Room For One More

1952

directed by: Norman Taurog

Cary Grant movie #59 of 74.  This marks the 2nd and final film with his then-wife Betsy Drake.  Oh man this was a great film.  Whereas Every Girl Should Be Married was a bit dull and forced, Room For One More exhibited the best qualities in both Grant and Drake and they worked seamlessly together.

Room For One More centers around the Rose family, with Grant and Drake playing the parents and 3 children (Teenie, Tom, and Trot; 2 boys and a girl, all between like 6-10).  Drake is part of the PTA and the wives take a trip to an orphanage/placement center.  After little deliberation, she agrees to take on an abused and neglected 13-year old girl, Jane. Though Jane is cold and angry at first, she soon warms to the family (I mean with Cary Grant as your dad, how could you not?); later she goes to a junior prom with an upstanding boy.  Drake then brings home a 12-year old boy, Jimmy John (an excellent name)  who has leg braces and at first is mute (Think young Forrest Gump).  After a trip to the beach, he soon warms to the family and learns to ride a bike, learns to read, and joins the Boy Scouts (ultimately becoming an Eagle Scout).  So not too complex on the plot side, the movie is more an emotional exercise in patience, empathy, and doing the right thing.   I lost count of the amount of scenes where tears were getting in my eyes.  I’m not a robot, people.

Let’s see, other great things about the movie. Grant plays a City Engineer, awesome. Oh, probably the best scene is where the family is sitting around opening presents at Christmas.  Jane had her heart set on going to the junior prom, but doesn’t own a dress, and is distraught (so obviously a Cinderella reference).  Now Drake gives her an old dress which she hems and cuts down a bit.  Jane is ecstatic and quickly leaves to try it on.  When she comes back down to model for the family everyone is appreciative except Teenie (the youngest boy) who laconically remarks, “It stinks”.  This immediately shuts everyone up, and Drake starts backtracking that she’ll cut it up even more, to which he replies, “Yeah, but it still stinks”.   He’s got really great lines throughout the movie, sometimes with someone delivering a line, then turning to him and waiting a second or two for him to spit out his next zinger.  You always know he’ll have something great to say. And oh yeah, he’s 6.

Underrated Actors: George “Foghorn” Winslow as Teenie, Grant and Drake’s 6 year old son.   Kudos to Iris Mann and Clifford Tatum, Jr. for playing the foster kids real well.

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