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I Remember Mama
Irene Dunne, Barbara Bel Geddes. An absorbing drama about the ups and downs of an immigrant Norwegian family in San Francisco. 1948/b&w/134 min/NR/fullscreen.
Irene Dunne stars as the mother anyone would love in this nostalgic picture directed by George Stevens. Chronicled by her aspiring-writer daughter (Barbara Bel Geddes), Mama is the matriarch of an immigrant Norwegian family in 1910 San Francisco. She and her husband bring up their four children with great humor and hope, amid genteel poverty in a new land. Meddling relatives, illnesses and near-de
||Irene Dunne, Barbara Bel Geddes, Cedric Hardwicke, Barbara O'neil|
||Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Subtitled, Dolby|
||Spanish, French, English|
|Number of Discs:
||Warner Home Video|
|DVD Release Date:
||December 07, 2004|
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 129 reviews|
Average Customer Review:
( 129 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
93 of 94 found the following review helpful:
Gentle and evocativeMay 09, 2005
By Susan Fong
"I Remember Mama" presents a gentle and compassionate portrait of a family of Norwegian immigrants who settle in San Francisco in the early 1900's. The movie is narrated by the family's eldest daughter, now an adult, who has written a memoir about her childhood and her colorful family. Her family includes Mama, Papa, siblings, and some overbearing but well-intentioned aunts and uncle.
Nothing sensational or terribly exciting happens in the lives of these ordinary, working class immigrants. Yet, there is extraordinary poignance in the way in which the family deals with everyday crises such as the fate of an injured pet cat or the dilemma of a mother who is not allowed to see her child in the hospital.
Acclaimed director George Stevens reconstructs such events with an honesty and delicacy that resonates long after the movie ends. And Stevens elicits superb performances from his cast led by Irene Dunne as the title character "Mama". Dunne's performance is beautifully restrained as the humble, selfless matriach who possesses an indomitable spirit and generous heart. The rest of the talented ensemble includes familiar and beloved actors such as Oscar Homolka, Barbara Bel Geddes aka Miss Ellie on the television series "Dallas", and Ellen Corby of "The Waltons" fame.
"I Remember Mama" is the kind of movie that will evoke childhood memories and remind you to appreciate where you came from and how far you've arrived.
70 of 74 found the following review helpful:
TENDER FAMILY MELODRAMA GETS AVERAGE TRANSFERDec 04, 2004
By Nix Pix
In retrospect George Steven's production of "I Remember Mama" is the high water mark in 1940s family life melodrama. Set at the turn of the last century in San Francisco, the film stars the usually scatterbrained Irene Dunne; on this occasion as the tender yet determined matriarch, Martha Hanson. Together with her husband, Lars (Philip Dorn) and extended family (buttressed by a stellar cast including Barbara Bel Geddes, Cedric Hardwicke, Ellen Corby, Rudy Vallee, Edgar Bergan and Florence Bates) the Norwegian clan weathers some hard knocks and poignant moments with grace and charm. This is one of those elegant little `jabs of pleasure' that American cinema used to dole out en masse during its golden age, but now seems rendered in exceedingly short supply. Based on John Van Druten's hit play (derived from Kathryn Forbes's autobiographical memoir), the film is a veritable feast for the heart and mind; a richly textured and moving experience - not to be missed.
Unfortunately more could have been done to clean up this print before rushing it out to DVD. Warner's transfer is marred by a considerable amount of age related artifacts. Though the gray scale is nicely balanced at times, the image often tends to exhibit an overly soft quality that is more blurry than evocative of mood or style. There is also a considerable amount of film grain present in most scenes. Otherwise, black and contrast levels on the whole tend to be deep and nicely balanced. There are no digital anomalies. The audio is mono and suffers at times from a muffled characteristic. Background hiss is detected in quiescent scenes. A brief introduction by the director's son, George Steven's Jr. is all the extras you get. Bottom line; this film still gets my recommendation for a must have Christmas stocking stuffer. It may not be presented here in its optimal condition but regardless, is sure to warm the heart throughout the holidays and beyond.
29 of 29 found the following review helpful:
A Heartwarming Treasure of a Classic!Jul 06, 1999
"Iss Good! We don't have to go to the bank." Like finding buried treasure ~ this film is a real gem! About the day to day struggles of an immigrant Norwegian family living in San Fransisco at the turn of the century. The innocence and old-world charm of this colorful family is irresistable with Irene Dunne playing the part of Mama. (My favorite classics actress next to Myrna Loy). Narrated by the eldest Daughter recounting stories of her childhood, it's a tale of human frailties, strength, self-sacrifice, loyalty and love. A charming, classic and must see.
27 of 28 found the following review helpful:
A superb family dramaNov 09, 2004
By City Of Evanston
How wonderful that this is being released on DVD. Irene Dunne
had one of her greatest roles as Martha Hansen. She is perfect
in every way. Nice support from Barbara Bel Geddes and Ellen
Corby who would become big tv stars in the years to come. Edgar
Bergen and Rudy Vallee are fine too and Oscar Homolka nearly
steals the show as the cantankerous Uncle Chris. It brings back
memories of Friday nights when Peggy Wood came on making Maxwell
House coffee and then the show started. MAMA was the highlight of
the week. How sad they were live since most episodes are lost forever.
17 of 17 found the following review helpful:
Mama as MemoryAug 14, 2002
By Martin Asiner
Few films can tug at the heart strings as well as I REMEMBER MAMA. Adapted from the John Van Druten play, which was itself taken from the Kathryn Forbes novel, I REMEMBER MAMA captures indelibly slices of time in the life of a Norwegian family living in San Francisco at the turn of the 19th century. Narrated by a grown up Katrin (Barbara Bel Geddes), the film combines the problems of adapting to life in the United States with solutions that seem unworkable to those still steeped in the ways of the Old Country. At the center is Mama(Irene Dunne), who orchestrates the lives of her large extended family. Irene Dunne is superb with her profound understanding of human nature. She shows in scene after scene that a matriarch must be flexible enough to account for and guide the divergent personalities of her family. For her sisters, Mama makes it clear that she will not permit them to bully her vulnerable children. For her children, she extends praise when it is needed and stoicism when that is needed too. And for the boarder who skips town without paying his owed rent, she resigns herself that he has paid in a different coin, that of reading the classics to her children, thus inculcating in them a love of words. Surrounding Irene Dunne is a group of superb supporting actors, all of whom add flavor to a film that is linked only by the memories of Katrin. Perhaps the most outstanding job is the one done by the non-paying boarder, Mr.Hyde (Cedric Hardwicke), who nightly regales the family with timeless tales narrated in his booming voice, the sum total of which is to create a story within a story with each passing tale. Although the years pass, no one seems to age, and that is all right since the segue from scene to scene is accomplished so seamlessly that the audience scarcely notices. Oscar Homolka as Uncle Chris hits just the right note as the blustery yet kindly man who hides his kindness beneath a pushy attitude. Interspersed through key scenes in the movie are the appearances of Katrin, who interrupts the narrative to talk directly to the audience, commenting like a subdued omniscient narrator on the plot. Again, rather than putting off the audience with a style of narration that in another film would surely be seen as intrusive, in I REMEMBER MAMA, Katrin's comments, as well as all the various strands of the film, are seen instead as welcome threads that unite what could have been an aimless, disjointed movie into a chronicle of a family that rings true with each passing scene. Not many movies can come close to accomplishing this. Homolka, Bel Gedddes, and Dunne were all nominated for Academy Awards. This is truly one of the most heart-warming films of all time.
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