The film begins on Mother's Day, 1938 when 14-year-old Ziggy Brennan (Mona Freeman) buys a gardenia for her mother. Ziggy's youthful exuberance disappears when she enters their apartment ...
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The film begins on Mother's Day, 1938 when 14-year-old Ziggy Brennan (Mona Freeman) buys a gardenia for her mother. Ziggy's youthful exuberance disappears when she enters their apartment and finds her mother, Natalie (June Duprez), drinking with a strange man. Natalie introduces Ziggy as her "sister" and quietly cautions Ziggy against calling her "mother." Later, dispensing some motherly-advice, Natalie tells Ziggy that if she learns all the tricks, she'll never have to work for a living. Ziggy goes right out and applies parts of this advice by stealing a valuable lapel pin from a fellow high-school student, and is promptly expelled from school. About five years later, Ziggy has made progress and meets Denny Reagan (James Dunn), who persuades her to go into his racket. Ziggy's role is to telephone people who are planning to move and make arrangements to provide a truck to move the furniture. The departing truck is the last that the owners see of their furniture as it is taken to a ...
A Good Picture That Didn't Quite Click With the Audience
Mona Freeman was brought up by a tough, money-hungry, shady, single mother -- June Duprez in quite a change from her role in THE THIEF OF BAGDAD -- and soon falls in with grifting James Dunn. When she steals a watch from a drunk military man, Dunn shows some patriotism and tells her to give it back.... and she winds up married, a war widow and struggling to keep her baby in this movie directed by Alfred Santell.
Miss Freeman was 20 when she made this movie, but she always seemed younger than she was, a factor which hampered her screen career; in this, she looks quite convincing in the opening scene as a 14-year-old girl buying a flower for her mother. She gives a fine, layered performance, but the script, from a story by Adele Rogers St. John, tries to cover too many bases, half tough-girl drama, half weepy-mother-loses-baby soap, with a dose of judicial moralizing and a dash of miraculous intervention. As a result, her characterization, and that of James Dunn, fresh off an Academy Award win for A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN may seem not so much nuanced as inconsistent.
I think not. I think it's a good movie, although I find the first half more interesting. That, however, is largely because I don't care for weepy melodramas. Judging by the record, no one was particularly impressed by this picture at the time. Dunn's career resumed its slide, aided by alcoholism; Freeman worked in minor movies for another ten years, then in television until 1972; and Santell, whose directorial career had begun in 1916, and who lived until 1981, never directed another movie.
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