31 user 11 critic

The Mating Season (1951)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 12 January 1951 (USA)
2:29 | Trailer
Ellen McNulty loses her hamburger joint and goes to see her son, who marries a socialite at the same time. Due to her modest background and a case of mistaken identity, Ellen poses as the newlyweds' cook.


Mitchell Leisen


Charles Brackett (written for the screen by), Walter Reisch (written for the screen by) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Tierney ... Maggie Carleton
John Lund ... Val McNulty
Miriam Hopkins ... Fran Carleton
Thelma Ritter ... Ellen McNulty
Jan Sterling ... Betsy
Larry Keating ... Mr. Kalinger, Sr.
James Lorimer James Lorimer ... George C. Kalinger, Jr.
Gladys Hurlbut ... Mrs. Conger
Cora Witherspoon ... Mrs. Williamson
Malcolm Keen ... Mr. Williamson
Ellen Corby ... Annie
Billie Bird ... Mugsy
Mary Young ... Spinster
Samuel Colt Samuel Colt ... Colonel Conger
Grayce Hampton ... Mrs. Fahnstock


Ellen McNulty leaves her New Jersey hamburger stand and heads west to pay a surprise visit to her son and his new bride. When Ellen arrives, her daughter-in-law mistakes her for the maid she has hired for a big party they are throwing. Rather than cause any embarrassment, Ellen goes along with the charade, which leads to many complications. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's a 3-Woman Honeymoon and a Thousand LAFF-RIOT See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Stars Miriam Hopkins and Thelma Ritter were both born in 1902. See more »


Ellen McNulty: Never eat standing up, and never cook sittin' down.
See more »


When I Take My Sugar to Tea
Music by Sammy Fain
Lyrics by Irving Kahal and Pierre Norman
Sung by James Lorimer at the party
See more »

User Reviews

Not exactly deep or realistic, but wow is this movie a lot of fun!
25 March 2007 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Okay, before I begin, I should point out that cynical people are warned NOT to watch this little fantasy film. However, everyone else should delight in watching this very simple yet very enjoyable film. Sure, there are a few story elements that just don't make sense--but my advice is to try to ignore these and keep watching--the payoff makes it well worth your time.

A young couple, John Lund and Gene Tierney, are getting married but are unaware that Lund's mother (Thelma Ritter) is broke and has no place to live. However, Ritter is very proud and won't admit this or that she doesn't have the money to look nice for the wedding, so she skips the service on a pretense. Later, and here's where realism goes out the window, she shows up at Lund's and Tierney's apartment and Tierney thinks Ritter is the maid who has come to help her cook for a big party! Ritter does NOT tell her who she really is and makes a terrific spread. Only later does Lund come in the kitchen and sees what's occurred! Now even then, you MUST suspend disbelief because Lund doesn't tell his wife the truth--he was interrupted as he was telling her later that night, as she was trying to make passionate love to him and he just forgot! As a guy, I actually can believe this--at least short-term, but not for most of the movie! BEAR WITH IT!!! Ritter, one of the best forgotten supporting players (here in a starring role), is utterly charming as the housekeeper and she is able to do wonders to help the young but troubled marriage. How it all works out so perfectly in the end makes it all worth while (particular with as it involves Lund's boss, played by Larry Keating). A charming film that is practically impossible not to like!! They don't make sweet and charming films like this any more.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

12 January 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Relative Stranger 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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