Spinster septuagenarian Ella Bishop, on the brink of retirement from her fifty-two year career as the freshman English teacher at small town Midwestern University, her alma mater, wants to look toward the future, but can't help reflect upon her past, what brought her to this point. Although she always wanted to be a teacher and was both surprised and ecstatic when her mentor, Midwestern's then President James Corcoran, offered her the English teacher opening upon graduation, she only saw it as one short phase of her life until she got married and had a family, unlike her younger cousin, Amy Saunders, who solely needed romance and love to feel fulfilled. She thinks about the two men with who she was mutually in love and would have married if she could have if it not for one circumstance or another, and the one man whose love for her was and is unrequited, at least in the romantic sense, but who was and has always been there for her. Although never haven given birth to a child of her ...Written by
This film received its first documented telecasts in New York City Thursday 7 August 1947 on the DuMont Television Network's WABD (Channel 5), in Washington DC Sunday 8 February 1948 on WNBW (Channel 4), in St. Louis Sunday 23 May 1948 on KSD (Channel 5), in both Philadelphia and Baltimore Tuesday 1 June 1948 on WPTZ (Channel 3) and WBAL (Channel 11), in Lowell MA (serving the Boston Area) Saturday 28 August 1948 on WBZ (Channel 4), in Los Angeles Saturday 12 March 1949 on KTTV (Channel 11), and in Cincinnati Monday 12 September 1949 on WKRC (Channel 11). See more »
[giving a toast]
So here's to our nation: she's young, she's growing too fast, she makes a lot of mistakes, but somehow she does manage to keep her people free. May she always.
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The movie follows the course of an unmarried teacher's life and loves over the period of her lengthy career.
The narrative has to cover a fifty-year span in 90-minutes, which is a challenge even for the best screenplays. This one, however, cobbles together both people and events in a loose way that unfortunately gets little beyond surfaces. Other reviewers are correct—there is very little character development. Instead, people more or less drift in and out of the teacher's life without time to develop. As a result, it's hard to engage with characters, and even with Scott's Miss Bishop since the teacher's role is underplayed. (An exception, as others note, is Minna whose difficulty is very vividly done.) Still, Miss Bishop's recessive manner perhaps conveys repressed emotion, not improbable behavior for a spinster of that time. If some such were intended, it would be an interesting angle, but I don't see much thematic evidence of that. All in all, Miss Bishop comes across more like an on-looker to her own life rather than a participant.
Nonetheless, the film deals, at least tangentially, with a difficult topic for the period. That is, can an unmarried professional woman have a rewarding life without being a wife and a mother. To the film's credit, it appears to say yes, as the final tribute scene affirms. Still, the film does fudge by making the spinster (Scott) attractive and with a life-long suitor (Gargan) whom she inexplicably keeps on a tether. So, remaining unmarried stands as her choice rather than an outside imposition. The film would have been more memorable, I think, had production made Miss Bishop more plain, and dealt with the problems of a plain, unmarried woman given the mores of passing generations. But dealing honestly with plain women was never a Hollywood or box-office favorite.
Anyway, the movie's mainly a sanitized concoction for viewers who like dipping into old style Hollywood soaps. The production's not without its moments, but the overall effect is pretty loose and sticky.
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