Movie Mirrors Index

Daughters Courageous

(1939 b 107')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Suggested by a play by Dorothy Bennett and Irving White, a father returns to his family after twenty years as his ex-wife and daughters are about to marry.

At the beach Tinka Masters (Rosemary Lane) saves lifeguard Eddie Moore (Dick Foran). Johnny Heming (Jeffrey Lynn) tells Buff Masters (Priscilla Lane) that he loves her, trying out lines from his play. Nan Masters (Fay Bainter) asks her four daughters about marrying Sam Sloane (Donald Crisp), and they agree. Housekeeper Penny (May Robson) approves too. Manuel Lopez asks Nan to help his son Gabriel Lopez (John Garfield) before Judge Henry Hornsby (Berton Churchill), who accuses Gabriel of fraud but lets him go. Buff stays to talk with Gabriel and buys him a beer, paying his bill and lost bet. The sisters shave Sam. Jim Masters (Claude Rains) returns after twenty years. The women dote on Sam and ignore Jim. Athletic Eddie and frugal George (Frank McHugh) come in to see Tinka and Linda Masters (Lola Lane). Johnny arrives and greets Jim as an interesting character. Nan offers Jim the couch and goes out with Sam. Gabriel finds Jim alone. At the dance the four daughters discuss their father and agree to freeze him out. Jim tells Gabriel stories of his travels. Gabriel believes the world is full of hate. Gabriel goes to the dance for a beer, and Buff leaves with him. Jim gets his daughters to bring him blankets.

Jim coaches Cora Masters (Gale Page) on her acting. Gabriel takes Buff on his father's fishing boat. Jim says that Buff went shopping in Salinas to stop the worrying. Gabriel kisses Buff but doubts they will get together. Buff finds Jim home alone, and they talk about Gabriel. Buff also tells Jim about the "popular front" against him. Jim brings roses and cake for Nan's birthday but has Sam and the girls present them to her. Buff tells her mother that Gabriel is working at the cannery. Jim tells Nan that he is repenting. The girls shave Jim. They all attend Johnny's play and praise Cora. Sam tells Cora she is going to dramatic school, and he offers George a job so he can marry Linda.

Sam asks Jim to go away. Nan and Sam ask Buff not to go with Gabriel, but Jim approves. Gabriel tells Buff that he'll probably go away; but they tell Jim they are eloping. Jim tells Nan he wants to stay, because he loves his family. Nan says the daughters would lose benefits from Sam unless Jim goes. Jim tells Gabriel he is leaving town and asks him not to marry Buff. Gabriel protests he has changed because of Buff. Eddie figures out that Tinka cares more for him than Cora. Jim says good-bye to Penny, leaving a note for Nan. Johnny finds Buff waiting for Gabriel, who sent Johhny to her. Buff cries because she lost Gabriel and goes to Nan's wedding. Nan says that Buff will recover better now than later. Gabriel joins Jim at the train station. Sam and Nan are wed, and they all hear the train whistle.

This drama contrasts the normal lives of the mother and daughters and their more common-place mates to the irresponsible wanderlust of Jim and Gabriel. Neither extreme of a boring life or an irresponsible one is very appealing, and one naturally hopes that Buff and Cora could find the best of both instead of the worst.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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