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Sunday Dinner for a Soldier

(1944 b 86')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A poor family arranges a special dinner, and by chance a soldier is found to attend.

Tessa Osborne (Anne Baxter) sends her younger brother Michael (Billy Cummings) with her grandfather Osborne (Charles Winninger) to town to sell their crabs and do the shopping. While "Grandfeathers" is in the post office, Michael gets into a fight, and some kids steal the crabs from the basket. Grandfeathers arranges with Helen Dobson (Jane Darwell) to have a soldier for dinner, and he gives the basket to Agatha Butterfield (Anne Revere). When she finds no crabs in it, she destroys the request for the dinner. Grandfeathers brings back a dress for Tessa. Agatha gives Michael a ride home. He made money working and gives it to Tessa. Kenneth Normand (Robert Bailey) finds Tessa dancing alone and asks her to marry, offering to end their poverty; but Tessa is not ready to let him kiss her. Little Mary Osborne (Connie Marshall) gets in bed with Tessa and talks about the death of their parents.

Michael pulls down the clothes-line, and the dog rips open a pillow. They work to prepare for the dinner. Grandfeathers advises Tessa to marry Kenneth. Helen and the bus driver Mr. York (Chill Wills) cannot find a soldier; but Sgt. Eric Moore (John Hodiak) shows up, and the kids bring him home for dinner. Eric goes fishing with Michael. They have fried chicken for dinner. Mary misses her pet hen and cries even though Grandfeathers says he used other chickens. Agatha brings their hen and ice cream. Eric helps Tessa wash the dishes, and they talk about their lives. They all sing around a campfire. Grandfeathers suggests that Eric and Tessa get more wood, and Eric asks Tessa to dance. Tessa says they are poor, but Eric says they have real wealth that no one can destroy. Tessa says that she will write to Eric. Mr. York drives them all into town, and a group photo is taken. Military Police round up all soldiers on furlough, and Eric says goodbye. Tessa kisses him passionately, and Eric says he will have the pilot dip his wing. Eric turns in his allotment papers for his new family. His plane takes off, and the family sees the wing dip. Tessa hopes that Eric will come back.

Aside from its patriotic message, this charming story reveals how people can be happy even though they have little money.

Copyright © 2005 by Sanderson Beck

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