6.9/10
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28 user 6 critic

H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941)

A man who lived his life as he was was told he should, not as he would have chosen to, is brought out of his shell by a beautiful young woman.

Director:

King Vidor

Writers:

John P. Marquand (novel), Elizabeth Hill (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Hedy Lamarr ... Marvin Myles
Robert Young ... Harry Pulham
Ruth Hussey ... Kay Motford
Charles Coburn ... Mr. Pulham Sr.
Van Heflin ... Bill King
Fay Holden ... Mrs. John Pulham
Bonita Granville ... Mary Pulham
Douglas Wood Douglas Wood ... Mr. Bullard
Charles Halton ... Walter Kaufman
Leif Erickson ... Rodney 'Bo-Jo' Brown (as Leif Erikson)
Phil Brown ... Joe Bingham
David Clyde ... Hugh the Butler
Sara Haden ... Miss Rollo
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Storyline

Fortysomething, blue blooded Boston born and bred, Harvard educated businessman Harry Pulham leads a regimented, routinized life with his wife, the former Kay Motford, who he's known since childhood. Harry outwardly believes he is all the more happy because of the way his life is, which was somewhat predetermined as part of his upbringing. This day, he receives two telephone calls which make him examine his life. The first is from Bo-Jo Brown, a Harvard colleague who is heading a twenty-five year reunion committee, with Harry foisted into the job of writing attendee biographies, which is to include his own. The second is from Marvin Myles, a former work colleague from his time over twenty years ago at the J.T. Bullard Advertising Agency in New York City, that job which Harry got from his more liberally minded Harvard friend Bill King. The result of these two telephone calls makes Harry wonder if he is happy, if he is or ever was in love with Kay, and if he never was if he would have ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

At Last! See Today's Greatest Love Story! (original 2x7 newspaper ad) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

13 August 1942 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Sol de Outono See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film had its first television showing in Los Angeles Friday 7 December 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11); in Seattle it first aired 9 February 1957 on KING (Channel 5), in Chicago 17 February 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), in Minneapolis 14 March 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9), in Philadelphia 10 July 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), and in Altoona PA 7 August 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), but it was not telecast in New York City until 21 June 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2), and in San Francisco 2 March 1959 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »

Goofs

The flashback scenes in a taxi take place in 1919, however, the footage through rear-projection through the back window of the cab clearly show late 1930s automobiles. See more »

Quotes

Harry Moulton Pulham: Like life, I suppose. You think everything's all right, all there solid, and, then, it suddenly comes to pieces in your hands.
Kay Motford Pulham: I told you you shouldn't have had that highball after dinner.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in We Must Have Music (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

The Darktown Strutters' Ball
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by Shelton Brooks
Played on piano during the Greenwich Village sequence
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A poignant, subtle look at life's lost possibilities
8 February 2002 | by LFRibeiroSee all my reviews

This muted but affecting version of John P. Marquand's stinging reproach of the turn of the last century's hidebound upper classes, this beautiful MGM production is easily Hedy Lamarr's finest performance. Co-starring the too frequently overlooked Robert Young and the multifaceted Van Heflin (who would win a Best Supporting Oscar that year for Johnny Eager), the film also boasts the usual MGM powerful supporting cast (including Charles Coburn, Ruth Hussy, Bonita Granville and a cameo by the great Anne Revere). Under King Vidor's perceptive direction, this tale of a man's reflection of a life full of stifling tradition becomes a poignant, subtle exploration of lost opportunity. At last given a role of substance, Lamarr is wonderful as an educated working class woman with aspirations, who must watch the man she loves cave in to the expectations of wealth and tradition. A gem of a film; discover it for yourselves.


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