- White Banners
name = White Banners
Henry Blanke Hal B. Wallis
Lenore J. Coffee Abem Finkel Cameron Rogers
Claude Rains Fay Bainter Jackie Cooper Bonita Granville Henry O'Neill Kay Johnson
editing = Thomas Richards
distributor = Warner Bros. Studios
June 22, 1938
runtime = 92 minutes
country = USA
language = English
imdb_id = 0030973
Edmund Gouldingand produced by Henry Blankeand Hal B. Wallis, the screenplaywas adapted by Lenore J. Coffee, Abem Finkeland Cameron Rogersbased on the 1936 novelof the same title by Lloyd C. Douglas.
The movie, Fay Bainter and others of the cast received very good reviews in the "
Los Angeles Times". ["Los Angeles Times", May 24, 1938, "Banners Fly for Actress," p. 9.] ["Los Angeles Times", Jul. 1, 1938, "White Banners Conveys Serene Spiritual Theme," p. 15.] Bainter was nominated for the Academy Awardfor Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performanceas Hannah Parmalee.
"White Banners" is set in a small town in
Indiana, in 1919. On a dreary, cold and snowy day a peddlernamed Hannah Parmalee (played by Bainter) appears at the door of a kind couple, Paul Ward (played by Rains) and his wife, Marcia (played by Johnson), selling apple peelers. Asked by Mrs. Ward to come inside and warm up, Hannah sees they are struggling financially and are in need of some domestic help. She offers her services and becomes their cook and housekeeper for room and board.
Mr. Ward, a
scienceteacher by day, is an inventorby night attempting to create something that will provide sufficient money for Marcia, their teenaged daughter Sally (played by Granville) and their new baby, to have some luxuries in life. Hannah, who is extremely wise and helpful, comes up with some good ideas. She persuades Ward to sell old and useless furniture to raise money and make a place for his work in the basement.
Their teenaged neighbor, Peter Trimble (played by Cooper), who is one of Ward's students at the school where he teaches, is the son of the richest man in town, Sam Trimble (played by O'Neill). Hannah is very pleased to know Peter and to be a part of his life. In her devotion to him, however, she is never able to indulge the motherly instinct she feels, except in an indirect way. He is very good at science and, after Hannah suggests that he set a good example for the boy, Ward asks young Trimble to become his assistant. Sally gets a crush on Peter and becomes his love interest.
invention, an " iceless icebox," is unintentionally revealed by Peter to some local mechanics, Joe Ellis (played by William Pawley) and his brother Bill (played by Edward Pawley). When the Ellis brother's steal it and have it patented, Peter feels so bad about what he did that he lies when Ward asks him about it. In the meantime, Sally becomes ill with pneumonia.
Hannah persuades Ward that it is best to "turn the other cheek" and to give young Peter another chance. Ward then develops a new and better feature for his invention, which is on its way to becoming a great electric
refrigeratorfor homes. Sally recovers and she and her mother, Marcia, leave on a trip with the baby.
Another crisis arises, however, when Thomas Bradford (played by James Stephenson), a
wealthy businessman from Chicago, arrives to discuss financing of Ward's invention. Hannah reveals to Ward that Peter Trimble is her son who she was forced to give up all those years ago because he was born out of wedlock. Sam Trimble adopted him after his own baby died, but Bradford is the boy's real father.
When Bradford finds out that Peter is his son he wants to claim him. Hannah, however, persuades him to leave him where he is and he does not reveal the truth to Peter.
The movie ends as Hannah, satisfied with the kind of young man her son has become, and that he is on the right path in life, leaves with Peter believing that his adoptive parents are his biological parents. She walks off into the wintry landscape just as she drifted into the Ward's household at the beginning.
Claude Rainsas Paul Ward
Fay Bainteras Hannah Parmalee
Jackie Cooperas Peter Trimble
Bonita Granvilleas Sally Ward
Henry O'Neillas Sam Trimble
Kay Johnsonas Mrs. Marcia Ward
James Stephensonas Thomas Bradford
J. Farrell MacDonaldas Dr. Thompson
William Pawleyas Joe Ellis
Edward Pawleyas Bill Ellis
John Ridgelyas Charles Ellis
Mary Fieldas Hester, Trimble's secretary
Edward McWadeas Sloan, the furniture dealer
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0030973/ "White Banners"] at the
Internet Movie Database
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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