Films, Books, Musings-With the Glamour of Old Hollywood and the Flair of the Retro

Mother Wore Tights- A Movie Review

In Movies on October 4, 2012 at 9:54 am


20th Century Fox Studios. 1947. Colour. Musical.

Mother Wore Tights stars Betty Grable as Myrtle McKinley who, after graduating high school is sent to San Francisco to attend business college. Immediately upon her arrival she is sidetracked and joins the chorus in a vaudeville theatre. Her guardians are her grandparents and they are horrified. They are very straight-laced (and expect Myrtle to be too) but Myrtle continues on, becoming part of a successful act with comic singer/dancer Frank Burt (Dan Dailey). Myrtle and Frank marry and continue their act until Myrtle becomes pregnant and urges Frank to let her stay home and be the ‘Mama’. They have two daughters, Iris and Mikie, who is the narrator of the story. Myrtle enjoys looking after her girls, but when Frank is in a jam and calls on her to rejoin the act, Myrtles’ grandmother convinces her to return to her husbands’ side and the vaudeville life.

This is definitely a film that is perfect holiday season viewing. A Christmas reunion between the touring parents and the girls is full of the Christmas spirit and the theme of ‘family ties’ runs through the movie particularly when the teenaged Iris is struggling with embarrassment at her parents’ inelegant profession. Iris is played by Mona Freeman with a convincing teenage attitude toward her sister and parents, never mind that Mother Wore Tights was set very early in the 20th century- some things never change. Mikie is played by child actress, Connie Marshall, who was very charming and talented but had a short career due to polio.

Mother Wore Tights was the top grossing film for 20th Century Fox in 1947 and a favourite of Betty Grables’. She was pregnant during the filming with her second child, and still sang and danced-(and tap danced!) and wore figure-hugging gowns and costumes. Remember though, she was the highest paid woman in Amercia that year and her legs were insured with Lloyds of London for $1million, which would help to ease any morning sickness, etc.!

Mother Wore Tights is not yet available on DVD, though Amazon and other retailers sell VHS copies. Otherwise look out for it on movie rental or on television, it is probable that it will be shown coming into the holiday season. If anyone finds a reputable link, please post it in the comments section. Also, any other comments are welcome.

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