Review: Roughly Speaking (1945)

Think Mrs. Miniver, only the family is American (not British), they valiantly carry on through the Great Depression (rather than the Great War), and it stars Rosalind Russell (in the Greer Garson role.) And I have no idea why it’s called Roughly Speaking.

Rosalind Russell is the matriarch of a perpetually perky family in this domestic drama through the decades. No matter what hard luck life throws at them–polio, divorce, the Depression–Louise Pierson’s determination and never-say-die attitude propels her family through thick and thin.

Directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Pierson’s autobiography, Roughly Speaking is mildly successful as a heartwarming comedy/drama and Russell is very good in the lead, but the perkiness factor begins to wear thin by the time WWII rolls around.

Three odd but interesting notes about the film:

  • Before this film, I don’t think I’d ever heard the Yale fight song, and after this film I don’t need to ever hear it again. Bow wow wow.
  • In the 1920s segment, Russell’s character utters the earliest instance I think I’ve ever heard of “Let’s not and say we did.” Whether they were being true to the period or stuck a bit of slang in from the film’s era I couldn’t say.
  • The youngest son in the Pierson family, Frank Pierson, grew up to be a screenwriter/director and is currently the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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