The real Star of this film is Thelma Ritter (1902 – 1969), whose first movie role was an uncredited part in Miracle on 34th Street (1947). She won an Oscar for her performance as ‘Birdie’ in the film ‘All About Eve’ in 1950 with Bette Davis and Anne Baxter (featuring starlet Marilyn Monroe). She played Jimmie Stewart’s nurse in the classic ‘Rear Window’ (1954), as well as Doris Day’s housekeeper in the ever-popular ‘Pillow Talk’, also starring Rock Hudson (1959). She again starred opposite Marilyn Monroe in the John Hughes film ‘The Misfits’ (1961), which was Monroe’s final finished film, as well as the last films for troubled actor Montgomery Clift, and screen legend Clark Gable.
In this screwball comedy, Ritter plays Ellen McNutty, a middle-aged widow who can’t afford to keep her business, and is forced to give up her tiny hamburger stand to the banker. She decides to go move in with her son, Val, played by the very handsome John Lund. She doesn’t warn him, mind you, that she’s coming; she just shows up in his distant city one day with her bags. Of course, for his part, he doesn’t tell her he’s just gotten married! His new wife, a socialite named Maggie, is played sweetly by the beautiful Gene Tierney. Her overbearing, wealthy, world-traveling mother barges in to stay one day, with all of her luggage, and takes over the marital suite, sharing it with her daughter (bad mom). Which, of course, leaves the poor husband spending his honeymoon nights on the rickety sofa.
Meanwhile, not wanting to be a bother to the newlyweds, Mother McNutty poses as domestic help and is hired to help serve a fancy cocktail party in her own sons home, unbeknownst to him. When he finally realizes it’s his mother in the kitchen, by nights end, she manages to convince her son to keep a secret, and continues posing as the couples humble live-in housekeeper (good mom…sorta) so as not to disrupt their budding new marriage.
This movie is an easy watcher, and on a scale from 1-5 hearts, I give it ♥♥♥♥.½
Please grab yourself some microwave popcorn, a cold drink, and watch this winky movie in its entirety, right now!
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Paramount Pictures, 1951 .Starring Gene Tierney, John Lund, Thelma Ritter and Mirian Hopkins. Screenplay suggested by a play by Caesar Dunn, directed by Mitchell Leison