Paula (1952) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Distraught after her second miscarriage & learning definitively she could never have children Paula, while driving at night, accidentally injures a child. Confused and due to her commitment to attend a function that honors her husband she doesn't follow the child to the hospital as she thought she would. She attempts to tell her husband about the incident but has trouble finding the right time. Later, overcome with remorse, she looks to get close to this child and becomes a helper at the hospital. The child is an orphan with limited health care available. The doctor recognizes Paula's need to be useful and asks if she would become his speech therapist and guardian. She finds meaning and purpose in her life as she engages the little boy in intensive therapy necessary to recover his ability to speak. Will she be caught and punished, when the boy is able to speak, will he implicate her?

  • SPOILERS. Paula (Loretta Young), like every woman in the fifties, wants very much to have a baby, but she has lost her second. The day her doctor reveals that she will never be able to have a baby, on her way home from the hospital, in a hurry to attend a reception for her husband who has just been named dean of his college, a boy (Tommy Rettig) unpredictable runs into the street, and, due to a large truck traveling in the wrong lane, she is unable to see the boy until it is too late. A passerby named Bascom stops and, overexcited, he assumes the worst and drives off with the boy without telling Paula to which hospital he is headed. Paula eventually phones the correct emergency room and inadvertently learns that the man has reported the accident as a "drunk hit-and-run". Too shocked to respond, and then fearing for her husband's reputation, she keeps quiet about the incident, even tho the accident was clearly unavoidable. Paula instead, through her hospital connections with the doctors there, manages to become an ad hoc speech teacher for the boy, taking him for a time into her home from the orphanage where he lived. ...Over time, the couple grow to love the boy deeply and they adopt him. However, one afternoon the boy suddenly recognizes a striking necklace that Paula was wearing at the time of the accident and it is only through some clever stratagems that Paula is able to persuade him to continue with his speech lessons. ...In a more serious complication, suddenly Bascom shows up at Paula's home. He eventually accuses her again of a hit-and-run accident, and the truth can no longer be kept secret. ...Simultaneously, it comes out that Paula's husband has been in contact not only with the doctors but with the police to straighten out the confusion surrounding the accident, such that prosecution is no longer a threat. ...Their son finishes by expressing his love for Paula in speech for the first time.



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