Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Rudy Vallee, Loretta Young and Van Johnson
MOTHER IS A FRESHMAN (1949). Director: Lloyd Bacon.

Since her trust fund can't be accessed for several months, Abigail Fortitude Abbott (Loretta Young), a widow with a college-age daughter, has to figure out how to pay her bills. Most people would get a job, but instead Abigail decides to take advantage of a bizarre clause in her grandmother's will which allows anyone with her exact name to get a scholarship to her alma mater. So Abigail goes to classes at the same school as her daughter, Susan (Betty Lynn of Cheaper By the Dozen), but the two keep their relationship a secret. Wouldn't you know that both mother and daughter fall for the same handsome and charming Professor Michaels (Van Johnson)? Mother is a Freshman is highly-contrived but cute, with excellent performances, but it doesn't quite sustain the fun, although it's consistently pleasant. Barbara Lawrence [Kronos] plays another co-ed, and Rudy Vallee, once a singing idol, is again cast in middle-age as a stuffy unattractive-to-women type, in this case Abigail's lawyer, as he was in Unfaithfully Yours and other movies.

Verdict: Perky Loretta and dreamy Van make a good combo. **1/2.

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