Third child's (son's) name

OK, first, in fairness, I watched this last night (recorded earlier from TCM) but it got late so had MAYBE half hr. or bit more to go. Certainly HAD intended to finish out tonight. AND I realize I maybe shouldn't comment on movie I didn't finish but I am (again, went to finish it today but somehow mistakenly erased it. Must've been later than I even realized for such error).
So while I'm bummed I didn't finish it (and can't even find FULL plot here online so that worsens my frustration), I can't help but wonder if I am the ONLY person to be unbelievably annoyed by one part in particular (though I believe more than one existed).....
So this "minister" of supposedly scrupulous & HIGH integrity TELLS his long-suffering wife (who appears to ask little or nothing of him that I noticed) he will relent on the baby's name. That is what he says to her...he gives her HIS word (yeah, THAT of a minister) only to find when time comes, he was lying & names the son what HE wanted to.
But gets worse. She smiles submissively (and like a mental patient if you ask me) when he arrives home & quickly, quietly & looking like a SERVANT, agreeably makes his food.

Hell, he'd be WEARING it if I wrote the script. Well no....he would be "brought to task" IN THE church. Let's show the congregation what they are dealing with.

So that's it, a minister who LIES. And to all people, his WIFE!!
NOW that is setting an example to model ones life...right?!!! Quite like Jesus preached, eh? (yeah, NOT)

I should've shut movie off then & there but wanted to see where else it was heading. So much for the paternalistic, misogynistic & ultimately offensive movies of the bygone days where women meekly, mildly, blindly & without voice swallowed whatever their oaf of a husband pulled.
But seriously folks, he was a MINISTER, that is what makes this entire name-thing so very atrocious. Least to me where THAT should mean something.

And before anyone claims she "didn't mind" (yeah, one could see in "old movie" fashion she wouldn't, that is clear for the time)...that is NOT the point, it made him a man NOT of his word or having any character at all, forget what sort of "minister" that makes him (yeah, a SORRY one).

Maybe he should've stayed in medical school!!!


Let's look at the facts.

1. She starts by blackmailing him with the conversation, basically withholding dinner from a hungry man until the matter is settled. Sounds like the kind of sexual blackmailing that often goes on in married life except they had to make it dinner back then.

2. He states exactly why he does not want the child to have the same name as him (he regrets not having a middle name). She then says he'll be a Jr and he (for some reason) thinks having Jr on a name is a sissy thing. Okay, if he says so. I'm not saying his argument makes much sense, but he obviously has feelings about the subject and communicates them. She makes no argument in favor of Jr, yet she insists it must be Jr.

3. He then attempts to compromise by giving the child the same name as him, but with a middle name. She declines, this time giving no reason for declining his choice, and further blackmails him by withholding his food.

4. He then says, "Very well. I give in. I'll name the baby this Sunday." He never said WHAT he would name the baby, just that he would name him.

So he didn't lie at all. She just wasn't listening to what he said. Which, from my points 2 and 3, you can see that she never really was listening to begin with. Just trying to get her way with no real rhyme or reason; at least not one that she attempts to even reveal. I don't blame him one bit for shutting her up and getting food on the table even if he did lie to do it (which he didn't).


Saw this so long ago maybe I should remain mute but know if I wrote he lied (among other thoughts) then I am confident he did.
Maybe will revisit this movie if on some time again but doubt I'll bother.
As a rule, I pay very strict attention to whatever I'm watching & fail to comment on something unclear to me.

So with that, I respectfully disagree with your position entirely & stand by all my own assertions. I am pretty sure you do the same. Best to agree to disagree.

If I'm bothered by something or something stands out to me in a film, I know exactly what or why that's so.


Wow, I can see how strongly you feel about this issue. I understand why that might be the case but I didn't take it that way at all. I thought it was actually pretty funny.

Wanting to name the child for him, Hope was trying to honor her husband. He didn't want that. He wanted the child to have his own name and identity and not have to be a junior. I have some common named males in my family and that's something that can happen with juniors. They become a mini version of their father, grandfather, etc. It becomes a 'thing' and not about the child being whomever he's supposed to be.

Still, he relented to his wife's request. He was willing to name him William Spence but he insisted he have a middle name so he wouldn't be a true 'junior'. This is something that really mattered to him. He wanted to name the child for his uncle; someone he admired.

She's the one who refused to compromise and tried to bully him into doing it her way. Clearly, this is a discussion they had had before. She says she wanted to name their first child for him too but that didn't happen because he objected. His way is to name children for people he thought were meant to be a

Instead of seeing it as him wanting his way, I saw it as him looking out for his child. All the other babies had a middle name so maybe he hadn't planned to make the change until he was baptizing all the kids. Each had three name except his son and his son's name came up. He had felt lacking due to not having a middle name so he wasn't going to subject his son to the same fate.\

That scene also shows us that, while Will is a preacher and leader of his congregation, he is far from perfect. This would be true of any preacher, husband, father, etc. Hope doesn't give in when he comes home. She was upset but she finally accepts her husband for who he is. He's the same person she loved and married. The same guy who changes their entire future without first discussing it with her. He means well but on things that matter to him, he's determined. The fact he brings home a treat for them but it's the flavor he likes is all part of that. He cares for his family and wants what's best for them but he's also stubborn. This is demonstrated by the movie scene. He was all set to prove his son wrong but ended up learning a lesson himself. He's not completely hopeless but whatever he is, she knew that going in and signed up to go on that ride.


It's a moot point. As with all of Hollywood's biographical films, there is apparently some fiction included in this one. While much of it is based on facts, the father not having a middle name is apparently fiction. In an obit for Hartzell, his father's name is listed as William H. Spence. Furthermore, in a birth notice from the Mason Iowa newspaper in 1942 for a David Fraser Spence, his parents are listed as Mr. & Mrs. William Fraser Spence and his grandmother is listed as Mrs. W. H. Spence.