After their orphanage burns down, a group of children are being transported west by train to Manitoba. All of them are available for adoption and at a stop at Scourie, Ontario little Patsy ... See full summary »
After their orphanage burns down, a group of children are being transported west by train to Manitoba. All of them are available for adoption and at a stop at Scourie, Ontario little Patsy meets Victoria McChesney. Victoria and her husband Patrick have no children and she immediately decides to adopt the girl. The only condition imposed on them is that as Patsy has been baptized a Roman Catholic the Protestant McChesneys agree to raise her as a Catholic. Patsy is a well-behaved little girl whose only real problem is a school bully, also one of the orphans, who spreads stories that she set their orphanage on fire. Problems arise when the local newspaper goes after Patrick, the town reeve and prominent member of his political party. Patrick decides they can't go forward with the adoption. Patsy overhears him and runs away but does so just as the school catches fire. The community quickly decides Patsy is responsible but it's Patrick who comes to her defense. It all ends well. Written by
Scandal At Scourie is the eighth and last film starring Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson and Pidgeon was for once playing a Canadian which was his native country. The two are a married couple and Pidgeon runs a mercantile and is active in local politics. Some of the party bosses are eying him for bigger things.
The two are childless and make a decision to adopt a little girl and you would think such matters would be divorced from politics on both sides of the 49th parallel. But little Donna Corcoran is a Catholic and the Garson and Pidgeon are Protestants. In fact Pidgeon is a deacon in their church. But they promise to continue raising her in the Catholic faith.
The orphanage where Corcoran came from was burned down and another kid adopted from the same orphanage starts spreading the rumor she did the deed. Pidgeon's bottom feeding opponent editor Philip Ober says that he only did this to curry favor with Catholic voters. And then some incidents happen and the film does make you wonder about whether Corcoran is a budding Patty McCormack.
The film's best asset is the matchless chemistry that Greer and Walter enjoyed on the screen. In a couple of years both would be gone from MGM as they and other big studios were getting shed of their big contract stars. Their scenes with each other and Greer's with Corcoran hold the film together.
What is really undefined and weakly resolved is the character of Tony Taylor who plays the other orphan. He confesses to at least one of the other bad acts and there's evidence that he could be a bad seed. But as this is a film aimed at family audiences that's all badly papered over by the script.
Scandal At Scourie does not come up to the standards of Mrs. Miniver or Madame Curie, that's Pidgeon and Garson at their best. But it still is a decent family film and today's audience would still enjoy this tale of turn of the last century Canada.
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