Mrs. Parkington

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Mrs. Parkington
Mrs. Parkington Video cover.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Tay Garnett
Produced by Leon Gordon
Screenplay by Robert Thoeren
Polly James
Based on Mrs. Parkington
1943 novel 
by Louis Bromfield
Starring Greer Garson
Walter Pidgeon
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Cinematography Joseph Ruttenberg
Edited by George Boemler
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • October 12, 1944 (1944-10-12) (United States)
Running time
124 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,574,000[1]
Box office $5,631,000[1]

Mrs. Parkington is a 1944 drama film.[2][3] It tells the story of a woman's life, told in flashbacks, from hotel maid to society matron. The movie was adapted by Polly James and Robert Thoeren from the novel by Louis Bromfield. It was directed by Tay Garnett and starred Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon appearing together as husband and wife for the fourth time.


Susie Parkington (Greer Garson), an elderly society matron, is surrounded by her many relatives at her stately home at Christmastime in 1938, with the exception of her beloved great-granddaughter Jane (Frances Rafferty). When Jane does appear she informs her great-grandmother that she plans to elope with Ned Talbot (Tom Drake), her father's employee, who wishes to take her away from her family and their way of life. Susie arranges a meeting with Ned, where he reveals that Jane's father Amory (Edward Arnold) is being questioned for fraud and he planned to take Jane away in order to hide her from the truth. Susie sends Ned away, telling Jane to forget about him, and after hearing her grandson-in-law's side of the story makes the decision to ask her heirs to pay off Amory's debts with a loan ($31 million), much to her family's disgust, as it will mean that they may lose their inheritance.

As her family bickers, Susie has flashbacks to her own humble beginnings; she was a chambermaid at her mother's modest guesthouse. It was there that she met the wealthy Major Augustus Parkington (Walter Pidgeon), whom she married following her mother's death. Shortly after the marriage Susie is introduced to Baroness Aspasia Conti (Agnes Moorehead), a French aristocrat and close friend of Augustus, who helps Susie pick out clothes and accessories suitable for a woman of her station. Unbeknownst to Susie, Augustus asks Aspasia's help in furnishing a grand house he has built for his wife. Susie, originally grateful for Aspasia's help, grows tired of her constant presence. Susie announces that she is pregnant, and Aspasia departs on friendly terms. An elated Augustus holds a ball to celebrate, inviting the wealthiest and most socially-prominent citizens of the town, but his happiness turns to fury when most of them refuse to attend due to Augustus' questionable business dealings. His rage upsets Susie, and when she runs upstairs, away from the dinner party, she stumbles and falls downstairs, miscarrying the child. In his anger, Augustus blames those who declined to attend the ball for Susie's miscarriage and vows to get revenge.

Four years pass, during which Augustus manages to force out of business many of those who snubbed him and Susie. After one of their neighbours, Mrs. Livingstone (Alma Kruger), informs Susie about her husband's tactics and the resulting suicide of another neighbor following the collapse of his business. Mrs. Livingstone pleads with Susie to speak to Augustus to prevent him from putting Mr. Livingstone out of business. Susie has words with Augustus, who remains unrepentant. Susie decides to separate from him and takes up new quarters elsewhere with Aspasia. Several weeks pass before Augustus begs his wife to return home, revealing that he has been unsuccessful in his mission to put the Livingstones out of business. Susie then informs him that she has been financially supporting the Livingstone business and that his vendetta must stop. Augustus agrees and the couple reunite.

Their marriage faces further troubles, however, when the Parkingtons' son Herbert dies, Susie becomes a recluse for a year and Augustus takes residence in England, renting a lavish country home and carrying on an affair with Lady Norah Ebbsworth. Aspasia manages to convince Susie to fight for her marriage. She follows him to England and convinces him to end his affair, with the assistance of the Prince of Wales. Following this, Aspasia reveals that she will be moving back to Paris. She also admits to Susie that she has always been in love with Augustus. Susie reveals that she has always known. After Aspasia departs for France, Augustus and Susie have a heart-to-heart discussion about their family, during which Augustus reveals that despite loathing those who receive money without deserving it, their children and grandchildren will lack for nothing as long as they know the value of money.

Back in the present, Susie realises her misgivings about her family; they have rejected her offer to bail Amory out for fear of losing their inheritance, meaning that he will be sent to prison. Seeing how distraught Jane is, having lost both her father and her lover, Susie makes the decision to bail out Amory anyway, telling Jane to follow her heart and go after Ned. Her family flees the home in disgust after learning they will be cut off by their grandmother, while Susie gleefully decides she will start all over again.



Garson was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress and Agnes Moorehead for Best Supporting Actress. Moorehead also won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.

Box Office[edit]

According to MGM records the film earned $3,062,000 in the US and Canada and $2,569,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $2,198,000.[1]

Radio adaptation[edit]

Mrs. Parkington was presented on Lux Radio Theatre November 25, 1946. Pidgeon and Garson reprised their roles from the film.[4]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ Variety film review; September 20, 1944, page 10.
  3. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; September 23, 1944, page 156.
  4. ^ "'Lux' Guest". Harrisburg Telegraph. November 23, 1946. p. 19. Retrieved September 13, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read

External links[edit]