MovieChat Forums > The Catered Affair (1956) Discussion > Was Agnes the biggest b*tch or what?

Was Agnes the biggest b*tch or what?


Saw this flick yesterday, hated Aggie. All she could do was manipulate people, nothing was more important than what Mama wanted, constantly forcing her poor daughter to take a gift she didn't even want, just to satisfy herself. Didn't like Dad either, spends most of the story not being a man. Aggie's brother was no better than she...mouching off his sister & brother in law then always threatening to move out if his tender feelings got hurt.

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Aren't you just a ray of sunshine? You're empathy is about as deep as a mud puddle.

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I'd have to say "no", just sad, fearful, I think. Aggie never wants things for herself, she's not selfish. She knows what she missed out on, and how she wants those experiences to her daughter as she believes they will bring happiness.

I think you missed the subtleties in the story, the fears that bound this family. Aggie was afraid of a life alone with just her husband, knowing he was paid to marry her, so she moved in a series of relatives to keep from being alone with him. The brother initially stayed because living with his married sister took less courage than making a life of his own. Between his work and his family life, Tom is drained so he picks his fights and avoids confrontations whenever possible although he can't let go of the resentment. It doesn't mean he's "not a man", it means he was overwhelmed.

I will say I think Bette Davis was miscast (that statement alone should bring down all the harpies of heaven!) as the plain, insecure Irish mother. Bette's best roles were unconventional women with a secure sense of self. This part demanded a Jane Darwell or Marjorie Main. Plus the idea that Davis and Borgnine could create a girl as lovely as Debbie Reynolds strains credulity.

Perhaps you'll watch it again, perhaps you won't. If you do decide to watch another Paddy Chayefsky piece (Network or Marty or Heat of the Night) try to look at the motivations of the characters. They are often complex but it makes for a more rewarding viewing experience.


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What features and parts of features are passed on mostly randomly from one generation to the next, making allowances for dominant and recessive genes and mutations -- tending to average out, but at other times accentuating plain features. Using your "system" who could have believed that a pair of parents as pretty as Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh could have produced Jamie Lee Curtis?

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Davis was NOT "miscast." She was superb. Davis specialized in MANY different
parts, which is why she was the Streep of her generation.

BTW, Davis considered this one of her very favorite roles.

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N. its hard to let go your dreams. even harder to let go of the dreams you have for your children.

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Aggie's brother was no better than she...mouching off his sister & brother in law then always threatening to move out if his tender feelings got hurt.

You missed the mentions where the brother wasn't mooching. He paid his share of the rent. One of the concerns about him moving out was they would lose that income.

http://maggieameanderings.com/Archive.htm

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It's not that Aggie was wrong, in my opinion.

It's that there were two major life events coming up; Jane's wedding and Tom's change of employment status (about to become self-employed).

A big wedding reception would have wiped Tom out and kept him an employee forever.

To buy the taxi and medallion instead would mean much more income for Tom and possibly a gift for Jane and Ralph at some future date. Like a down payment on a house, or great big savings bonds for their kids. Clearly the better choice, in the long run.

So Aggie's priorities were just out of order, that's all. But she had the right idea, to do something nice for Jane.

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I actually loved Bette Davis in this movie. I felt so sorry for Aggie through out this movie, even when I was angry with her. I had never felt like that about a character. She seems to see her life as a failure and this wedding is her consolation. She was so blindly misguided.

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I think I feel sorry for Aggie as well. Most mothers want their daughters to 1) have a wedding like their own (with the same dress) or 2) have a better wedding than their own.

My mom and I were very poor but she kept saying she wanted me to have a long gown and she would help me pay for it. (My dad had died 24 years earlier.) I didn't want a long gown and I also knew she couldn't afford to help me pay for it. (I was paying for most of the wedding myself; various friends contributed things as gifts such as the photography and the cake and my church provided the lunch sandwiches.) We were at odds until one afternoon I finally took the bull by the horns and asked why she was pushing this. It turned out that a friend of hers (who was only a couple of years older than I) had convinced her that I would regret not having a long gown. I finally said, "I'll be more unhappy in a dress that I don't want." She finally agreed and when I brought home my tea-length gown she grudgingly admitted that it was beautiful and I was right. My husband and I have been married 28 years and I still love the dress I had.

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