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Darling, How Could You! (1951)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 8 August 1951 (USA)
Based on James Barrie's play "Alice Sit-By-The-Fire". In turn-of-the-century New York, a young girl who believes she's learned "the seamy side of life" from a risque play takes it upon ... See full summary »


Mitchell Leisen


Dodie Smith (screenplay), Lesser Samuels (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview:
Joan Fontaine ... Alice Grey
John Lund ... Dr. Robert Grey
Mona Freeman ... Amy
Peter Hansen ... Dr. Steve Clark
David Stollery ... Cosmo
Virginia Farmer ... Fanny
Angela Clarke ... Nurse
Lowell Gilmore ... Aubrey Quayne
Robert Barrat ... Mr. Rossiter
Gertrude Michael ... Mrs. Rossiter
Mary Murphy ... Sylvia
Frank Elliott ... Simms
Billie Bird ... Rosie
Willard Waterman ... Theatre Manager
Learn more

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Based on James Barrie's play "Alice Sit-By-The-Fire". In turn-of-the-century New York, a young girl who believes she's learned "the seamy side of life" from a risque play takes it upon herself to rescue her estranged mother from what appears to be a steamy love affair. Written by Molly Malloy <mailcall@ansel.intersource.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on play | See All (1) »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Referring to a play presented within the film, Amy says "I'll always be grateful for what that play taught me. I couldn't have learned half so much from Peter Pan." The actual play that formed the basis for this film, "Alice Sit-By-The-Fire," and "Peter Pan" were both written by J. M. Barrie. See more »

User Reviews

These must be some of the absolute worst parents in film history!
17 September 2016 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Dr. and Mrs. Grey (John Lund and Joan Fontaine) are among the worst parents I've seen in a film. When the story begins, they've apparently been down in Panama for many years battling diseases...all the while leaving their three children behind to be raised by servants. It's so bad that when they DO return to the States, they have absolutely no idea which kids are the dock are theirs...and the same with the kids, as they have no idea WHAT their parents look like!! And, as a result, the viewer pretty much hates these god-awful parents from the onset of the film. Even in the film "Mommy, Dearest", the mother paid attention to her children!!

Oddly, despite being terrible parents, Dr. Grey seems much more at- east with the kids and quickly wins them over to him. But Mrs. Grey is pretty much as stupid as a tomato and again and again, she manages to alienate her kids from her...as well as convince their oldest that she's cheating on the Doctor!

The film is supposed to be a comedy and J.M. Berrie apparently misjudged how horrified the audience might be in seeing this story when he wrote the play...or perhaps the problem is that the screenplay manages to be the problem. Regardless, it's only natural that some viewers would be so put off by the parents' neglect...so much so that the comedic aspects seem awkward and rather unfunny. Plus there is a portion where the daughter dresses up as an adult in order to try to vamp the man she thinks is her mother's lover--and this is super- creepy as the kid looks to be about 11 or perhaps 12. As for the other two reviews here on IMDb, they seemed able to look past all this and enjoy the film. As for me, perhaps it's because I am a parent or am a retired therapist and social worker...all I know is that I was really put off by the story...though I think the actors and director did try their best.

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Release Date:

8 August 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alice Sit by the Fire See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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