Sunday, May 14, 2017

Ten Favorite Classic Movie Mothers

For this Mother's Day we felt a tribute to some of those wonderful on-screen movie mothers was in order. They are such a joy to watch and their warmth and tenderness seem to reach out to the audience, making you appreciate and, hopefully, aspire to be like these women. Below we have gathered together just a few of our favorite movie mothers, listed in no particular order......Enjoy! 

Diana's Favorites : 

Little Women ( 1949 ) - Mary Astor

I consider Mary Astor's role of Mrs. March one of my favorites. Mrs. March raised four lovely daughters, volunteered her time with the Red Cross during the Civil War, and she was a beacon of strength in their home while her husband was away at war. She was content with her life and she never asked more from her children than what they could give.
National Velvet ( 1944 ) - Anne Revere

Anne Revere exhibited many fine qualities as Mrs. Brown in this 1944 classic. She was hardworking, sensible, and supportive. She believed in her children's dreams and she would quietly make any sacrifice necessary to help them achieve those dreams. 
The Andy Hardy Series - Fay Holden

I believe Emily Hardy was a wonderful wife and mother in the Hardy family film series. She was kind, caring, decent, and understanding. She was concerned about her children's welfare and her husband James could always turn to her for sound advice if he needed a second opinion with regards to one of his court cases.
How Green Was My Valley ( 1941 ) - Sara Allgood

Watching Sara Allgood in How Green Was My Valley reminds me so much of our late Oma, so that's a big reason why I love to see Sara as Mrs. Morgan in this beloved story. Mrs. Morgan raised six sons ( our Oma had three ); she kept a clean home; was a great cook who had to make enough food to feed her hungry family; and she supported her family no matter what choice they felt they had to make. She looks warm and cuddly and I would love to give her a great big bear hug!

Please Don't Eat the Daisies ( 1960 )

Spring Byington's cheery disposition and sensible nature made her an ideal mother to Doris Day in Please Don't Eat the Daisies. She kept herself busy as the owner of a cute little pet shop; offered to babysit her grandsons when her daughter Doris needed some free time from the kids; and she was able to give Doris and her son-in-law David Niven wise counsel when their marriage took a bumpy turn in the film. I love Spring and she was a breath of spring, herself, as Mrs. Robinson. 

Constance's Favorites : 

The Parent Trap ( 1961 ) - Maureen O'Hara

Maureen O'Hara made such a good on-screen mother. She was not only beautiful but very tender and compassionate. In The Parent Trap she was definitely a mother any girl would be proud to show off. The dressing room scenes between her and Hayley Mills were especially good. O'Hara also played a great mother in Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation ( 1962 ).
The Pleasure of His Company ( 1961 ) - Lilli Palmer

In this film, Lilli deftly balanced an earthy down-home maternal nature with an elegant sophisticated air, creating a mother character that was lovely, warm, and approachable. She has had her share of worldly experience and you can imagine her daughter feels a comfort in knowing she can turn to her for advice in any situation. 
Giant ( 1956 ) - Elizabeth Taylor 

Elizabeth Taylor doesn't often come to mind as the ideal mother image, but I always thought she was very maternal. In Giant, her character - Leslie - spans the years from being a newlywed to an aging grandmother. She could be tough at times, but you would never doubt the love she has for her children. 
Mrs. Mike ( 1949 ) - Angela Clarke 

Angela Clarke played the ultimate pioneer mother in Mrs. Mike. She is grateful for the opportunity of giving life to her children and spending her days raising her young, even though she knows they have little chance of surviving to adolescence in the harsh and dangerous environment of Canada's Northwest territory. Note : this is a scene of Angela in Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima since I was unable to find any photos from Mrs. Mike. 

Life with Father ( 1947 ) - Irene Dunne 

Irene Dunne is one of those actresses who often portrayed mothers on screen even though in real-life she had no children of her own. Ironically, the actresses who demonstrated maternal love the best on camera did not have children ( e.g. Claudette Colbert, Mary Astor, and Anna Neagle ). I Remember Mama is probably Dunne's best performance, but she was such a delightful mother in Life with Father I couldn't help but put the spotlight on this role instead. 

Happy Mother's Day to all! 

We'll conclude with sharing a sweet clip from Youtube that we stumbled across : 

What are some of your favorite classic movie mothers? 


  1. Interesting and charming selections.

    Diana, I think I've been taking Mrs. Hardy for granted all these years. And Gran Robinson in Please Don't Eat the Daisies is perfection.

    Constance, Leslie Benedict is one of fiction's great moms. Don't know why I haven't seen it. Lilli Palmer as Katharine is lovely.

    A few of my faves are Mrs. Jumbo (Dumbo), Angie Lowe (Hondo), Mrs. Beebe (Sing, You Sinners) and Mrs. Sargent (Remember the Night).

    1. Mrs. Jumbo! What a perfect choice! I wish I had thought of that one. Yes, Angie Lowe was a wonderful mother ( we must watch "Hondo" again, such a fabulous western ), but it's been too long since we've seen those other films so they are definitely deserving of another viewing, if only to see those mothers.

  2. Don't forget MYRNA LOY, who played Lillian Gilbreth: the mother of TWELVE rambunctious children in CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN.

    1. Myrna Loy was another actress who was great at playing mothers and yet she never had any children in real life!

  3. I love the mother in National Velvet! Of course, Irene Dunne in "I Remember Mama" is another fave. My all-time favorite though is Fay Bainter in "Human Comedy" with Mickey Rooney and Butch Jenkins. There is a scene near the beginning where she is explaining the world to him and he keeps asking why, and her voice as she speaks is so gentle and loving and comforting. I just adore that scene. I'm going to buy that movie right now. I need to watch that again.

    1. Ah yes, Fay Bainter always played great mothers. I will have to watch The Human Comedy again, too. It's such a tear-jerker, but what a great film!

  4. Irene Dunne was a mother in real life, she adopted a baby girl in 1936.