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Movie Review

I Remember Mama

Reviewed by: Brett Willis

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
All Ages
2 hr. 14 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Cover Graphic from “I Remember Mama”
Featuring: Irene Dunne, Barbara Bel Geddes, Oskar Homolka, Philip Dorn, Cedric Hardwicke
Director: George Stevens
Producer: _____
Distributor: _____

This heart-warming story about the struggles of a family of Scandinavian immigrants in early 20th-century America stars Irene Dunne (“Show Boat”) as “Mama” Hansen and Barbara Bel Geddes (TV’s “Dallas”) as teenage daughter Katrin, who also narrates the film.

Mama, Papa and the extended family are all strong influences as the Hansens face conflict, sickness and “hard times.” Great-uncle Chris (Oscar Homolka) provides comic relief as an old softie who pretends to be gruff. The supporting cast includes Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Edgar Bergen and Rudy Vallee.

I consider this film OK for all ages. Life 100 years ago certainly wasn’t easier than now, but in many respects it was simpler. The least family-friendly content is a reference to uncle Chris living with a woman without marriage; but it turns out that they really are married (the eccentric Chris had let some of his tongue-wagging nieces believe he wasn’t married, just to annoy them).

I don’t want to give away any other plot details; it’s best to see this film without knowing what’s coming. There’ll be something for everyone and every family to identify with. This is one that’s definitely worth watching.

Viewer Comments
This film is a stunner. It is not melodramatic or overtly sentimental; it touches the emotions through excellent portrayals and well paced scenes which actually transport you to delicious revelations of the best of human nature. I Remember Mama is about how one person because of strength of character and selflessness can in many small ways cause Christs’ kingdom to become manifest on Earth. This is one of those grand old black and whites where the lighting makes statements; where the camera stays on the backs of the frozen figures for as long as it takes them to realize that the uncle has passed away, and then travels through the wall to see what the rest of the family gathered on the front porch is discussing. Powerfully acted, no swelling music, and all very gripping. Very positive; this film might just make you like other people, you betcha! My Ratings: [Excellent / 5]
Dan Lacey, age 40
This movie is a tear-jerker, but a good one. If you liked Little Women you will like this movie. My Ratings: [Excellent / 4]
P.K., age 24