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      The Catered Affair

      Released May 30, 1956 1h 33m Comedy Drama List
      17% Tomatometer 6 Reviews 71% Audience Score 250+ Ratings When Jane (Debbie Reynolds) tells her parents that she is getting married to Ralph Halloran (Rod Taylor), her mother, Agnes (Bette Davis), starts planning an elaborate wedding, even though Jane does not wish it. Another complication is that Jane's father, Tom (Ernest Borgnine), is a cabdriver and cannot afford an expensive catered wedding. As Agnes starts inviting more guests and the arrangements become more complicated, it creates tension with both her daughter and her husband. Read More Read Less

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      Critics Reviews

      View All (6) Critics Reviews
      Variety Staff Variety Overall, the performances are good and there are occasionally amusing and touching momemts in the otherwise talky, mostly drab, affair under Richard Brooks' direction. Apr 8, 2008 Full Review Bosley Crowther New York Times Richard Brooks directed in a sort of free-wheeling way that carries the action jumpily from poignancy to farce and from moments of frowsy frustration to scenes of vulgar squawling en famille. Mar 25, 2006 Full Review Dave Kehr Chicago Reader The tragedy got lost somewhere in Richard Brooks's crushingly blunt direction. Jan 1, 2000 Full Review TV Guide This eminently watchable misfire divides amateur and professional critics alike. Rated: 2.5/4 Apr 8, 2008 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Kitchen Sink Realism Paddy Chayefsky style and Bette Davis as a frumpy Bronx housewife sounds like contradiction in terms, and it is. Rated: C+ Mar 25, 2008 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews Plays like Marty but without the same winsome appeal. Rated: C Nov 26, 2007 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (28) audience reviews
      Steve D Sort of a non event but you really feel for these people. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 04/08/24 Full Review john e I really enjoyed this one, even though it was a sad journey into the drab and unfulfilled lives of the parents of a young woman about to enter into marriage. The acting is top notch and the story truly touching, but I couldn't help feel for some reason that despite how good she was, that Bette Davis was miscast. A solid B on this one from me! Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member I thoroughly enjoyed watching this ensemble movie. I found it engrossing, tender, compelling, sad and sweet. Every character played his/her part with sincerity, skill, artistry and dedication. I especially loved the happy ending. It couldn't have been more perfect. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/29/23 Full Review Audience Member I thought the performances were good. I think that its difficult to watch the family stress and delusional mother. Its what brings the film down . But it snaps back when the realization that the 'white satin book' is not what will bring love and happiness to the marriage. Its just plain love of family. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/23/23 Full Review Audience Member While it lacks the zing and verve of Davis classics like "All About Eve" it is a great performance by Davis in a middling film. Any Davis fan owes it to themselves to see it. Both Davis and Reynolds work against type and succeed, it's up to the audience to decide whether they're willing to let them. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/10/23 Full Review Audience Member This family drama is a quiet little movie, so if you're looking for a lot of action or a complicated plot, it's probably not for you. What it does offer is fantastic acting, a nuanced story, and a study in characters. Bette Davis plays a middle-aged housewife married to her cabbie husband (Ernest Borgnine). One morning, their daughter (Debbie Reynolds) casually announces to them that she intends to get married (to Rod Taylor), and that the two of them are going to have a simple legal ceremony with only immediate family present. In part because Davis didn't get a wedding herself and in part because she's disillusioned with her own marriage, she begins lobbying Reynolds to have a bigger wedding. I won't say anything more about the plot. There are some outstanding scenes with supporting actors in the movie, including one with the groom-to-be's parents at a dinner party (Robert Simon and Madge Kennedy), and others with the bride-to-be's elderly uncle, a confirmed bachelor, and a woman he sees socially (Barry Fitzgerald and Dorothy Stickney). In fact, Fitzgerald and Stickney were probably my favorite part of the movie, but it's hard to deny the excellent performances Davis, Borgnine, and Reynolds all deliver. Director Richard Brooks was brave in giving them the limelight in a "less is more" approach, and it paid off. It's hard to fathom some of the "professional" critics' negative reviews, and even though these things are always a bit subjective, I think if you like 'small' movies, you'll like this one. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/13/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis When Jane (Debbie Reynolds) tells her parents that she is getting married to Ralph Halloran (Rod Taylor), her mother, Agnes (Bette Davis), starts planning an elaborate wedding, even though Jane does not wish it. Another complication is that Jane's father, Tom (Ernest Borgnine), is a cabdriver and cannot afford an expensive catered wedding. As Agnes starts inviting more guests and the arrangements become more complicated, it creates tension with both her daughter and her husband.
      Director
      Richard Brooks
      Screenwriter
      Gore Vidal
      Distributor
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
      Production Co
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
      Genre
      Comedy, Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      May 30, 1956, Limited
      Release Date (Streaming)
      May 22, 2017
      Runtime
      1h 33m
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