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Alice Adams (1935)

The misadventures of two social-climbing women in small town America.

Director:

George Stevens

Writers:

Booth Tarkington (novel), Dorothy Yost (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Katharine Hepburn ... Alice Adams
Fred MacMurray ... Arthur Russell
Fred Stone ... Virgil Adams
Evelyn Venable ... Mildred Palmer
Frank Albertson ... Walter Adams
Ann Shoemaker ... Mrs. Adams
Charley Grapewin ... J. A. Lamb
Grady Sutton ... Frank Dowling
Hedda Hopper ... Mrs. Palmer
Jonathan Hale ... Mr. Palmer
Hattie McDaniel ... Malena (as Hattie McDaniels)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Walter Brennan ... (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

In the small town of South Renford, Alice Adams comes from a working class background, although she aspires to be among the upper class. Alice's mother blames her husband for their low social standing, despite his working hard and Alice not blaming him for anything. Regardless, Alice tries to do whatever necessary to put on appearances of wealth and social standing, despite everyone in that class in town knowing who she is, and thus largely ignoring her because of her false airs. First meeting at a society ball, Alice surprisingly catches the eye of Arthur Russell, surprisingly as he purportedly is engaged to débutante Mildred Palmer. As Alice continues to hide her true social standing from Arthur as he courts her, Mrs. Adams pressures Mr. Adams into doing something he doesn't want to do in an effort truly to become part of the business class, that measure which entails sinking all his money into a business venture. Beyond the time when Arthur finds out the true nature behind Alice's ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BOOTH TARKINGTON'S PULITZER PRIZE NOVEL (original herald-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 November 1935 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

Booth Tarkington's Alice Adams See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Mr. Adams is building his glue factory, he wishes he could have the old "butterine factory" in the background. Butterine was a product somewhere between butter and margarine that included up to 50% milk in its ingredients. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Alice walks with Arthur toward her house for the first time you can see a woman watering her shrubs and a letter carrier walk up, then back down her porch steps twice. The background scene repeats itself, letter carrier, woman setting down hose, etc. The letter carrier approaches Alice moments later where she then has to shamefully admit to Arthur that this is indeed her house that she is in front of. Obviously a rear projection scene that was duplicated. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Florist: Good afternoon.
Alice Adams: Yes, I'd like to buy a corsage, something nice to wear to the party.
Florist: Yes. Ooh, that's the - that's the Palmer party, I suppose.
See more »


Soundtracks

I CAN'T WALTZ ALONE
(1935) (uncredited)
(incorporated into score)
Music by Max Steiner
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Gee Whiz!
18 November 2005 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

I am NOT a fan of Katharine Hepburn....but I really like her in this film. I don't think she ever looked cuter and was more appealing. One often forgets the fresh face and beauty she had when she was young.

This film starts off wonderfully for 20 minutes, then bogs down a bit for an hour and then rallies brilliantly in the last 20 minutes. That last part is so good that made the film not only worthwhile to view but one to keep and watch every few years.

It bogs down when Hepburn starts her deceiving scheme and nervously yaks and yaks and yaks trying to impress her boyfriend (Fred MacMurray). The deceit involves her trying to hide her social status, something that must have meant a lot more back in the early '30s than it does today.

Critics comment about how the dinner scene is a "classic" and the highlight of the film, but I didn't think it was all that great, although Hattie McDaniel is funny. It's what happened afterward that made it a memorable film to me.

Although Hepburn and Fred MacMurray are the stars of this romance-comedy, Fred Stone almost steals the show. Playing Hepburn's dad in the film, he was both hilarious at times and very sad....and always interesting. He gives an unbelievably powerful speech to his boss near the end of this film.

Another plus for "Alice Adams" is the direction. This is early George Stevens, but just about any film that man directed is top-notch, including this one.

Without giving away what happens in the story, the film does present a nice message of forgiveness and reconciliation and sports one of the stronger feel-good endings I've ever seen on film. Hepburn's last words in the movie are "Gee Whiz!!" That bygone innocent reaction to MacMurray's comment that he loved her says a lot about how movies and times have changed.


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