16 August 2008 | dougdoepke
Mr. and Mrs. Miniver in New York
MGM programmer for the younger set. Viewers interested in teens and trends of the time (1943) might take a look. Weidler makes a spunky teenager with a dyspeptic father, a dutiful mother, a mischievous little brother and a mob of friends as star-struck as she is. Their New York lives revolve around collecting autographs from celebrities who, surprise, also happen to be major MGM movie-stars. Complications arise when conniving housekeeper Agnes Moorehead (who else?) creates a marital mix-up.
Though dated, there are enough laughs and human interest to keep you entertained. The kids are delightfully amusing with an innocent charm seemingly a galaxy away from today's teen movies. John Caroll scores as the cranky Russian muscle man back when Hollywood Russians were an amusing hot commodity, along with Jean Porter as Weidler's wide-eyed best buddy. In passing, note the brief references to how the kids were helping to win the war, with their saving stamps, etc. A rather sad sidelight are the later lives of Weidler who died young after a failed adult career, and Beckett (the younger brother) whose biography reads regrettably like a police blotter before also dying young. Nonetheless, MGM turned out some major stars (Garson, Taylor, Pidgeon, et al.) for good humored cameos. All in all, an entertaining little artifact.