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Movies My Family Quotes: Part Five

October 26th, 2008 · 2 Comments

It’s highly appropriate that I would be posting this on a Sunday, because this has long been one of our favorite Sunday afternoon movies.


Pollyanna (1960)

I haven’t checked into it thoroughly, but I’m fairly certain that this movie is the only Disney film to feature nudity. :P Sure, it’s the backside of a 11-ish year-old boy skinny dipping in a creek, but it’s always cracked me up. This movie is fluffy and kinda cheesy and incredibly optimistic, but I love it. Sometimes, you need fluffy and cheesy and incredibly optimistic. Sometimes, you want to be Pollyanna.

This was Hayley Mills’ first movie for Hollywood (she’d previously appeared in a film produced in England titled Tiger Bay), and she’s simply amazing as Pollyanna Whittier, an orphan who comes to a small town named Harrington, named after her grandfather, where her old-maid Aunt Polly (Jane Wyman) pretty much runs the town. Polly is not unkind, but is cold and forbidding, as is the rest of the town. Everyone snipes at each other, from the chambermaid to the mayor. The reverend gives hellfire and damnation sermons once a week, the Ladies’ Aid society gives charity baskets out of a sense of duty to people who are forced to accept them whether they want it or not. Old hypochondriac ladies terrorize the neighborhood and their daughters, and hermits keep kids locked up in their basements (okay, he doesn’t, but that’s the rumor :P). It’s not a very friendly place– until Pollyanna comes to town. Despite her tragic history (before her parents died, she’d lived in poverty in the British West Indies–used to explain her English accent in a small American town), she’s upbeat and optimistic. She finds joy in the smallest things– getting new clothes, having a room of her own, having roast chicken on Sundays. It’s all part of her father’s philosophy, the Glad Game, where you find something to be glad about, no matter how bad your circumstances might be.

While initially resistant to Pollyanna’s unconquerable enthusiasm for life, one by one the townspeople succumb to her charm, and life begins to change in Harrington town. The only one left unchanged is aunt Polly– at least, she remains unchanged until a tragic accident occurs. But this is a Disney film, and of course, there’s a happy ending.

Along the way, there’s some great quotable lines. From “Well, let’s just say there are about sixty eleven things you could have said besides that!” and “Go away from me, please, little boy” to “There’s something kind of, I don’t know, funny about him” and “What do you know about it? You’re nothing but a child!” and “And you know I can do it too!!” there’s a lot of good stuff to quote (but don’t try to pass off “If you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will” as actually being said by Abraham Lincoln, because he never said that. They made it up. :P). And then there’s the bazaar scene. Man, that bazaar. My dad remembers having these kinds of church functions in his youth, but they just don’t do things like this anymore:

Someday, I’m going to make a gigantic three-layer cake like that. I dream about those cakes and that watermelon and. . . mmmmm. The lady on the drums cracks me up. And my family cannot, absolutely cannot sing “America the Beautiful” without saying “BRAAAAtherhood.” It’s a physical impossibility.

If you’ve never seen this movie, or if it’s been a while (I know my parents used to watch it every year in school– did any of you ever watch it in school?), please see it. It’s an absolutely charming film.

Tags: Movies

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 missteece // Apr 20, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I so loved that movie as a kid! My baby sister watched it literally over 20 times!
    My family cannot sing America the Beautiful without singing it Hayley’s way either! We like to tease my mom and call her a Pollyanna because she often plays “the glad game.” She is the most positive person I know besides my husband. Maybe that’s why they are my two favorite people in the world! Unfortunately, I’m more like Nancy in my estimation of the world. But then again we need Nancy’s right?

  • 2 missteece // Apr 20, 2009 at 10:10 am

    BTW, I must tell you the story how I found your site: That line, “Death comes unexpectedly” was going through my head this morning for some reason and I couldn’t for the life of me remember what movie it was from. It was driving me nuts! Was it the Princess Bride? I can pretty much recite that movie and I couldn’t find that line anywhere. So I went to google and typed in Death comes unacceptingly, cuz I couldn’t remember the exact line. Nothing came up so I modified it and found your site. I’m so glad I did!

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