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Alice Adams Reviews

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Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

January 19, 2013
Booth Tarkington's book about class distinctions came out in 1922. The George Stevens' movie in 1935. As I write its 2013. That's a lot of water under the bridge, as they say. Kate Hepburn's character, a young woman desperate to bridge the class gulf society has set for her, willing to do all in her power to cross that divide ... I found shallow and despicable. She lies, she puts her family through hell, all to "get" oblivious MacMurray (as the objet d'desire), who never seems to question her endless machinations. The dinner scene, the height of tension in the film, where everything goes wrong, is still the best thing about the work. Maybe they should remake it ... ?

Super Reviewer

October 22, 2010
A nice little slice of life drama of a poor girl who dreams her family is wealthy and important. Of course, the ending is predictable as most romantic movies are, but it's still an enjoyable drama.

Super Reviewer

April 4, 2007
the definition of a gentle film
John B

Super Reviewer

July 4, 2007
Although Katherine Hepburn is noted for her later films with Spender Tracy, I actually like her performances in the 30s better. This film and the original version of Little Women are some of the best performances that Katherine ever gave.
April 12, 2011
Cute and fun romance. Katherine Hepburn was at her best, this film showed me her appeal as she stole the show. Her family also had great characters that made the embarassment of her introducing her beau truly painful. I of course will always love Fred MacMurray after all his great Disney roles, it was great to see him next to Hepburn.
July 22, 2010
This was a lot more interesting than I expected it to be. I wasn't ever sure whether it was going to turn out to be a sad movie (a desperate drama kind of thing) or something more upbeat. I like Katharine Hepburn, and here she was a fascinating character, a lot of fun. She reminded me of an Anne of Green Gables kind of character. It was enjoyable, but a guilty pleasure movie. I'm not going to argue that it was brilliant or really well-written, but, like most decent romantic comedies, I liked the characters and wanted them to do well, and it was emotionally satisfying when it ended nicely.
October 11, 2007
Supid girls can be very annoying, but I was suprised at how much empathy I felt for her, and especially her father. Good people just trying to make their way in the world. Katie Hepburn is fantastic, of couse, I think one of the most engaging screen actors ever.
November 15, 2013
"young people should leave there troubles to the old ones, and concentrate on good times", how can i not like this movie ha! This film really shows how our culture has changed. Katharine hepburn is a fine actress but not very attractive to me, and certainly not when compared with her daughter. A feel good film where you root for poor (literally and figuratively) Alice.
December 14, 2012
I expected more from the great Hepburn, but she did manage to broke my heart at some times...
July 14, 2012
Romantic and charming, this slightly cheesy period piece suffers only from its time discrepancy. Artistic and superbly acted, this TCM Essential is perfect for the old movie lover, the viewer intrigued by the classics, and the Katherine Hepburn fan alike.
Duong L.
May 20, 2012
8,5/10 Good. Very good performance by Katherine Hepburn, touching story
March 29, 2012
aside from a charming performance from katharine hepburn, there isn't much to write home about. "alice adams" has some enjoyable scenes, but overall it's quite forgettable.
February 23, 2011
Such a silly story but so much fun. Hepburn shows the beginning of her amazing talent here. Rest of the cast is great too. Am I the only one who thinks that Kristen Stewart looks a lot like a young Katherine Hepburn? Maybe its just me.
July 22, 2010
Deeply Uncomfortable, As It Should Be

In many ways, Alice may well be the most pathetic character Katharine Hepburn ever played. This is, however, not entirely surprising. Hepburn made a career of playing strong, forceful women, and Alice isn't either. She's pushy, but that's not quite the same. For one thing, Alice isn't driven by self-assurance. Alice is driven by the exact opposite. She moves too much and speaks too loudly, and it's hard to tell if she knows it or not. Everyone else does, but she's so caught up in who she is, who she wants to be, and who people think she is that she doesn't really have time to focus on any of them. What she is doing is attempting to project who she thinks people want her to be, and there's something pretty desperate and sad about that. Especially because she doesn't entirely know what the people she emulates want her to be like.

Alice lives in stereotypical Small Town America from about a hundred years ago. She is middle class with aspirations. Her father, Virgil (Fred Stone), is a clerk and has been for twenty years. Her mother (Ann Shoemaker), who never gets a first name, is a horrible, horrible snob, and she wants Virgil to leave his good-paying job, where he's being paid even though he's out on ill-defined sick leave, and get a better job doing no one seems to be sure what. Meanwhile, Alice is fluttering away at a high-class party where no one will talk to her and none of the men are interested in her. She does, however, catch the eye of Arthur Russell (Fred MacMurray), who shows interest in finding out what's under the birdlike exterior. She knows that he's rich, and she knows that he's high-class, and she fears that he won't like her if he doesn't think she is, too. So she puts on a ludicrous false face in order to win his affections, which she already has anyway.

It is not at all difficult to see where Alice gets her attitude. Much of what her mother says in the first ten or fifteen minutes of the movie is heart-stoppingly snobbish. She is about the most horrible woman to her husband, whether he realizes it or not. She blames him for all of the family's problems. It's his fault Alice can't have nice dresses and be like the Rich Girls. She has to wear a dress from two years ago! And okay, Walter (Frank Albertson), their son, isn't the best. When Alice is at her fancy party, to which she's dragged him, he's in a closet, playing craps. He knows he isn't happy there, which is good, but he doesn't even have his father's standards. He's not really interested in hard work. On the other hand, Alice has basically been programmed to belief that life is going to work out better for her and she'll be a part of that upper class someday, and they'll have to take her seriously then!

And meanwhile, all through this, Fred MacMurray is kind of being genial and dreamy. It is, as I think I've mentioned before, kind of hard for me to take him seriously as a romantic lead, as I was well into adulthood before I saw him in anything not actually from the fine people at Walt Disney Studios. As in, I saw [i]Double Indemnity[/i] for the first time a few years ago. (There may have been something before then, but if there is, I couldn't tell you what.) Of course, Alice wouldn't have the Absent-Minded Professor on a dare, and Lem Siddons would be too busy with his Boy Scouts to haul any girls around to dances. It's also interesting to note how different that disastrous dinner party would have been in a Disney movie. While it would be played for laughs either way, here, you are mostly watching the death of Alice's pretensions, and whether that's good or bad is almost a matter of debate. It isn't wacky. It just kind of hurts.

In a way, that's a good summary of the movie as a whole. Alice, after all, is not from a poor family. She's not from a vulgar family. In fact, it's only when she tries too hard that the vulgarity arises. She tries to put together a fancy dinner party, but they aren't equipped for it or used to the food. Her mother makes "caviar sandwiches" to surprise her. They've hired Malena Burns (poor Hattie McDaniel), a woman who hires out for a night or two, but they've never had a servant before and don't know how you deal with having one. One rather feels that, had Alice been more natural, the dinner would have gone better. After all, she made her poor father wear full evening clothes, and Arthur is wearing just an ordinary suit. Really, being herself would have been the way to go. However, her mother pressed into her for years that who they were wasn't good enough for the people they knew. Therefore, if she wanted to have a Worthy Man, he must be a rich man, and if she wanted to be herself worthy of a Worthy Man, she must seem higher class than she is. She is never comfortable in her own home and her own skin, and it is her tragedy.
June 11, 2009
Alice Adams is the story of a wannabe socialite who goes to all lengths to make sure her new love interest, a high society favourite, doesnt discover her real life. Hepburn's charisma and charm adds the characters neediness and endearing nature to create the perfect performance. Having not read the novel its hard to know if the script stays true to the novel, but what I can say is that the comedy and humour that the screenwriter has put into the screenplay is undeniably genius and makes the film. Great movie all round with a standout tour de force performance from Hepburn.
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