Mrs. Parkington by Tay Garnett |Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Edward Arnold | 883316126103 | DVD | Barnes & Noble
Mrs. Parkington

Mrs. Parkington

Director: Tay Garnett

Cast: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Edward Arnold

     
 
The usual modus operandi for Hollywood "through the years" sagas was to gradually age its young actors in the course of the film. In Mrs. Parkington, 35-year-old Greer Garson appears in old-lady makeup for virtually the entire 124-minute running time, even though this filmization of Louis Bromfield's best-selling novel covers the years 1875 through 1938.

Overview

The usual modus operandi for Hollywood "through the years" sagas was to gradually age its young actors in the course of the film. In Mrs. Parkington, 35-year-old Greer Garson appears in old-lady makeup for virtually the entire 124-minute running time, even though this filmization of Louis Bromfield's best-selling novel covers the years 1875 through 1938. Eightyish widow Mrs. Susie Parkington (Garson) gathers together all of her grown children in an effort to bail out son-in-law Amory Stilham (Edward Arnold), who's gotten in Dutch through crooked financial deals. As the children and grandchildren bicker over the "impossibility" of giving up any part of their inheritance, Mrs. Parkington's mind wanders back to her marriage to wealthy mine owner Maj. Augustus Parkington (Walter Pidgeon) and her own efforts, as an unlearned Nevada serving girl, to fit into proper Manhattan society. Augustus' ex-love Aspasia Conti (Agnes Moorehead, in a surprisingly sexy role) is engaged to teach Susie the in and outs of which fork to use and how low to curtsy. Shut out by the "400," Susie is avenged by her husband, who wheels and deals to ruin the snobs financially. Later on, he assuages his anger by conducting several extramarital affairs, before perishing in one of those convenient movie auto accidents. Just how all these incidents strengthen Mrs. Parkington's resolve to rescue her wastrel son-in-law is a mystery that even two viewings of this overlong soap opera may not solve. Incidentally, Greer Garson isn't the only one who is prematurely aged in Mrs. Parkington; keep an eye out for 27-year-old Hans Conried, convincingly playing a doddering musician.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Mrs. Parkington is a big, sprawling, glossy family soap opera, and not recommended for those who have problems with the genre; for those who appreciate the genre, however, Parkington is a great way to pass two hours. Not really the "weepie" kind of soap opera, Parkington is still obsessed with long-suffering love, mismatched-yet-inevitable lovers and the proper role of indomitable spirit in a family's backbone. It doesn't do a better job of getting underneath the surface of these issues than any other film, but it does utilize them in a highly engaging and entertaining manner. The black-and-white tone of the story is set up pretty early, as the clearly "in the right" title character interacts with the stereotypically selfish and undeserving descendants who are so clearly "in the wrong." The lengthy flashback that follows is unnecessary to knowing what her decision will be, but it does give us a chance to see the always wonderful Greer Garson suffering nobly, demonstrating spirit, and showing an ability to bear her claws when needed to protect her man. Garson does all of this with her customary skill, and it's a wonderfully entertaining performance. Working somewhat against type, a caddish (if still quite refined) Walter Pidgeon does very well indeed, seemingly enjoying his chance to be somewhat less perfect than usual. Even better, and even more against type, is Agnes Moorehead, whose layered performance as the scorned ex-mistress is a revelation and reveals again how versatile the actress could be when given a chance. There's other fine support from the likes of Edward Arnold and Cecil Kellaway, all under the careful direction of Tay Garnett, who handles the film's big set pieces expertly. Throw in some sumptuous sets and costumes and fine Joseph Ruttenberg lensing, and the result is thoroughly engaging, if also thoroughly superficial.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/23/2009
UPC:
0883316126103
Original Release:
1944
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
2:03:00
Sales rank:
9,193

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Greer Garson Susie Parkington
Walter Pidgeon Maj. Augustus Parkington
Edward Arnold Amory Stilham
Agnes Moorehead Aspasia Conti
Cecil Kellaway Edward, Prince of Wales
Peter Lawford Lord Thornley
Gladys Cooper Alice, Duchess De Brancourt
Dan Duryea Jack Stilham
Frances Rafferty Jane Stilham
Tom Drake Ned Talbot
Hugh Marlowe John Marbey
Selena Royle Mattie Trounsen
Fortunio Bonanova Signor Cellini
Lee Patrick Madeleine
Harry Cording Humphrey
Celia Travers Belle
Mary Servoss Mrs. Graham
Rod Cameron AlSwann
Helen Freeman Helen Stilham
Tala Birell Nora Ebbsworth
Hans Conried Mr. Ernst
Gerald Oliver Smith Taylor
Jessie Arnold Pedestrians in Mining Town
Bobby Barber Caterer
Guy Bellis Footman
John Berkes Beggar
Margaret Bert Actor
Billy Bletcher Actor
John Bohn Actor
Symona Boniface Fitter
Eugene Borden Drunk
Ruth Brady Bridgett
Maurice Brierre Waiters at Ball
Charles Cane Actor
Maurice Cass Shopkeeper
Naomi Childers Nurse
Wallis Clark Capt. McTavish
Ann Codee Mme. Dupont
Marcelle Corday Mme. de Thebes
Franco Corsaro Gypsy Fiddler
George Davis French Policeman
Vernon Dent Actor
Billy Engle Actor
Rex Evans Fat Man
Al Ferguson Actor
Edward Fielding Rev. Pilbridge
Byron Foulger Vance
Robert Greig Mr. Orlando
Grace Hayle Fat Lady
Howard Hickman Dr. Herrick
Al Hill Actor
Brandon Hurst Footman
Bud Jamison Quartette
Alma Kruger Mrs. Jacob Livingston
Nolan Leary Actor
Bert LeBaron Actor
Kay Medford Minnie
Chef Joseph Milani Maitre d'Hotel
Rhea Mitchell Mrs. Humphrey
Dorothy Phillips Actor
Fred Rapport Actor
Frank Reicher French Doctor
Gordon Richards James the Butler
Wyndham Standing Butler
Anna Marie Stewart Mme. De Thebes
Harry Tyler Actor
Doodles Weaver Caterer
Marek Windheim Gaston
Mary Zavian Actor
Ivo Henderson Albert
Richard Thorne Miner
Lee Tung Foo Sam
Bertha Feducha Actor
Harry Adams Actor
Leonard Mellin Actor
Donna Reed Actor

Technical Credits
Tay Garnett Director
George Boemler Editor
Randall Duell Art Director
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Arnold A. Gillespie Special Effects
Leon Gordon Producer
Daniel Hall Special Effects
Polly James Screenwriter
Bronislau Kaper Score Composer
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Joseph Ruttenberg Cinematographer
Robert Thoeren Screenwriter
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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