evolves that the woman who cuts her hair sent it. Everyone wonders why. Her friend Spring Byington says, "Maybe she's musical!" and all laugh. My understanding from older friends is that this was a code for gay/lesbian in the 1940s.

This could be my imagination, but the bouquet is never explained and w never again hear about, let alone see, the hair stylist.

Regardless, it's an elegant movie that, with a bigger budget, could have been a very fine one.

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