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Majestic mountains are in the background and a waterfall in the foreground. Is that a canoe on the river? No it's a cradle with a baby. The buoyant Molly Brown has survived the first crisis of her life -- a flood. Sixteen years later she sets out to make her way in the world. Can she sing and play the piano? She assures the Leadville saloon keeper that she can and learns quickly. Soon she is the bride of Johnny Brown, who in a few years will be able to replace the original cigar wrapper wedding ring with a replica in gold and gemstones. But it takes more than a few million dollars to be accepted by Denver society. The Browns head for Europe and bring a few crowned heads back to Denver for a party that turns into a ballroom brawl. Molly goes to Europe alone, returning on the Titanic. She didn't survive a flood as a baby for the story to end here. Written by
Dale O'Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As with most Hollywood biopics, there are differences with the real story, most notably in that Margaret (Molly) and J.J. never reconciled. They separated in 1909 although they remained good friends who cared deeply for each other until his passing. She was also not quite the social outcast as depicted in the film. Other aspects of her life that were missing from the movie: they had two children, a son and daughter. Margaret Brown was a passionate social crusader and philanthropist; she was a champion of women's rights, including education and getting the vote. She also championed worker's rights, historic preservation, education and literacy, and child welfare, including being instrumental in founding the modern juvenile court system. After the sinking of the Titanic she was noted for her efforts in having the heroism of the men aboard the ship commemorated. After WWI she was also a leader in helping rebuild France and aiding wounded soldiers, and received the French Legion of Honor. She also ran twice for the U.S. Senate. She died in 1932. See more »
When Molly first meets John, in the 1880s, they look at some picture postcards she has with her. The picture occupies one entire side of each card, but postcards of this type were not available in the USA until 1907. See more »
Debbie Reynolds gives us everything in her rousing Oscar nominated performance for best actress in 1964's "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."
Raised in poverty, found after she was abandoned, Molly (Debbie) wants more out of life. We see the same desire for upward mobility as a George Eastman in "A Place in the Sun." Naturally, for Reynolds, this desire is framed around this excellent musical.
As she grows up, she meets her husband-to-be, an engaging Harve Presnell, whose great voice, as in his rendition I'll Never Say No Again is great. After they marry, Molly's accidental burning of the money she was hiding for safe-keeping is hilarious. In his anger, Johnny (Presnell) strikes gold purely by accident. This supposedly will lift the newlyweds to a new life filled with wealth.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Uneducated and lacking polish, they are immediately rejected by Denver's socialite families. When they throw their own party, no one shows up with the exception of the faithful, kindly pastor.
Her inability to move up socially will ultimately cause a separation from Johnny. Molly and her husband head off to Europe to become a cultured. They achieve this as she mingles with the elite of European society. Johnny wants to go home and when Molly refuses, the two part.
Regarded well by her new friends, Molly decides to come home as her heart longs for John. History was apparently on Molly's side. She was on the Titanic and was credited for calming the hysterical women survivors during this disaster. Coming home, she is heralded by Denver's elite-including neighbor and arch enemy, Audrey Christie. (Remember her as Natalie Wood's mother in "Splendor in the Grass?") Naturally, Mrs. McGraw's (Christie) mother is Buttercup, a wonderful common Hermione Baddeley, who has become a good friend to the man who reared Molly- Ed Begley, in a gem of a performance with his full Irish brogue.
The singing and dancing are great. The musical scene where the elite of Europe dance with the people of Denver is hilarious.
A great film with a marvelous ensemble cast. A wonderful realization of social mobility in America. Did it really have to take the heroic efforts of Molly to establish herself among the elite of Denver?
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