Movie Mirrors Index

The Mating Season

(1951 b 101')

En: 6 Ed: 6

A mother moves in with her son and his bride as a cook in order to help their marriage work despite obstacles.

         Ellen McNulty (Thelma Ritter) can’t pay the bank and leaves them her hamburger stand. George Kalenger Jr. (James Lorimer) is drunk and sends Val McNulty (John Lund) from work to rescue Maggie Carleton (Gene Tierney) from a car on a cliff.

         On the phone Fran Carleton (Miriam Hopkins) advises her daughter Maggie not to marry Val. Ellen hitch-hikes and pretends for Val that she came on a bus. He tells her about his wedding and asks her to buy good clothes. Val and Maggie go on their honeymoon.

         Ellen got a job so she can buy clothes. Val gets another advance at work, and Junior and his father George Kalenger (Larry Keating) learn of Val’s party. Maggie has trouble in the kitchen, and Ellen arrives. Maggie hires her to cook. Val brings the liquor, and Ellen makes drinks. People arrive, including Val’s previous girlfriend Betsy (Jan Sterling). Junior asks Maggie to sing their song, but she sings to Val. Junior consoles Betsy that the marriage won’t last. Ellen overhears. Val sees Ellen in the kitchen, and George drives Ellen home. Val follows to pay her, and he wants Ellen to live with them; but Ellen refuses.

         Maggie accepts Ellen, who moves in as the cook. Ellen tells Val not to reveal she is his mother. Maggie’s mother Fran arrives on a plane. She gives orders, and Val agrees to sleep on the couch.

         Junior tells Val to work late. Val calls Maggie, who says she loaned Ellen to George. Ellen treats George’s cold. Mrs. Williamson (Cora Witherspoon) tells Maggie how they pick their executives. Junior cozies up to Maggie, and Mrs. Williamson warns her. Maggie quarrels with Mrs. Williamson and walks out. Val calls Mrs. Williamson and orders Maggie to apologize. Maggie tells her she enjoys being pawed by Junior, and Val gets angry. Fran gives Maggie a sleeping pill and realizes she has gained seven pounds. Ellen consoles Val and asks for $300 for a hamburger stand. Fran overhears them kissing.

The next day Val takes Maggie into a closet and kisses her. Ellen takes the day off. Fran tells Maggie that Val was kissing Ellen, and Maggie tells Fran to leave. Two employees come to the door and tell Maggie they are looking for Ellen McNulty. Maggie goes to see Val at work. She complains he did not trust her and plans to leave him. Ellen tells George that Val is her son. Fran and Maggie pack. George comes in and takes Maggie out for a drink to his club to see Val, who goes to get Ellen and introduces her to Mrs. Williamson so that Maggie will see he is not a snob. Maggie asks Val to take her home. Ellen tells Fran they are leaving Val and Maggie alone. Junior disapproves of Ellen, but George goes after her.

         This comedy contrasts authentic love with phony social status as the one who seems to be in the lowest position proves to be the most valuable.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index