I Remember Mama

Synopsis: The life of a Norwegian immigrant family in 1910 San Francisco centers around Mama and her detailed, pennywise household budget. We follow the Hansens' small joys, sorrows, and aspirations, with the boisterous antics of Uncle Chris as counterpoint.
Genre: Drama, Family
Director(s): George Stevens
  Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
134 min

For the grocer,

another group of coins...

...for Katrin's shoes

to be half-soled.

And Mama would count out the silver.

At last, Papa would ask, "Is all?"

Mama would look up then and smile.

"Is good," she'd murmur.

"We do not have to go

to the bank."

The end.

"A novel by Kathryn Hanson."

"For as long as I could remember,

the house on the Larkin Street hill...

...had been home.

Papa and Mama had both

been born in Norway...

...but they came to San Francisco

because Mama's sisters were here.

All of us were born here.

Nels, the oldest and the only boy,

my sister Christine...

...and the littlest sister, Dagmar."

But first and foremost...

...I remember Mama.

I remember that every Saturday night...

...I would sit at my desk

by the attic window...

...and write down in my diary

all my innermost thoughts.

Mama would call out to me

from downstairs.

- Katrin?

- Yes, Mama?

Katrin, come. We're waiting.

Yes, Mama. I'm coming.

It was like a weekly ritual,

those Saturday nights...

...for I remember how Mama would

sit down at the kitchen table...

...and count out the money that Papa

had brought home in the little envelope.


Yes, Mama.

Papa called. I called two times

before you answer.

I'm sorry, Mama. I was writing.

Christine, you wish to laugh,

please to laugh. No just:

Yes, Mama.

So now all are here.

Yeah, come then.

First, for the landlord.

- For the landlord.

- For the landlord.

For the landlord.


For the grocer.

- For the grocer.

- For the grocer.

In all the U.S., no cat was as brave

as Elizabeth.

In all the world, no cat was as brave

as Elizabeth.

Dagmar, put Elizabeth

onto the back porch.

In heaven or hell, no cat

was as brave as Elizabeth.

For Katrin's shoes to be half-soled.

- Katrin's shoes.

- My shoes.

Katrin's old shoes.

For Katrin's shoes.

Mama, teacher says, this week,

I'll need a new notebook.

- How much it will be?

- It's a dime.

For the notebook.

It's five. Eight. Three.

- You don't lose it.

- I won't lose it.

- You look out when you blow your nose.

- I'll look out.

Is all, Mama?


Yeah, is all for this week.

Is good. We do not have to go

to the bank.

Mama. Mama, I'll be graduating

from valley school next month.

- Yeah.

- Could I go on to high, you think?

- You want to go to high school?

- Well, I'd like to very much...

...if you think I could.

Is good.

It'll cost a little money.

Here, I've got it all written down.

Books, carfare...

- Will you get the little bank, Katrin?

- Yes, Mama.

The little bank.

That was the most important

thing in the whole house.

It was a box we used to keep

for emergencies.

The things that came out

of the little bank.

Mama was always going to buy herself

a warm coat, when there was enough...

...only there never was.

It's all there, Mama.

Carfare, clothes, notebooks...

...all things I really need.

I talked it over with Cy Nichols.

- He went to high last year.

- Is good.

Now we see.

Is there enough there, Mama?

Well, is not much in the little bank

right now.

We give to the dentist, you remember,

and for your roller skates.

I know, and there's a warm coat

you've been saving for.

Well, the coat we can get

another time, but even so, l...

You mean Nels can't go to high?

Well, is not enough here. We do not

want to have to go to the bank, do we?

No, Mama, no.

I could work in Dillon's grocery

after school.


Is not enough.

No, is not enough.

I'll stop the smoking.

I'll give up the tobacco.

Well, I...

I could mind the Maxwell children

Friday night.

Katrin could help me.

Is good. Is enough.

We do not have to go to the bank.

- Gee.

- Good.

If that's the aunts,

I'm going to my boudoir.

- I'm going to my study.

- No. You mustn't run away.

- Why, Trina.

- Trina, yeah, and all by herself.

- Say good evening to Aunt Trina, children.

- Good evening, Aunt Trina.

Good evening, children.

- How well they all look.

- You have a feather boa?

Is new? Beautiful!

- It was a present.

- A present? Lars, look.

- Trina has a present.

- Yes. Is... Is fine.

Jenny and Sigrid

don't come with you, Trina?

No. I didn't tell them I was coming.

- I want to talk to you, Martha.

- Well, come in, then.

Sit, and we talk.

- Could we talk alone?

- Alone?

If you wouldn't mind.

Children, you leave us alone a little.

I call you.

Dagmar, you go with Katrin.

Trina, what is it?

Oh, no. No, I can't say it.

Why, Trina, what is it?

It's something very personal.

No, Lars, you stay here.

We go out on front porch.

I like a breath of air. You smoke your pipe.

Be comfortable.

So, Trina, now, what is?

Martha, I want to get married.

You mean, you want to get married,

or there's someone you want to marry?

- Oh, there's someone I want to marry.

- Does he want to marry you?

He says he does.

- Trina, is wonderful.

- I think it is.

Who is?

- Mr. Thorkelson.

- From the funeral parlor.

Yeah. I know he isn't very handsome...

...and it isn't exactly what most people

think a very nice profession, but...

- You love him, Trina?

- Yeah.

Then is good.


- Martha.

- Yeah?

Will you help me tell the others?

- Jenny and Sigrid, they do not know?

- No. I was afraid they laugh at me...

...but if you tell them...

- Jenny will not like you tell me first.

Well, I can't help that. You've got

to tell them not to laugh at me.

If they laugh at me,

I'll jump in the bay.

Jenny and Sigrid will not laugh, Trina.

- I promise you that.

- Oh, thank you, Martha.

Come now.

And Uncle Chris?

Will you talk to him?

Well, it is Mr. Thorkelson

who must talk to Uncle Chris.

Always it is husband who must

talk to the head of the family.

Yes, I know that, but Uncle Chris

is very frightening.

He's so big and black,

and he shouts so...

...and Mr. Thorkelson

is kind of timid, really.

But Trina, if he's to be your husband...

...he must learn not to be timid.

You do not want husband

should be timid.

You are timid. Is not good

when both are timid.

No. Jenny and Sigrid I talk to...

...but Mr. Thorkelson must go

to Uncle Chris.

Martha, look. Is Jenny and Sigrid now.

I see Jenny and Sigrid first.

You go into my bedroom.

Wait there till I call you.

Lars, Jenny and Sigrid come.

No, no, I like you stay a little.


Oh, wait, Jenny. I must get my breath.

- This hill kills me every time I climb it.

- You climb bigger hills than that...

...in the old country.

- Well, I was a girl in the old country.

- Hello, Martha.

- Jenny, Sigrid, Arne.

- Is surprise.

- Good evening, Aunt Martha.

Good evening, Arne.

- Has Trina been here?

- Trina?

She's gone somewhere, and she

doesn't know anyone but you.

That is what you think.

Give Lars your coat.

I give you some coffee...

...then we talk about Trina.

Arne, the children are upstairs.

That's good, Aunt Martha.

- Can I play with this, Aunt Martha?

- Yeah, sure, Arne, but you don't break it.

- Trina has been here.

- Yeah, she has been here.

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DeWitt Bodeen

DeWitt Bodeen (July 25, 1908, Fresno, California — March 12, 1988, Los Angeles, California) was a film screenwriter and television writer best known for writing Cat People (1942). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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