Guess Who Mrs. Delafield Brought Home to Dinner and Wants to
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 08/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry" was the first of a series of made for television movies that Katharine Hepburn made at the end of her acting career when she was in her 80s. Hepburn had won her fourth Oscar for "On Golden Pond" in 1981 and then did nothing for three years until she made "The Ultimate Solution of Grace Quigley" in 1984. Then in 1986 she made this particular movie for the small screen in which Hepburn plays Margaret Delafield, a wealthy widow from Ashmore who is brought back from death's door by Dr. Marvin Elias (Harold Gould). Her gratitude turns into love and the good doctor responds in kind. The problem is that her children absolutely put their collective feet down to their mother marrying Elias, and they object as much to him being an outsider as they do to him being Jewish. His children are equally outraged, not just because Margaret is a Christian but also because she is from a different clash. Basically, you have the two sets of children trying to out do the others in terms of which is being more prejudiced (I vote for his children, since they want to blame Margaret for the Holocaust and since WASP protecting their family money is so stereotypical with regards to anybody marrying into their money that it is old hat).
It is hard for a fan of Hepburn's to watch this movie and not think of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?", since both have to do with a marriage and the question of prejudice. I assume that topic is one of the reasons that Hepburn was persuaded to do this script. The supporting cast consists of Bibi Besch, Denholm Elliot, Brenda Forbes, Charles Frank, Suzanne Lederer and John Pleshette, but they all have the thankless task of being bigots pretty much from start to finish. However, they do their jobs so well, especially Besch, that you would not be surprised if they succeeded in keeping Margaret and Marvin apart. There is a noticeable age difference between Hepburn and Gould that is slightly problematic; the film suggests it is on the order of five years but you can tack on another decade in the real world. But when Hepburn talks about how Gould's character has reawakened the 14-year-old girl buried deep inside her, you buy her feelings for him. When he take a photograph of her saying he takes shots of all of his patients that he saves, she asks, "Don't you save all of your patients?" "No," he assures her with a gleam in his eye, "I'm very selective." So you have to root for him. Besides, Harold Gould is one of the most beloved character actors of our time, from playing Rhoda's father to the grandpa in the "Freaky Friday" remake, so seeing him doing kissing scenes with Katharine Hepburn is a treat.
But questions of age are not even secondary given the religious and class distinctions that threaten the happiness of Mrs. Delafield and Dr. Elias. There is something to be said for Margaret's rejoinder to the question of "religious differences," even though the simplicity of that position will probably be considered offensive by some. For that matter, her solution to the concern of her children for the family money is eminently practical and rather obvious as well. Then again, it is not like bigots are the most rational people on the face of the earth. If there is a fault with this television movie it is that the come back to the onslaught of prejudice seems less in comparison, but that is because it is. The bigotry here is laid on so thick that you feel sorry for these characters that they do not hear the filth that comes spewing out of their mouths. The happy note on which it ends does try to make the best of the situation, and while it might not work in the real world, the sentiments it represents are certainly to be appreciated.
All things considered I think "Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry" is the best of these latter television movies by Hepburn. She followed this effort with "Laura Lansing Slept Here" in 1988, which was also written by James Prideaux, who would do "The Man Upstairs" for Hepburn as well in 1992. All three of these movies were directed by George Schaefer, so Hepburn must have had a high degree of comfort with the pair to keep working with them at this point in her life. In 1994 Hepburn ended her distinguished acting career by doing "This Can't Be Love" with Anthony Quinn and "One Christmas" with Henry Winkler, which her last theatrical film, "Love Affair," done in between. That is the one I remember best because of the way she upstaged not only Warren Beatty but a luminous Annette Benning. Besides, with the release of "Mrs. Delafield" and "Laura Lansing" on DVD this month, I now have everything Katharine Hepburn did on either video or DVD."
Good for a rainy day
Po | 11/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love all things Katherine. I saw this movie on television when it first came out and loved it. Since then I have periodically looked for it on tape or dvd. To my delight this year I found it. This movie will not disappoint fans. Yes it is predictable (it was a made for TV movie)but the (fairy) story line is delightful. Ms. Hepburn is believable as a wealthy blue blood and Harold Gould is great as the Jewish doctor. The rest of the cast is perfect. Buy it! You'll like it."
Katherine Hepburn Rules!!!!!!!!!!
viewer | US | 06/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The wonderful Katherine Hepburn rules in this heartwarming romance for the elders.It's a must see!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
A must see for fans of Miss Kate!
Danielle | Santa Fe, NM USA | 02/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A sweet, sweet movie made originally for TV. Tells the story of a wealthy Protestant widow from the Connecticut upper class who falls in love with her Jewish doctor. Families on both sides create multitudinous problems for them, between the perceived religious and class differences. Will love win out in the end? You probably know the answer already, but the journey is worth watching in every way. Buy it. You'll love it!"