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Mrs. Parkington (1944)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | November 1944 (USA)
A widowed matriarch reminisces about her family fortunes, including her romance with a financier/mine owner.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Baroness Aspasia Conti
Edward - Prince of Wales
Alice - Duchess de Brancourt
Ned Talbot
Lord Thornley
John Marbey
Mattie Trounson
Signor Cellini
Madeleine Parkington Swann
St. Luke's Episcopal Church Choristers ...
Carolers (as Saint Luke's Choristers)


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


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

November 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una gran dama  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film was first telecast in Chicago Sunday 31 March 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2); in Minneapolis it first aired 24 July 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9), in Philadelphia 1 November 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), in Los Angeles 5 January 1958 on KTTV (Channel 2), and in New York City 12 July 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2). It first aired in San Francisco 24 January 1961 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »


During a closeup of Maitre D, in the scene where newlywed Mr. and Mrs. Parkington arrive at the hotel in New York, the chambermaid with the bed warmer is seen exiting the room behind the welcoming Maitre D. In the next shot the maid is once again leaving the room. See more »


Madeleine Parkington Swann: We're always enchanted to meet Madeleine's husbands.
Al Swann: I realize I'm not a first but this time it's for keeps.
Madeleine Parkington Swann: They all thought that.
See more »


Featured in Twenty Years After (1944) See more »


Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (Silent Night, Holy Night)
(1818) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Gruber
Lyrics by Joseph Mohr
English translation anonymous
Sung by the St. Luke's Episcopal Church Choristers as carollers on Christmas Eve
See more »

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User Reviews

A silver-screen saga of a bygone era
22 June 2015 | by (China) – See all my reviews

Tay Garnett's resplendent black-and-white MS. PARKINGTON represents one of eight Garson-Pidgeon star-vehicles, it is a vintage family saga of our titular heroine Susie Parkington (Garson), a rich matron starts with a humble beginning as a chambermaid, when a mine explosion takes her mother's life away, out of guilt and admiration, Major Augustus Tarkington (Pidgeon) marries her and spirits her away to New York, so she can get a luxurious life a woman can ever dream of. She gets some advice to adopt the lifestyle of beau monde from a French aristocrat Baroness Aspasia Conti (Moorehead), who is also Major's confidant. And a new but tumultuous page of life opens and Susie gives her best shot to manage a perfect marriage with a dignitary and grows up to be an exemplar who knows and accomplishes a woman's true worth, heightened by a dramatic presentation of an inopportune situation when most of their dinner guests are in absentia for their fancy reception and bookended by a vignette in London involves Edward, Prince of Wales (Kellaway).

These mentioned above actually are told through flashbacks by Susie, when she is an octogenarian and Augustus has long gone, during a Christmas gathering, she learns that her favourite great granddaughter Jane (Rafferty) decides to elope with a former employee of her father Amory (Arnold), and later finds out Amory is going to prison for fraud if he cannot pay a loan worth $31 million, which is equivalent to the entire inheritance for her offspring.

It is drastically ironic that her progeny are abominable snobs (save Jane), since Susie is an excellent woman in all respects, but still, bad parenting cannot be dodged, through Gladys Cooper's portrait of her daughter Alice, a sheer ne'er-do-well and pain-in-the-neck. Or could it be a telling proof that the second/third-generation rich are really past hopes for integrity and humility?

Since the film bifurcates into two alternate narratives with a time-span of over 60 years, it presents Garson a full-scale chance to act from adolescence to senility, although she is consistently pleasant to watch and impressively dignified in the latter period, her rigid posture can never pass off as a woman in her eighties no matter how much effort exerted from the make-up division. Yet, audience can easily side with her character because of what she represents - a wife with a perfect sense of propriety and a woman with sublime wisdom. As the film's title infers, co-star Pidgeon dutifully retreats to a second tier and downplays Major's volatility and vainglory.

Garson is nominated with an Oscar and so is Ms. Moorehead, probably in her most opulent attire, her Aspasia is even much more laudable in handling the delicate issues of the rivalry among women or in a more literal sentence, how to co-exist with the wife of the man you love without hating each other's guts. Kellaway, Arnold and Birell (who plays Lady Nora Ebbsworth, a good sport in playing hostess) are all fittingly memorable, Garnett, a steady hand in orchestrating a character-driven centerpiece with grandeur and style, and so is Bronislau Kaper's mellow escorting score for a two-hour chronicle in the bygone era.

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