The life of a Norwegian immigrant family in 1910 San Francisco centers around Mama and her detailed, pennywise household budget. We follow the Hansens' small joys, sorrows, and aspirations, with the boisterous antics of Uncle Chris as counterpoint. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
In the shots of the uncle's trip to San Francisco, as the ferry is pulling into the dock, the Oakland Bay Bridge is seen in the background. This bridge was not built until 1933, yet this movie is set circa 1910. See more »
Martha 'Mama' Hanson:
[heaving a sigh of relief after doing the weekly household account]
It's good - we do not have to go to the bank.
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A Delightful Combination of Humor, Drama, & Family Life
Often amusing, often contemplative, and always enjoyable, "I Remember Mama" is about as good as any movie ever made about family life. The writing, the cast, and the characters make relatively commonplace events seem significant and interesting, the episodic style works very well, and the story-telling is well done. Without anything that seems forced or unnatural, the movie covers just about every aspect of family life, and always has something worthwhile to say.
Irene Dunne heads up a fine cast, and she gives one of her many quality performances as "Mama". The supporting cast are all good as well, and they complement each other nicely. Oskar Homolka is especially worthy of note as Uncle Chris, the kind of character who seems to be found in so many families. The portrayals of the characters and the selection of situations in their lives are both so good that you feel very much a part of things, almost from the beginning.
Everything is nicely conceived and carefully crafted, and it is also a good example of the ideal way to adapt written material for the screen. Without adhering strictly to the original, it captures the feel and the themes of the original stories, showing with talking pictures what Kathryn Forbes had said so well with words.
Both the material itself and the style of the adaptation are delightful, and this is the kind of movie that takes much more skill to produce than may seem to be the case. While this kind of thoughtful, deliberately-paced film has unfortunately gone out of style at the present time, "I Remember Mama" is enduring, enjoyable, and worthwhile.
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