The Naked Venus

Synopsis: A young American painter and his French wife move with their small daughter to the US when the husband's father dies. His mother takes an instant dislike to the wife, and when she finds out that her daughter-in-law is a nudist who once posed naked for an artist, she declares her son's wife to be an unfit mother and sets out to break up the marriage--which may not be difficult to do, as the son is a weak-willed "mama's boy" who's terrified to stand up against his domineering mother.


No, we must get closer.

Now, that's it.

Oh, Mrs. Dixon is going to like this.


I'm afraid of your mother. Let's not go.

Now, honey...


Look... we've been all

through this before.

Can't you get it into your little head,

my father died. My mother needs me.

I've got to go and you're going with me.

You'll like her and she'll

love you and Sherie.

She doesn't even know I exist.

Why didn't you tell her, Bob?

In all these years...

Why couldn't you have said:

"I got married, and we have a child"?

Was it easier to live a lie?

A white lie.

I had to.

I wasn't supposed to stay on in

Paris after my army discharge.

And take up painting of all things.

But I did. And I was

lucky. Damned lucky.

Didn't the Museum of Contemporary

Art in New York buy my painting?

You aren't just lucky, Bob.

You are a good painter.

I am now. Even in my mother's eyes.



Just try to get used to her.

She's quite a gal.

Sure she can be stubborn as a mule, but

there's nothing she wouldn't do for me.

And you, you're part of me, funny-face.

Look. We're packed.

Jim's found us someone to take

over our lease until we come back.

And we're coming back,

honey. I love Paris.

I found myself here. And you.

For the first time, you did

something you wanted to do.


And you didn't listen to anybody.

Not even to your mother.

For once, you were yourself.

And oh Bob, I loved you for it.

And I love you, too.

Even when you're a pain in the neck.

Now come on, you're tired. We can

finish packing in the morning.

Bob, we don't have to go.

We don't have to do anything.

But we're going.

And you'll love California. Ma's got a

big place. Swimming pool, tennis courts

You can play tennis with her.

A good way to get acquainted.

I bet I can wangle a

sports-car out of mother.

I can pay her back when I get

the money from the will.

Hey. You smiled.

- I'm scared.

- You're not scared.

Oh, who in the heck is that, now?



Sorry old boy, we're already in bed.

Oh, have a heart. We've got to

finish packing in the morning.

The New York Times?

Ah, no don't read it to me.

I'll be right over in a moment.

You'd better forget the drink.

Yvonne is making a face already.

I must go?

The art critic of the New York

Times liked Naked Venus.

He says I can paint.

- Don't leave me alone tonight.

- What's so different about tonight?


Oh, quit worrying. Everything

is going to work out just great.

Hi, everybody.

- Thanks. You mind?

- Why should I?

Say, Jim. Pretty good, huh? I like

what he says about my brush stroke.

And this:
"definitely a

personality... in the making."

What's the matter with that guy?

He's a critic, kid. He's got

to criticize something.

To our fuming genius.

How is Yvonne?

- Lousy, thanks.

- Why? What's the problem?

She's already made up her mind.

She and mother won't get along.

Of course they won't.

Mothers-in-law and wives never do.

Why try to be different?

Poor Bob... if you hadn't tried to ditch

me, you wouldn't have that problem.

I know how to handle

your precious mother.

- That's just what I was afraid of.

- And what else?

Don't try and find out. I did.

Look who's talking.

And where would you be

dear, if it weren't for me?

Working... it could be, you know.

The great sculptor talking.

That's all he ever does. Talk.

Okay sweetheart. Jim talks.

- Some people find it very entertaining.

- I don't.

Not when I have to cough up the rent.

I'm not a bank, you know.

- Unfortunately not.

- You'd like that, wouldn't you.

I'd love it.

Which reminds me, old pal.

Now that you're a millionaire.

Where do you get

this "millionaire" stuff?

What I'm getting isn't near that.

And I haven't gotten it yet.

- Should we feel sorry for him?

- Bob's got problems.

Me too. I need say... 200,000 francs.

Just to tide me over

until I make The Louvre.

What's 600 dollars for you?

Look Jim, that...

That trip with wife and kid

just about cleans me out.

You're forgetting the poodle.

It costs a lot to take him along.

Sherie wouldn't go without Caviar.

He sounds already like a millionaire.

More like a bourgeois.

Saving for that rainy day.

That's that "personality" in the making.

Like it says in The Times.

Cut it out you two.

It's funny it's such an unpleasant

subject, isn't it old man.

You poor dear. Being

stuck with Fort Knox.

- What is it with you two?

- Nothing.

We are just plain broke.

Leave him be. He's got a

wife and daughter to support.

And a blue-blood poodle.

That's rough.

So long you guys.

See you when I get back.

Make it someday soon.

- Bob.

- Mother.

And here's out little family, well.

I'm Bob's mother.

- And you are Yvonne?

- Yes, Mrs. Dixon.

And here is my son's little daughter.


We've been talking for quite a while but

we're both trying to avoid something.

Tell me about yourself.

There is very little to tell.

Anything and everything interests

me when it concerns my son's life.

How did you two meet?

He's never told me.


Oh, you paint, too?

No. I model.


Gowns for one of the famous

Paris fashion houses, I take it?

I model for painters.

Artists like Bob.

- In the nude?

- Of course.

You must forgive my son. He was

always a little... eccentric.

There is nothing strange

about being nude.


We here feel a little

different about such things.

Of course, you French

have your own ideas.

In a way, it's charming.

So... Bob painted you?

And then?

We began seeing each other afterwards.

And we discovered we

liked the same things.

Now then, while you kept seeing my boy.

Going steady, as we call it here.

You posed for other painters?

Yes. I had to support myself.

Does it pay well,

being an artist's model?

You must forgive my ignorance.

No. But I'm fond of artists.

They are nice people mostly.

Did you go to college?

I started.

I had to give it up.

I couldn't afford it.

You speak English quite well.

My mother was American.

We'll make a little lady out of Sherie.

I'm very grateful.

It's my duty. I'm Bob's mother.

And I love to do it.

Only, we won't be here all the time.

Bob and I are planning

on going back to France.

We still have our apartment.

And he has his work.

I wouldn't worry, dear. Apartments

can be rented, furniture stored.

And there are many things worth

painting this side of our world.

Well, I see you two girls

are getting along just fine.

Your mother's been very kind.

I had a long talk with

your charming wife.

Very enlightening.

I'm happy to report

your daughter likes this.

Yvonne asks to be excused.

She's all tired out.

- The change of climate, probably.

- Do you think she's happy here?

She loves it, mother.

My dear boy. She loathes this country.

Can't you tell?

Now don't be so shocked.

Sit here, close to me.

We used to be friends, remember?

You never called me mother.

Always "Mary Lou"

- I've almost forgotten.

- Yes.

You've forgot a lot of things, Bob.

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Gabriel Gort

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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