Alice Adams

Synopsis: In the small town of South Renford, Alice Adams comes from a working class background, although she aspires to be among the upper class. Alice's mother blames her husband for their low social standing, despite his working hard and Alice not blaming him for anything. Regardless, Alice tries to do whatever necessary to put on appearances of wealth and social standing, despite everyone in that class in town knowing who she is, and thus largely ignoring her because of her false airs. First meeting at a society ball, Alice surprisingly catches the eye of Arthur Russell, surprisingly as he purportedly is engaged to débutante Mildred Palmer. As Alice continues to hide her true social standing from Arthur as he courts her, Mrs. Adams pressures Mr. Adams into doing something he doesn't want to do in an effort truly to become part of the business class, that measure which entails sinking all his money into a business venture. Beyond the time when Arthur finds out the true nature behind Alice's f
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): George Stevens
Production: Turner Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
99 min

Good afternoon.

Yes. I'd like to buy a corsage,

something nice to wear to a party.

That's the Palmer party, I suppose.

We've just had so many calls today...

...that there isn't a great deaI left

except a couple of nice orchids.

They're $5 a piece.

No, I wore orchids to the last party.

How about gardenias?

I can make you up

a mighty nice corsage for $6.50.

I'm afraid not. Gardenias are so ordinary.

I want something different.

When one goes to a lot of parties,

it's so difficult to find something originaI.

Something no one else

would think of wearing.

Those violets are lovely.

Yeah, they're $2 a bunch.

Of course, they're the first of the season.

Really? They're sweet...

...but they wouldn't go

with my gown, of course.

I should have come in earlier

when you had a better selection...

...but I had so many engagements.

I hardly see anything that will do.

Thank you just the same.

Why, Alice, what kept you so long?

These. I picked them in Bellevue Park,

186 of them.

Enough for a darling corsage for tonight.

- Poor child, picking them yourself.

- Never mind. I got them.

How's Dad?

He's better today, much better.


It's you, is it?

Want something else, VirgiI? A little fruit?

- You're not eating your soup.

- Don't want it.

You must eat it.

You've got to get your strength back.

You've got to get good and strong

so you can fly around...

...and find something good to get into.

So that's it, hinting at that again!

I'm not doing any hinting.

But of course, when you get well,

you can't go back to that old hole again.

Old hole, is it?

Let me tell you that Lamb's is the best

wholesale drug company in this state.

I don't care what it is.

It's an old hole as far as you're concerned.

If not for me then for your children.

You should look for something else.


Yes, I'm coming.

Look at your daughter.

She's going to a big party tonight...

...and she's wearing a dress

that's two years old.

Oh, dear.

- How do you expect her to get anywhere?

- Mother!

For heaven's sake,

can't you wait untiI Dad's up and around...

...before you start hammering at him?

I'm not hammering at him.

Besides, Alice, I think I ought to know

by this time how to handle your father.

Poor old Daddykins!

Every time he's better,

someone talks him into getting mad...

...and he has a relapse.

It's a shame.

Well, it's kind of funny for a man

who's been in business...

...with Lamb and Company

as long as I have... hear it called an old hole.

That's what your mother calls it.

It's a mighty pleasant place to work.

I know, Daddy, but it's that mother feels

they don't appreciate you down there.

They've hoisted my salary every two years

all the time I've worked for them...

...and they took Walter right on

as soon as I asked them last year.

Old Mr. Lamb has been wonderfuI to me...

...holding my job open

while I've been sick all this time.

Don't you think that looks

as if they've thought something of me?

Of course.

It's just that it's kind of funny when

you think you've done pretty fairly well...

...and the man at the head of it

seems to think so, too.

It's kind of funny to have your mother...

...think you're mostly a failure.

You're not a failure, Daddy.

You're not.

I'm going to talk to Mother.

You better not.

- I don't want to start anything.

- Don't worry.

Don't you worry.

Don't you think you and I

are both a little selfish...

...trying to make poor old dad

go out and get something better?

After all, we've got enough, really.


I suppose you've got a limousine

to take you to the dance tonight.

I suppose you only got to call the florist

and order up some orchids.

Not orchids.

Violets, the first of the season,

picked fresh today.

I suppose you picked yourself

a new dress, too.

I don't think anyone'll recognize

that organdy with the new flounces on it.

What's Mildred Palmer

going to wear tonight?

I don't know.

Her maize Georgette, probably.

The one she brought back from Paris.

There's your brother.

Are you sure he'll take me

to the party tonight?

Why, of course. Why shouldn't he?

I don't know. He may have one

of his mysterious dates downtown.

Don't worry, Alice.

You just leave him to me.

- When do we eat?

- Now, Walter, there's no hurry.

Is for me. I've got a date.

I'm glad you remembered the Palmer dance.

I've laid out your clothes.

I told you over a week ago,

I'm not goin' to that old dance.

- But, Walter.

- Don't "but, Walter" me.

I'm no society snake.

I'm as liable to go to that Palmer dance

as I am to eat a few barrels of broken glass.

Now, Walter-

Let her get somebody else to take her.

She ought to at least be able

to get one guy. She tries hard enough.

I haven't got time to argue.

I'll grab a bite downtown.

You can't do this. Now, you can't.

It's more than I can bear to see her

disappointed after planning for days.

She's spent hours in Bellevue Park

picking violets to wear...

...because she can't afford to buy a bouquet

like the other girls.

Now you act this way.


That's a good boy, darling.

You'll never be sorry.

It's all right, dear.

Walter will be glad to take you.

Yes, he certainly sounded thrilled.

Well, you look mighty fine.

Mighty fine.

- Why, Alice, who's your beau?

- Never you mind.

He treats me pretty well, doesn't he?

Must like to throw his money around.

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Booth Tarkington

Newton Booth Tarkington (July 29, 1869 – May 19, 1946) was an American novelist and dramatist best known for his novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams. He is one of only three novelists to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once, along with William Faulkner and John Updike. Although he is little read now, in the 1910s and 1920s he was considered America's greatest living author. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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