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Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry (1986)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Comedy | TV Movie 30 March 1986
Katharine Hepburn as Mrs. Delafield, a widow who falls in love with her Jewish doctor - to her and his children's objection.


George Schaefer


James Prideaux

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Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Katharine Hepburn ... Margaret Delafield
Bibi Besch ... Doreen Delafield
Denholm Elliott ... George Parker
Brenda Forbes Brenda Forbes ... Gladys Parker
Charles Frank ... Chipper Delafield
Harold Gould ... Dr. Marvin Elias
Suzanne Lederer Suzanne Lederer ... Shirley Elias
John Pleshette ... David Elias
David Ogden Stiers ... Horton Delafield
Kathryn Walker ... Sarah
Babs Chula ... Frieda
Daphne Goldrick Daphne Goldrick ... Karen
Tom Heaton ... Harrison
Antony Holland Antony Holland ... Reverend Brooks
Norma MacMillan Norma MacMillan ... Miss Fry (as Norma Macmillan)


A well-to-do widow shocks her snobbish WASP family when she announces that she has fallen in love with her Jewish doctor. His family is equally devastated by the news leading both individuals to have to fight the prejudices of their families and of their narrow-minded neighbors. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

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Drama | Romance | Comedy


Not Rated






Release Date:

30 March 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alter schützt vor Liebe nicht See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the movie, the couple is supposed to be only five years apart in age. In real life there was a 16 year difference in age between Katharine Hepburn and Harold Gould. See more »

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User Reviews

Not great; could have been better
2 October 2007 | by holdencopywritingSee all my reviews

Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry offers some enjoyable humor. But it's marred by an unbelievable attempt to contrast wealthy WASP characters with Jewish characters. It seems like the director and scriptwriter were not familiar with either side, and were confused as to how best to hammer home their heavy-handed themes of Love Conquers All Even When You're Old and Religious Prejudice is Bad. The Jewish side says L'Chaim several times, makes Manischevitz jokes--there's no depth of characterization here. Mrs. Delafield is rich and upper-class because several characters tell us so--again, there is no depth of characterization here.

But the film can't quite get it right. Harold Gould's character is supposed to be a successful Jewish doctor and head physician at a major hospital. Yet he and his adult children are given lower to middle middle-class accents, housing, cars, politics, etc. As for Mrs. Delafield, the movie's production values are so low that Mrs. Delafield's home and furnishings are middle-class at best. The film would have been much better if Harold Gould's character was a successful doctor with the home, lifestyle and children to match.

There are two exceptionally bad moments in the film: At one point, David Ogden Stiers as Hepburn's adult son finally says the word "Jew" out loud as in "Not if you're going to marry a Jew." So Hepburn slaps him across the face. Well, that's the way to teach religious tolerance. It makes me wonder how often she slapped her children when they were young.

In the same scene, there's an insanely stupid bit near the end when David Ogden Stiers as the stuffy son asks something like "Well, what about the religious differences?" Hepburn says something like "I asked Marvin if he believed in (points up to heaven), and he said yes. He asked me if I believe. I said yes. We have no religious differences." I think that's one of the dumbest moments in television. Of course, they have religious differences--there are HUGE differences in their religious beliefs. If they think they can overcome them or choose not to make a big deal of them, that's great. But let's not minimize the difficulty of blending two different faith beliefs.

There's nothing worse than a preachy, self-righteous TV movie.

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