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The Catered Affair

The bronx bourgeoisie, represented by the Irish Hurley family, is the chief concern of this little comedy-drama originally teleplayed by Paddy Chayefsky, and now put into screen form by Gore Vidal, also from TV for Metro production. The entertainment is mild.

The bronx bourgeoisie, represented by the Irish Hurley family, is the chief concern of this little comedy-drama originally teleplayed by Paddy Chayefsky, and now put into screen form by Gore Vidal, also from TV for Metro production. The entertainment is mild.

Overall, the performances are good and there are occasionally amusing and touching momemts in the otherwise talky, mostly drab, affair under Richard Brooks’ direction.

The dramatic to-do set up by the plot whirls around Ma Hurley’s decision to give her daughter a catered wedding, overruling the daughter’s objections and overwhelming the meager savings of taxi-driving Pa Hurley. Script has a repetitious quality in the spate of pros and cons unloosed.

Dominant emotion aroused is one of feeling sorry for everyone concerned, but principally for the daughter (Debbie Reynolds) and her fiance (Rod Taylor), both of whom handle their characters very well As the mother (played on TV by Thelma Ritter), Bette Davis is consistent in performance, if not with her dialect, and proves a strong force on the drama side of the film. Ernest Borgnine’s scenes as the father have less force, with the exception of the moment when he tells his side of a weary marriage to his nagging spouse.

The Catered Affair

  • Production: M-G-M. Director Richard Brooks; Producer Sam Zimbalist; Screenplay Gore Vidal; Camera John Alton; Editor Gene Ruggiero, Frank Santillo; Music Andre Previn;; Art Director Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse
  • Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1956. Running time: 92 MIN.
  • With: Bette Davis Ernest Borgnine Debbie Reynolds Barry Fitzgerald Rod Taylor Robert Simon