Reviewed by: Brett Willis
|Featuring:||Irene Dunne, Barbara Bel Geddes, Oskar Homolka, Philip Dorn, Cedric Hardwicke|
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.