- I Remember Mama
:"This article is about the 1944 play and subsequent 1948 feature film. For the musical adaptation, see I Remember Mama."
"I Remember Mama" is a play by
John Van Druten. Based on the memoir"Mama's Bank Account" by Kathryn Forbes, it focuses on a loving family of Norwegian immigrants living on Steiner Street in San Francisco in the 1910s.
Richard Rodgersand Oscar Hammerstein II, the Broadway production opened on October 19, 1944at the Music Box Theatreand ran for 713 performances.
The cast included
Mady Christians, Oscar Homolka, Joan Tetzel, and Marlon Brando, making his Broadway debut.
name = I Remember Mama
image_size = 150px
caption = DVD Cover with original film poster
John Van Druten"(play)" Kathryn Forbes"(novel Mama's Bank Account)" DeWitt Bodeen"(screenplay)"
Irene Dunne Barbara Bel Geddes Oskar Homolka Ellen Corby
RKO Radio Pictures"(theatre)" Warner Home Video"(DVD)"
March 9, 1948
runtime = 134 mins
language = English
imdb_id = 0040458The play was adapted for a 1948
feature filmwritten by DeWitt Bodeenand directed by George Stevens.
The film begins with eldest daughter Katrin completing the last lines of her autobiographical
novel. As she reminisces about her family life, we flashbackto 1910, where the first of a series of vignettes finds Marta Hanson preparing the weekly budget with assistance from her husband Lars, daughters Katrin, Christine and Dagmar, and son Nels, who announces his desire to attend high school. Each family member offers to make a financial sacrifice to contribute to the boy's education.
Soon after, Marta's sister Trina arrives, announces she is marrying undertaker Peter Thorkelson, and implores Marta to break the news to their sisters Sigrid and Jenny. As Trina feared, the two laugh upon hearing the news, but when Marta threatens to reveal embarrassing anecdotes about them, the women agree to accept their sister's decision.
When Jonathan Hyde, the Hansons' educated but impoverished lodger, reads "
A Tale of Two Cities" aloud for the family, all of them, especially aspiring writer Katrin, are deeply moved by the story. Later, the family is visited by Marta's gruff and domineering but soft-hearted Uncle Chris and his common law wifeJessie Brown. When Chris discovers youngest daughter Dagmar is severely ill with mastoiditis, he insists on taking her to the hospital. Because they disapprove of Jessie, Sigrid and Jenny attempt to stop him, but he bullies his way past them with Dagmar and her mother following behind.
Dagmar's operation is a success, but her mother Marta is prohibited from seeing her by the hospital staff. At home, she becomes increasingly distressed about the separation from her child, whom she promised she would see as soon as she awakened, and she returns to the hospital where, disguised as a member of the housekeeping staff, she sneaks into Dagmar's ward and sings a Norwegian lullaby to her.
When a recovered Dagmar returns home, she learns her cat, Uncle Elizabeth, is very ill. Despite Dagmar's belief in her mother's powers, Marta feels helpless to save the wounded cat and sends Nels to buy some
chloroformso she can put it to sleep. The following morning she is astonished when Dagmar walks in with a sleepy but very alive and apparently cured cat.
Mr. Hyde moves out, leaving a check for his long overdue rent and his entire collection of classic books. The family's joy at their financial windfall vanishes when they discover their lodger had no bank account and the check has no value. Sigrid and Jenny are furious about the man's deceit, but Marta declares his valuable gift of literature is payment enough.
Katrin brags to Christine that their mother is going to buy her the dresser set she has long admired as a graduation present. Her sister tells her Marta is planning to give her their grandmother's brooch as a gift, so Katrin is surprised when she receives the desired dresser set instead. As she is about to leave to perform in the school's production of "
The Merchant of Venice", Katrin is informed that her mother traded with the storekeeper her beloved heirloomfor the gift Katrin wanted. Distraught by the news, the girl performs badly in the play, and later presents her mother with the brooch after trading back the dresser set.
Marta learns Uncle Chris is near death, and she takes Katrin to say goodbye to him at his ranch. He reveals he has no money to leave his niece because he had long been donating most of his income to help poor lame children, and confesses he and Jessie married years ago but kept their union a secret because of Sigrid and Jenny's attitude towards her. After enjoying a final drink with his niece and his wife, Uncle Chris dies.
Katrin is dejected when she receives her first literary rejection letter. Determined to bolster her confidence, Marta takes some of her stories to famed author and
gourmandFlorence Dana Moorhead and convinces her to read them in exchange for her prized meatball recipe. Marta returns home and advises her daughter that Moorhead feels the girl has talent and should write about what she knows best. Marta urges Katrin to write a story about Papa. When the girl's story is accepted for publication, she is overjoyed to be paid $500. After announcing some of the money will go towards the purchase of the winter coat Marta always has wanted, Katrin confesses her story is not about her father but is titled "Mama and the Hospital". She begins to read it to her family, and its introduction concludes with the line, "But first and foremost, I remember Mama."
George Stevens originally offered the role of Mama to
Greta Garbo, who balked at playing a motherly type. He then cast Irene Dunne, whom he had directed in " Penny Serenade" in 1941. Although she was 50-years-old, the actress had a youthful appearance and had to be aged with makeup to portray the family matriarchconvincingly [ [http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/title.jsp?stid=2237&atid=25582&category=Articles&titleName=I%20Remember%20Mama&menuName=MAIN "I Remember Mama" at Turner Classic Movies] ] .Some scenes filmed on Rhode Island Street, San Francisco, California.The film premiered as the Easterattraction at Radio City Music Hallin New York City.
Irene Dunne..... Marta Hanson
Barbara Bel Geddes..... Katrin
Oskar Homolka..... Uncle Chris
Steve Brown..... Nils Hanson
Philip Dorn..... Lars Hanson
Cedric Hardwicke..... Mr. Hyde
Ellen Corby..... Trina
Edgar Bergen..... Peter Thorkelson
Florence Bates..... Florence Dana Moorhead
Barbara O'Neil..... Jessie Brown
Rudy Vallee..... Dr. Johnson
Tommy Ivo..... Cousin Arne
In his review in the "
New York Times", Bosley Crowthersaid the film "should prove irresistible" and added, "Irene Dunne does a beautiful job . . . handling with equal facility an accent and a troubled look, [she] has the strength and vitality, yet the softness, that the role requires." [ [http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9C06E3D9173FE23BBC4A52DFB5668383659EDE "New York Times" review] ]
TV Guide" calls it "a delicate charmer, sometimes precious, but nonetheless fine" and "meticulously directed." [ [http://www.tvguide.com/movies/remember-mama/review/101766 "TV Guide" review] ]
Time Out London" describes it as "a charmer . . . directed and acted with real delicacy." [ [http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/76178/i-remember-mama.html "Time Out London" review] ] Channel 4calls it a "warm-hearted film" and adds, "Stevens directs without fuss or undue sentimentality and keeps the inevitable talkativeness at bay." [ [http://www.channel4.com/film/reviews/film.jsp?id=104470 Channel 4 review] ]
The film was named one of the year's Ten Best by "
Awards and nominations
The film was nominated for
Academy Awardsfor Best Actress in a Leading Role (Dunne), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Homolka), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Bel Geddes and Corby), and Best Cinematography, Black-and-White ( Nicholas Musuraca).
Corby won the
Golden Globe Awardfor Best Supporting Actress.
DeWitt Bodeen was nominated for three
Writers Guild of America Awards, for Best Written American Comedy, Best Written American Drama, and the Robert Meltzer Award for the Screenplay Dealing Most Ably with Problems of the American Scene.
"Mama", a CBS
television seriesstarring Peggy Wood, ran from 1949 until 1957.
*ibdb title|1586|I Remember Mama
*imdb title|0040458|I Remember Mama
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