MovieChat Forums > The Catered Affair (1956) Discussion > Taxi Medallion or Big Wedding?

Taxi Medallion or Big Wedding?


This is a movie about parents' opposing dreams. Tom Hurley wants to buy a NYC taxi medallion. Agnes Hurley wants her daughter to have the sort of wedding she never had. The medallions aren't cheap, they're going for $8,000. Tom's share will only be half of that, but it's still a lot of money in the mid-50s, though probably not enough to cover the wedding Agnes would like. Which way will the family go?

Weddings are still expensive, but medallions now cost even more than a celebrity's wedding:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/nyregion/1-million-medallions-stifling-the-dreams-of-cabdrivers.html

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If you're seeking opinions, I vote taxi medallion.

The parents are in the autumn of their years and Tom's working life. It represents an opportunity to do some much needed feathering of their nest when the inevitable effects of aging occur: Health issues, retiring from work etc.

The young couple on the other hand are just beginning their life and will have plenty of time to get themselves on a good financial footing...if they're wise. They're also starting out in a much better position than Jane's parents were.

While this dilemma is a clear case of Agnes wanting a big wedding for selfish reasons, I still have to ask the obvious question nobody in the movie ever posed:

Why was the whole dilemma a choice of 2 extremes? As if their were absolutely no alternatives other than a bare-bones ceremony or a lavish ceremony.

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An this is my issue with how almost ALL TV/film weddings are depicted: you either have something to rival the Kardashians or you're married barefoot and in rags. In reality, most weddings are on some level of middle ground.

What also mystifies me is how exactly a family living in near poverty in the Bronx was able to save $4K, when $4K would be roughly $40K, nowadays. While I get Ernest wanted his cab, you'd think they would've maybe bought a house or something....

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'Seems to me that the mid-50s cost of wedding extravagance was much higher than the relative cost of getting into a business of one's own. Some mental calculation of the price tag that the venue manager reeled off seemed to add up to significantly more than $4000 for half of a taxi. Even today, who but rich people and celebrities hire ten limos? And $20 each for table decorations may pale compared to today's prices, but it still seems like more than relative cost of investing in a business. What business can you buy now for $8000?

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And taxi medallions in NYC are now closing in on $1,000,000. (Yeah, you read that right!).

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The guy should get his medallion. Of course, I pretty much feel that most weddings are a huge waste of money, but mostly, he worked hard for years to raise that money. It's his and he doesn't want to do something frivolous with it. It goes to supporting him and his wife in their old age. The daughter doesn't even want the big wedding to begin with.

There are ways of cutting cost for weddings. Whatever happened to the days when families threw the wedding? The women cooked the meals for the reception and created the flower arrangements. They passed their own gown down through generations. I think it can still be done and is probably still done in some of the small towns of the U.S. It's a more down-to-earth way of doing a wedding and, to me, feels more meaningful that the lavish spectacles that are so popular right now.

"Thank you for the Dada-ist peptalk. I feel much more abstract now."--Buffy

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The most successful wedding I know of took place in the early 80's. Store bought long peasant type dress, babies breath in her hair, the 3 months pregnant bride had a real Russian Orthodox wedding, reception in mom's basement after. Auntie made a roaster pan of stuffed cabbage, beer and wine for all. The whole thing including dress surely could not have cost more than a few hundred.

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The most successful wedding I know of took place in the early 80's. Store bought long peasant type dress, babies breath in her hair, the 3 months pregnant bride had a real Russian Orthodox wedding, reception in mom's basement after. Auntie made a roaster pan of stuffed cabbage, beer and wine for all. The whole thing including dress surely could not have cost more than a few hundred.

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^^^I remember weddings in the 70's being that way. But then, it was the whole hippie weddings going on. The thing I remember is how those weddings were about love and were meaningful. I don't know where along the line they turned into overdone spectacles.

"Thank you for the Dada-ist peptalk. I feel much more abstract now."--Buffy

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It's reassuring to see that in many places, there is still good old-fashioned common sense about weddings.

My co-worker's family in Naples still do it the old way: The bride wears a white dress, the groom wears a black suit, the invitees (family members within walking distance and immediate neighbors) show up dressed as for Sunday Mass: Men in dark suits, with or without a tie; women in black skirts with dark printed blouses and a black cardigan sweater, or in a dark print dress with a black cardigan over that...

Everyone goes to the ceremony, then they go to a local pub and have a glass of wine. Then they go home, leaving the married couple and their parents to have dinner in the restaurant, and that's the end of it.

And they all love to see the photos of their American cousins' weddings, of course!

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[deleted]

You all are missing the point on the wedding. They were ok with Jane's plans until they had the groom's family over for a 'meet & greet' dinner. The groom's family were obviously better off and let it be known, not meanly, but just casually. It was then Agnes decided HER daughter would have more than the simple affair she wanted. They were a working class family that got by, proudly without debt (oh yeah, no putting it on the plastic card), and managed to put the smallest amount aside in savings. To live within their means, to not have debt, to not be on public assistance was a very big deal and very real then. These are people who came out of the Depression. Remember at one point it was agreed that they would have 100 guests each side and then Grooms Mom has 186! My saddest point with that was when her BF, Alice, told her she couldn't be her MOH cause it was costing too much dough. Then, at some point, it's revealed that Jane wanted to go to college and Tom didn't have the money for that, part of the reason he goes along with Agnes wedding plans. They loved their kids but were very practical. What he doesn't reveal, and I personally wondered why, but then in 50s perspective, men didn't always tell their wives their thoughts or plans, so families just took the ride, good or bad, was about the medallion.

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The caterer was upselling them bigtime, and charging a fortune. The husband saw through him, but the wife wanted the best for her daughter, and the caterer took full advantage of her.

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I worked with the son of Greek immigrants in the late 1960s early 1970s. He said that the smartest thing his father ever did was saving up and buying a set of Sydney taxi plates.

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