Next up is 1944’s Mrs. Parkington, a hodge-podge story of rags-to-riches, of spoiled rich families, of angry capitalists, and of a son who threatens the family with scandal.
There is no overall theme to this movies. It’s just things happening in succession. Agnes Moorehead is interesting as the old “friend” of Mr. Parkington who cleans up and directs the social life of his new wife (Greer Garson).
Somewhere in between all this is a horse accident, an attempted suicide, a mine explosion, a reluctant tenor, a grand social shunning, and serial payback. And none of it touched me beyond skin deep. Although the movie started well enough, it just kept going and going like the Energizer Bunny, seemingly just filling time. They try to bookend it with scenes of the elder Mrs. Parkington reminiscing. But it doesn’t solve the inherent problem that this movie is a bit of a bore.
One viewer said it well: “Tiresome cliched flashbacks through the lens of 40s MGM gloss.” This same reviewer writes:
Mrs. Parkington is a widow living in a big mansion and her adult children and grandchildren are visiting her on Christmas Eve, and we soon learn they are all leading disappointing unhappy lives. An author visits and leaves Mrs. Parkington a copy of a book he wrote about her "great American" family. This gives opportunity for the series of flashbacks.
Watching this poisonous family snipe at each other at the start was by far the best part of the movie. But then we flashback and, well, Garson is okay, I guess, but I don’t think Pidgeon works in the role.