Roughly Speaking (film)

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Roughly Speaking
Poster of the movie Roughly Speaking.jpg
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Produced by Henry Blanke
Written by Louise Randall Pierson (book and screenplay)
Catherine Turney (uncredited)
Starring Rosalind Russell
Jack Carson
Music by Leo F. Forbstein
Cinematography Joseph Walker
Edited by David Weisbart
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) January 31, 1945
Running time 117 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Roughly Speaking (1945) is a drama/comedy starring Rosalind Russell and Jack Carson.[1] The plot involves a strong-minded mother keeping her family afloat through World War I and the Great Depression. The movie was based on the autobiography of the same name, published in 1943, by Louise Randall Pierson.


Louise Randall Pierson does not have an easy life. When she is a teenager, her beloved father dies, leaving her, her mother, and her sister in financial difficulty. However, heeding her father's advice to shoot for the stars, she remains undaunted. She goes to college and learns typing and shorthand; on her first (temporary) job, she overcomes the prejudice of her new boss, Lew Morton, against women workers.

Then, though they have very different ideas about a woman's place, she marries Rodney Crane, who goes to work in the banking industry. Four children are born in rapid succession. Louise nurses her brood through a bout of infantile paralysis; one is left somewhat lame. After ten years though, Rodney tires of her self-reliance and divorces her to marry a younger woman with a more traditional idea of what a wife should be.

A year later, Louise meets Harold C. Pierson, who is less driven, but just as unconventional. After only a few hours acquaintance, he asks her to marry him, and she (somewhat to her own surprise) accepts. They have a son.

Louise inspires Harold to venture into his family's business and take out a loan to build greenhouses to grow roses. They are just about to clear the last $30,000 of their debt when the market collapses due to oversupply. They have to sell off most of their possessions and take to the road. They then encounter Svend Olsen, an aircraft builder in need of financing. Harold and the children overcome her resistance, and they commit their time and money to the venture. However, once again, their timing is bad. The day after the airplane is completed and shown to enthusiastic potential backers, the stock market crashes. The family is uprooted once more.

Two sons go to Yale University, and one of the daughters gets married. The rest of the family manages to get by with various jobs. Then, on Louise's birthday, Germany invades Poland and starts World War II. Soon, all three sons enlist; the youngest is only seventeen, but gets his mother's reluctant consent to join the Army Reserve. As he eagerly rushes off to the recruitment center, Louise laments to her husband about her failure to provide their children with a stable, prosperous life. He assures her that her indomitable example, undaunted by failure after failure, is all they need, that they may be down from time to time, but will never be out. Then the two start to discuss their next project, buying a farm.


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