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   THE CATERED AFFAIR (1956) 
CAST
Bette Davis
Ernest Borgnine
Debbie Reynolds
Barry Fitzgerald
Rod Taylor
Robert F. Simon
Madge Kennedy
Dorothy Stickney
Carol Veazie
Joan Camden

DIRECTED BY
Richard Brooks

PURCHASE


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Time: 92 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Drama


SYNOPSIS: A young couple is forced into having a big wedding party they don't want to please the bride's mother and groom's parents, but causes monetary strife and discension among the rest of their family members.

BOTTOM LINE: A top-notch cast takes on the joy, pain and expectations of a young couple as they make their way to the altar. Reynolds and Taylor play the happy, working-class couple who just wants to start their future, as quickly as possible and with no fanfare by eloping at their earliest convenience. Unfortunately, their small plans offend her mother who wants to give her daughter the start to marriage that she never had. Bitter and beaten-down by life, Davis's character's deep-seeded unhappiness is heartbreaking to watch. Like many women of her time, she didn't exactly marry for love and the thought that her daughter might end up in a passionless marriage like hers is almost too much to bear.

She knows they can't afford a reception, but, for once, she wants to do something without worrying about the cost, to have a lovely affair to remember. Her dreams of impressing her friends and family are quickly countered by her exhausted husband who can't believe she's willing to throw away their hard-earned life-savings on one meal, when they could better spend the money on improving their own lives. He's humiliated by his inability to provide more than the basics for his children, but unwilling to waste money simply to showoff for other people. Davis occasionally goes over the top, but you can hardly blame her. You'd be upset too if your life turned out like this. Borgnine's performance is equally as compelling. He's a simple, hard-working man, just trying to do his best and though his life isn't what he expected, he loves his family and is trying to make his wife happy.

AFFAIR's an intense family drama that's brilliantly acted and intelligently written, yet hard to enjoy. While it captures the honest emotions and struggles of daily life, for those of us who use movies to escape, it's not exactly a good time. It hits a little to close to home, though its' honesty does make you appreciate the joys of your own life, which hopefully is much happier than the ones depicted here.



"You're going to have a big wedding whether you like it or not! And if you don't like it, you don't have to come!"

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