George and Catherine Apley of Boston lead a proper life in the proper social circle, as did the Apleys before them. When grown daughter Eleanor falls in love with Howard (from New York!), ... See full summary »
George and Catherine Apley of Boston lead a proper life in the proper social circle, as did the Apleys before them. When grown daughter Eleanor falls in love with Howard (from New York!), and son John with Myrtle (from Worcester!), the ordered life of the Apley home on Beacon Street is threatened, as is the hoped-for union of John and Apley-cousin Agnes. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <email@example.com>
A descendant of the Puritans is forced to deal with "this modern age"
I doubt this film could have been pulled off without Ronald Colman in the title role as a descendant of the prominent Apley family of Boston. His entire life is taken up with people of similar background, and he considers anything outside of the Back Bay of Boston to be a foreign country. The film is set in the years prior to WWI and horse drawn forms of transportation are still the norm. He believes in his own form of noblesse oblige, and is very satisfied with his ways of giving back to the community - Tuesday Night Club on Tuesday, Wednesday Night Club on Wednesday - need I say more?
In this rarefied museum piece of a life, George's children are about to turn everything upside down. His daughter is in love with a Harvard professor - so far so good - who is a Yale man! And the young man is teaching that Emerson is a rebel! Even worse, his son is in love with a young lady from Worcester whose father is president of a tool and die works! "A foreigner" as George himself says. To top things off a flashing electric sign advertising Grapenuts has been put within sight of his front door.
Like I said before, if the part of George was played by anybody else but the dapper and charming Colman, this guy would probably come across as insufferable. As it turns out, George really has a generous soul, a point that is driven home by Colman's portrayal, but his point of view is crowded with traditions that are centuries old whose origin he doesn't really understand himself, and to step away from them - or to see any member of his family step away from them - leads to a sense of discomfort that makes him feel that he perceives a wrong that must be righted.
I'll let you watch and see how this all works out, but it really is a delightful comedy of manners with real heart and delightful character actors in the supporting roles. Highly recommended.
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