Thursday, April 15, 2021

Spring Reunion ( 1957 )

Maggie Brewster ( Betty Hutton ) has been looking forward to the fifteenth reunion of her high school class for weeks. It is the day of the big event and Maggie has a full schedule of things to do, one of which is going to the beauty parlor with her best friend Barnie ( Jean Hagen ), but before she does, she has to see a prospective client who is interested in buying a property her real estate firm has been trying to unload for years. It belongs to Fred Davis ( Dana Andrews ), once considered "The Boy Most Likely to Succeed" in Maggie's class. 

When she arrives at the property she is surprised to find Fred there. He tells her that a wave of nostalgia overcame him and he wants to cancel the sale. Her disappointment is short-lived when she realizes that Fred is as handsome as ever, single, and has an eye for her. Maggie's school friends are all married with children and, with her reunion coming up, she is beginning to wonder what she has made of her life. Fred is pondering the same question and the night of the spring reunion sparks off a romance between them. 

Spring Reunion is a delightful 1950s melodrama ideal to watch during springtime. The film addresses the concerns most people have when a school reunion approaches. We all see it as a mid-life assessment report - What Have You Done With Your Life? 

"Maybe I'm the one who never measured up, Dad." - Maggie

Jack Frazer ( Gordon Jones ) begins to realize that he may no longer be the physically fit football hero he was. Barnie thinks there may be more exciting things in life than being a mother to four children. Fred is tired of traveling across America, always searching for a better job. He wants to settle down and putter with his sailboat again. Maggie is tired of hearing her father say she is still "the prettiest, smartest and most popular girl" when she feels herself quickly heading towards spinsterhood. She wonders what became of the "Girl Most Likely". Both her and Fred's motives for a relationship are based on fear of future loneliness rather than love, but they seem to have a fighting chance for lasting happiness. 

Betty Hutton was well-established as a dramatic actress by the time she made Spring Reunion, but even though she matured she still adds a touch of that old light-hearted playfulness to her character. Gordon Jones and Jean Hagen provide more of the comedy relief, as do the character actors which include Irene Ryan, Florence Sundstrom, and Herbert Anderson. Also in the cast is James Gleason, Robert F. Simon, and Laura La Plante. 

The movie has a sparkling script by Elick Moll and Robert Pirosh ( A Day at the RacesI Married a Witch ) and is just overall entertaining to watch. Unlike a high school reunion, it is something that you can enjoy every spring. 

12 comments:

  1. HERBERT ANDERSON! He played HENRY MITCHELL(the dad) on DENNIS THE MENACE. Sadly GLORIA HENRY (ALICE MITCHELL(the mom) recently passed away. It was on Apr. 3, the day after she turned 98! P.S. Herbert was in the western movie NIGHT PASSAGE which starred JIMMY STEWART and AUDIE MURPHY.

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    1. Yes, that's right! Herbert has a great spot here as a poor guy whose wife is forcing him to network at his high school reunion in order to sell cars. :-)

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    2. And of course Irene Ryan of The Beverly Hillbillies.

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    3. Yes, lots of television character actors. Gordon Jones was also popular on TV as "Mike the Cop" on The Abbott and Costello Show and Florence Sundstrom was Jeannie's mother (!) on I Dream of Jeannie. :-)

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  2. I forgot my handle CLASSIC TV FAN.

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  3. This one is new to me. Betty Hutton and Dana Andrews seem an unusual coupling.
    Sounds worth a viewing. Thanks for your review.

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    1. They are an unlikely pairing but both of them make their characters' romance believable....although I do doubt how long their marriage would last! I think if Jeanne Crain came into Fred's life, he would take off with her in a flash. ;-)

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  4. I liked DANA ANDREWS in MY FOOLISH HEART and THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES.

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  5. DANA ANDREWS was the older brother of STEVE FORREST. Steve guest starred on GUNSMOKE and MURDER, SHE WROTE. He played a bad guy on at least two eps of Gunsmoke. On one ep of M.S.W. he played a televangelist and on another ep he played a sheriff(I think it was in MONTANA). He also played two characters on DALLAS-both in 1986. First he did three episodes as ranch hand BEN STIVERS and the following season he played WES PARMALEE who says he is JOCK EWING! Steve was a talented and attractive actor.

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    1. Yes, he was. Steve also had a great show of his own called The Baron ( very similar to The Saint ).

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  6. I am totally unfamiliar with this movie! The plot sounds very sweet, though I'm not a big fan of Betty Hutton. However, Jean Hagen, Irene Ryan (Granny!), and James Gleason pique my interest, so I would definitely this springtime romance.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Rick! Betty Hutton acts quite different from her Preston Sturges days, so you may like her in this one.

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