Thursday, May 16, 2024

Thursday Film Picks-Sacrificing Moms


My mom would have given her life for me and my brother. She felt we were her biggest accomplishments ( thankfully, not disappointments). Since Mother's Day just past, I thought I would talk about 3 films where mom did her all for her scratch that, for her sweet children. Here are my 3...


I may have spoken about this film before but it's a great film starring Barbara Stanwyck as a woman, from the wrong side of the tracks, who marries a rich guy and has a daughter. As soon as she has the daughter, her love goes to this baby even though she didn't show much aptitude for anything before. She makes sure her daughter has the best and, when she realizes her daughter is embarrassed by her mom's classlessness, she makes sure to stay out of the picture. It's very well acted but I will say, even when I saw this as a kid, I thought her daughter was a bit of a jerk, or jerkess. 


This is a favourite film of mine starring Jane Wyman ( the first Mrs. Reagan) as a deaf mute living on a farm with her dad and Aunt. Along comes this kindly Dr who realizes that she has intelligence but must cut through the blindspot of the dad and aunt. When they notice that she can talk through sign language, they are overjoyed until she is raped by the local thug. No matter, she loves her baby and will do everything she can to protect her baby. It is a touching and sweet film despite the violent part but, thankfully, they don't show anything( unlike today where they feel they have to show this). I love this movie and thought the acting was excellent.


Lana Turner plays a somewhat ok mom who loves her ambition of being an actress over being a mom or 50s housewife( I am with her on the latter). She meets up with Juanita Moore, a black lady with her own daughter who could pass for white. This beautiful mom cares for both girls and even the other mom living with Lana and caring for everyone. We follow the ups and downs of the 2 moms and the daughters. When the daughter from Juanita does not want to be known as black and doesn't want anyone to know her mom. Her mom, devastated, accepts what her daughter wants and sacrifices everything for the love of her ungrateful bitch of a daughter. Sorry, too harsh? This is a lavish soapy directed by Douglas Sirk known for these films and the lush style. I still need to see the 1934 original with Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers which I will, one day. Oh, this film came out around the same time that Lana’s 14 yr old daughter was on trial for the stabbing death of Lana’s mafia boyfriend. The rumour is that Lana stabbed her boyfriend but her daughter took the rap declaring she was protecting her mom. WHO knows what is true except he was dead…good riddance.

What film can you think of that represents a sacrificing mom?


  1. I'm sure I've seen Johnny Belinda but I can't remember. The other two are great choices. I love them both and have seen each a few times or more.

    I know I've seen a number of films that fit this category. The only one that immediately comes to mind is Panic Room with Jodie Foster. She goes to pretty extreme lengths for her children. Seems like Foster has done a few movies with this similar theme, but I can't name any others.


    1. There are many, like Mildred Pierce, but I wanted to stay away from the most famous. Yes, Jodie made a film called Little Man, Tate and another where she lost her child on an airplane and everyone thinks she is crazy.

  2. I've seen Imitation of Life. Not the others, but I've heard of them. I'm pretty sure this is a popular trope, so I'm sure there are all sorts of great examples. I'm drawing a blank, though.

    1. Oh yes, quite a few from Mildred Pierce to that film with Sally Field and Julia Roberts.

  3. Hi Birgit!

    I knew Stella Dallas would be one of your picks as soon as I saw the theme! While the surrounding film is a bit clunky Barbara Stanwyck is just brilliant in the lead. Her final shot is a great piece of cinema. I don't think Laurel is a jerk, just young and naive but she loves Stella without question. I've also seen the other two versions. The silent with Belle Bennett, Ronald Colman and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr took some getting use to but was overall a decent take on the story. Bette Midler's Stella had its moments but doesn't resonate the way Missy Stanwyck's does.

    Johnny Belinda isn't my favorite Jane Wyman performance (that would be "All That Heaven Allows") but it is in my top 5 of her work. I found it interesting that to maintain her level of concentration she only communicated through sign language during filming. Her performance is very fine. She's the standout but the rest of the cast is excellent as well.

    As you know I ADORE this version of "Imitation of Life" and wrote a post about it back on Dell's blog for one of his girl weeks. All four of the leads are marvelous with Juanita adding so much emotional depth to Annie and Lana bringing the uber glamour as Lora. I don't think Lora loves her career over Susie but with Annie's strong hand guiding the family she's able to focus on maintaining her success, which is her role in their unit. Susie being immature doesn't fully understand the complicated demands Lora has on her, and to be fair Lora is driven and self involved despite being a loving and kind woman. There conflict however is put in the shade by the one between Annie and Sarah Jane whose issues are bone deep.

    Of the three I thought of outside your excellent picks the first just has to be "Mildred Pierce" with Joan Crawford sacrificing an insane amount of things for her pit viper daughter Veda played so amazingly well by Ann Blyth. Then on the lighter side there is Diane Keaton in Baby Boom who ends up giving up her career, albeit ultimately to find a new path for them both and finally 1951's "The Mating Season" wherein Thelma Ritter pretends to be her son's family maid to help he and his new bride Gene Tierney get settled in life without Gene's knowledge. Both Thelma and the film are adorable.

    1. I knew you would choose Mildred which is the Mother of all mother films and a great pick but I wanted to stay clear of this one because it is famous. I think the girl was a jerk due to the end because I would never stop from having my mom at my wedding especially how her mom treated her through most of the film. I never got into that Wyman film, I just love Belinda especially Lee Ayres. Yes, I know you love this version and rightly so. Juanita Moore blew me away with her acting.
      Diane Keaton is good in Baby Boom and I did find it funny.
      I have not seen your last pick but would love to because it stars Thelma Ritter, one of my favs.

  4. BIRGIT ~

    I'm not sure I've seen any of your three choices here.

    Joel's mention of 'The Mating Season' has me intrigued. (*Anything* with Gene Tierney in it! Ooh, mama!!)

    I couldn't help thinking of 'I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka', in which Keenan Ivory Wayan's mom shows she will do anything to protect her son. :^D

    ~ D-FensDogG

    1. Oh my…I am not sure about your choice..hahahaaa

  5. Well, there's always Sophie's Choice. The unimaginable sacrifice.