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Mrs. Parkington (1944)

Passed  -  Drama | Romance  -  November 1944 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 739 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 8 critic

In this family saga, Mrs. Parkington recounts the story of her life, beginning as a hotel maid in frontier Nevada where she is swept off her feet by mine owner and financier Augustus ... See full summary »

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Title: Mrs. Parkington (1944)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Amory Stilham
...
Baroness Aspasia Conti
...
Edward - Prince of Wales
...
Alice - Dutchess de Brancourt
Frances Rafferty ...
Jane Stilham
Tom Drake ...
Ned Talbot
...
Lord Thornley
Dan Duryea ...
Jack Stilham
...
John Marbey
Selena Royle ...
Mattie Trounson
Fortunio Bonanova ...
Signor Cellini
Lee Patrick ...
Madeleine Parkington Swann
St. Luke's Episcopal Church Choristers ...
Singers (as The Saint Luke's Choristers)
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Storyline

In this family saga, Mrs. Parkington recounts the story of her life, beginning as a hotel maid in frontier Nevada where she is swept off her feet by mine owner and financier Augustus Parkington. He moves them to New York, tries to remake her into a society woman, and establishes their home among the wealthiest of New York's high society. Family and social life is not always peaceful, however, and she guides us, in flashbacks, through the rises and falls of the Parkington family fortunes. Written by Eric Wees <eric_wees@ccmail.chin.doc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

November 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Srª. Parkington  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some cast members in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. These were (with their character names): Ann Codee (Madame Dupont), George Davis (French Policeman) and Frank Reicher (French Doctor). It is possible that their scenes, if filmed at all, were only for the European version (see alternate versions), since their character names suggests a French setting. A contemporary news item also listed Donna Reed, Nana Bryant and Dewey Robinson as cast members, but they were not seen in the movie. See more »

Goofs

At the very beginning of the movie, when the carolers are on Mrs. Parkington's doorstep, the girl in the white coat standing on the step next to the butler is not singing "Silent Night" as the rest are. She is obviously singing something completely different (which of course makes the dubbing over completely obvious!) See more »

Quotes

Amory Stilham: [to Al Swann] Well, what do you think of us? We're quite a family, don't you think? This is my wife Helen and my son Jack.
Helen Stilham: Merry Christmas.
Amory Stilham: Well, you'll have to go some to catch up with us. We've been married 23 years now and no regrets, have we darling?
Helen Stilham: It's a little late for regrets.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Greer Garson (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played by a band, including Franco Corsaro on violin, in the bridal suite at the Hotel Royal
Reprised on piano by Agnes Moorehead
See more »

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User Reviews

Entertaining family saga from Louis Bromfield's best-seller.
25 February 2004 | by (New York, N.Y.) – See all my reviews

This is an entertaining family saga from Louis Bromfield's novel, the kind of long, digressive trash wallow that still regularly tops best-seller lists. Essentially a subversive treatise on why inherited wealth is a bad thing, we observe the wealthy Mrs. Parkington as she copes with her selfish, dishonest middle-aged children in 1920s N.Y. while reminiscing about her stormy Gilded Age marriage to her late husband, a Wall Street cutthroat who made a vast fortune.

Greer Garson wears a black wig in this role and -- surprisingly -- it really dims her luster. One misses that hair, so unmistakably red even in black and white, which usually illuminates her face. She also looks too old in the early scenes in which she's meant to be a teenager, and her acting is too arch in her scenes in old age. Even so, she's a suitable and sympathetic figurehead for this limousine ride of a movie. Walter Pidgeon is exactly what the part of the Robber Baron requires: physically imposing and masculine, stubborn and rakish by turns, he is never dynamic but always convincing.

There are several worthwhile points of interest here: In a role that earned her a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, Agnes Moorehead gives a vivid performance as the French mistress that Parkington insensitively presses into service to make his wife the queen of N.Y. society. Moorehead's efficient acting suggests everything about this woman's precarious existence as well has her combination of artifice and pragmatism. She's like a character out of Trollope. A slightly lesser revelation is Gladys Cooper, cast against type and showing surprising depths of cynicism as a suicidal playgirl. In addition, the film is more frank and relaxed about sexual philandering (both pre-and extra-marital) than one would expect from an MGM film of 1944. And several of the sets, most notably the spectacular rendering of the Parkington mansion on Fifth Avenue (including an entry hall that doubles as a ballroom, complete with two endlessly curving staircases and a colonnade of pillars that leads to a dining hall seating 100) are prime examples of the opulent art direction one routinely enjoys in Hollywood pictures of the '40s.

Finally, although the first third of the film sometimes drags, there are two excellent set pieces that are beautifully constructed and lovingly detailed by director Tay Garnett. The first is a Parkington dinner party to which N.Y.'s 400 are invited -- the pervasive tension and gradual buildup to disaster are really memorable here, as is the use of the film's most impressive set. The second is a very droll bit of drawing room comedy during which Mrs. Parkington meets and enlists the aid of the Prince of Wales to win back her husband from the clutches of an English society hostess. The polite bitchery between the ladies is delightful.

Prospective viewers can decide if this list of pleasures justifies a look at this luxe movie.


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