An angelic governess (Ingrid Bergman) is pitted against a manipulative shrew (Susan Hayward) in the family saga ADAM HAD FOUR SONS.
ADAM HAD FOUR SONS spans the years from 1907 through the end of World War I, depicting the Stoddard family's joys and tragedies. Ingrid Bergman plays Emelie, the devoted French governess to the four Stoddard boys. It's a bit of a tearjerker in the early going, but when bad girl Susan Hayward marries into the family, things perk up, leading to a climactic confrontation between the two women once Bergman has had enough of Hayward's sneaky shenanigans. Although the film has a touch of old-fashioned melodrama, it's engrossing and worth seeing.
Warner Baxter plays Adam Stoddard, and Fay Wray plays his wife, Molly. Character actress Helen Westley plays Cousin Phillippa. The Stoddard sons are portrayed as young men by Richard Denning, Johnny Downs, Robert Shaw, and Charles Lind.
June Lockhart, who was 15 at the time the film was made, is appealing as Vance, the somewhat fey next-door neighbor who has a crush on the youngest Stoddard son. Lockhart began her film career in 1938, appearing with her parents as members of the Cratchit family in A CHRISTMAS CAROL. June then appeared in the Bette Davis film ALL THIS, AND HEAVEN TOO; following ADAM HAD FOUR SONS she played Rosie York in the classic SERGEANT YORK. Lockhart has acted steadily ever since, including MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, LASSIE, LOST IN SPACE, GENERAL HOSPITAL, and even a 2006 episode of GREY'S ANATOMY. (Her fellow guest star in that episode was another former MGM actress, Betty Garrett.) June's daughter Anne continues the family acting tradition.
ADAM HAD FOUR SONS was filmed in black and white and runs 81 minutes. It was directed by Gregory Ratoff.
Last year the movie aired for the first time on TCM. It's also available on VHS and DVD.
Reviews of the DVD can be read at Digitally Obsessed and DVD Talk.