Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Q&A with The Movie Mom

posted by Nell Minow

I love to hear from readers, and I welcome questions on everything from what to tell an eight year old who says every other kid in 4th grade gets to go to PG-13 movies, how to find a DVD for a 10-year-old who loves horses, to what to do with a toddler who wants to watch the same move every single day to what to say to a teenager who wants to go to a slasher film. Recently, I’ve had a lot of questions from readers of my reviews asking me to help track down movies they can’t quite remember:
Q: I am looking for the name of a classic from 1961. It is set in the French Riviera childhood friends become lovers, boy wants to leave small town goes to sea comes back to find out his girl has given birth to a baby and his fathers friend marries the girl and raises the child to only have the father die and reunite the biological father and baby. Can you help me!
A: You are thinking of the lovely movie Fanny with Leslie Caron. It is based on a French trilogy and a Broadway musical. This version has some of the music on the soundtrack, but is not a musical.


Q: There was a classic movie I watched as a kid where a girl runs away from home to see her dad in California and meets Santa. He travels with her and when they finally meet he sings a song that kinda goes like this…”It almost wasn’t Christmas this year cause Santa wouldn’t go…..”
A: That’s a made-for-TV movie called “It Nearly Wasn’t Christmas” with Charles Durning as Santa and Wayne Osmond (of the Osmond Brothers) as the dad.
Q: Can you tell me the name of the film in which a young girl and her dad,bring up a family of geese. They teach them to fly with the aid of a microlite?
A: That movie is Fly Away Home with Anna Paquin and Jeff Daniels. One of my favorites!
Q: I can’t remember the name of this movie about a man and a woman who meet once they are dead and go through some sort of “afterlife processing” together. The man led a pretty selfish life, the woman led a really nice life. The two watch their past lives on tv monitor type things together. They both go before some sort of review board. At the end they are put on seprate trains to go to different afterlives, but somehow they find each other. That is all I remember, I’d really appreciate your help finding the title
A: I love that movie! Defending Your Life with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep.
Q: I am looking for the name of a movie about Santa battling the devil. I think it was made in Mexico in the late 60’s or very early 70’s. It was not very good but we laugh to this day about it. If you can find the name for me that would be great.
A: That is one way-out movie! It’s actually a 1959 Mexican movie released in the US in 1960 called “Santa Claus.” Santa and Merlin fight Pitch, the devil. You can read more about it here. Amazingly, it is not available on video or DVD!
Q: There was a movie released not long ago where a lady author was writing a book and the male star was the object of the book. Everytime she wrote something it happened to the guy in the movie like he was living the life of the star of the book. do you know the name?
Answer: It was on my top 10 list last year! It’s Stranger Than Fiction with Emma Thompson and Will Ferrell.
Q: I’m trying to find the title of this old black and white movie that I saw as a child. It was about a single black woman who was a maid to this single white woman. The black maid had a daughter by a white man so her daughter was very fair in complexion and would often pass as white. One of the girls name was Sara Jane but I can’t remember if it was the daughter of the maid or the woman she was working for. The white woman was poor at the time that she hired the black woman to be her maid but she later because a famous actress and moved up in the world. The maids daughter had ran away and was working as a dancer in a night club. There is a scene at the end of the movie when the black woman dies and Mahalia Jackson sings at her funeral. The daughter comes back for her mother’s funeral and throws herself on her caskets as she is being lead away in a carriage that had 12 white horses leading the way.
Answer: That movie is Imitation of Life. You are referring to the remake with Lana Turner, Sandra Dee, and Juanita Moore. That funeral scene is unforgettable. The one with Mahalia Jackson is in color, but there is also an earlier version of the story by the same name in black and white.
Do you have a question? Send it to me at moviemom[@]moviemom.com I look forward to hearing from you! (I never reveal names or identifying information of my correspondents, but if you want your question to remain confidential, just let me know.}



  • Kaylie

    I’ve been going crazy trying to think of a movie I watched all the time when I was little. I was born in 1990 so it may have been some time around there. All I remember is that there was a little girl who was kind of a brat and her mother wishes that she was better behaved. It was a cartoon and somehow the little girl ends up in this kind of fantasy land where she has a best friend made of sugar. I don’t remember the friend’s name, but if he got wet he would melt. The two are trying to find a way to send the girl home. I think there was a princess or someone that helped the little girl too. I know she battled a witch in the end. Oh! And there were these frog people who take the girl in and want her to marry their son. In order to do so, they have to turn her into a frog. Some sort of evil witch or something gives the frog parents these strawberries (maybe? perhaps another kind of berry) and says that the girl has to eat all three in order to turn completely into a frog. Well, she only eats like two and then escapes. I know that in the end, she goes home and realizes that she wants to be a good kid. Please please please help me!! I know a lot of the details but the movie is no where to be found. Email me or something, please! Thank you.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for writing, Kaylie! I think the movie you are thinking of is Thumbelina: A Magical Story not the Don Bluth version but one made by Enoki films. You can get a used copy on Amazon. Let me know if that’s the right one!

  • Amie

    I was wondering why your reviews aren’t on Yahoo! anymore. I really like reading them. What’s the easiest way to read reviews from older movies, like Fly Away Home?

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for tracking me down, Amie! All of my reviews are being transferred over one by one and will be here eventually. You can do a search by title in the search box, and you will also be able to do searches by age recommendation, genre, and grade. In the meantime, if there is one you can’t find, email me a moviemom@moviemom.com or check my page on Rottentomatoes.com. Glad you found me and I hope you will visit and post often.

  • iorek

    In the movie Bruges, the local gun merchant lives in an eccentric apartment with a large painting prominently displayed. How can I find out more about that painting?

  • LW

    I am looking for a black and white movie that I saw as a child (I am now 45). It was about a black girl who was embarrassed of her mom. Didn’t want her around and was very mean to her mom. The mom dies and the girl wishes she had done things differently. That’s all I remember about it. Does anyone recognize it. It was on tv.. Thanks.

  • Nell Minow

    I am pretty sure you are thinking of “Imitation of Life,” LW. It was filmed twice, once in black and white and once in color. You probably remember the version with Lana Turner and Sandra Dee and Juanita Moore. The black girl wanted to pass as white and when her mother came to see her, she pretended she was her family’s maid. Is that it?
    Thanks for writing!

  • Your Name

    i was wondering if you could help identify a movie i am looking for.__it was a really old movie and it was about a white woman who has a black child and she always kept him hidden from her guests because i guess she was ashamed…well he tried to use powder to make his skin white….i am not really sure about any thing else in the movie..it looked like it was in the 30’s 40’s era.____Another movie i was wondering about either came out in the 80’s or 90’s…i think its about elderly people in a nursing home of some sort wishing they were young again and when they wake up they are…i reallly love this movie and i would appreciate it if you could help….thanks alot.____

  • Keith

    I would be greatful if anyone can give me a title for these 2 movies.First Movie: Not sure of the year. I saw it in the sixties . A girl runs away to find her father, rides the rails with young man, on the way to California.
    Second: I think this film was Italian. A man enters a phone booth and finds himself trapped. After many antics the phone company takes him and the phone booth away.
    Thanks for your time
    Keith

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Hi, Keith! I believe the first film is “The Journey of Natty Gann.” I’m sorry but I don’t know the second one. If you think of any additional details, let me know. Thanks for writing and I hope you will visit and comment often.

  • Trish

    The heroine loves to travel. Her mother has a recipe book inherited by family. Her father left her mother. The heroine wish to travel to look for her father. He mother pun on a condition that she will allow her to travel, provided if she pass in a cooking school. She passed and travel but she needed money. She work as a cook and finally she cooked for his boyfriend who is her own master(without knowing it). The servant or adviser of her master was her own father. Her father found the recipe book and that’s how she found his father back. Her bf and her father flew back to the girl’s house and the family unite again. The girl was a tomboy before she entered the cooking school.

  • barbara

    Hello. I am looking for a (made for)TV movie. This story is set in the hills of Virginia or Kentucky. Story of a poor family whose mother, then father die. The 2nd daughter (about 14 yrs old) keeps the 5 kids together by pretending the father is still alive. The kids gather herbs to sell. I remember scene where a neighbor gets ill, and they put him in the bathtub and fill it with raw onions. In the end, the girl offers to marry the neighbor man, if he will continue helping the rest of the family. He was secretly in love with the eldest daughter and marries her.
    Any help would be appreciated.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Hello, Barbara! You are thinking of “Where the Lillies Bloom,” a lovely movie (and book). Thanks for writing!

  • Joanne Boyham

    Can someone please tell me the name of a kids movie which I think was made around the 1980’s (late 80’s) which involves a guy who makes a robot of himself and then they travel back to Medieval times where they meet a girl whose father is a goose and she carries him around with her all the time..It’s driving my friends and I crazy!! Thanks xxx

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Hi, Joanne! That movie is “Unidentified Flying Oddball” (also known as “The Spaceman and King Arthur”) released in 1979.
    It stars Dennis Dugan (now better known as the director of many Adam Sandler movies) and Jim Dale (now better known as the narrator of the audio Harry Potter books). It is available on DVD. Thanks for writing!

  • Debbie

    I can’t remember much about the movie. It is a black and white movie about a young single lady who either finds a baby or has a baby, during the holidays and also meets a man thats kind of gruff but he starts to warm up to the lady and baby. I believe she is a saleslady in the movie. Sorry I don’t remember much it was so long ago. Thanks.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Believe it or not, there are a couple of possibilities with this one! Could it be “Bundle of Joy” wth Debbie Reynolds or “Bachelor Mother” with Ginger Rogers?

  • Heather

    Hi, I am looking for a horror movie, possibly made in the 1990’s. It is about a little boy (I think he is Irish)who has some fascination with pigs. His father dies and the boy is psychotic. The little boy has red hair and freckles. I think I watched this movie on HBO. I have tried forver to remember the name of the movie with no luck. I hope you can help me. Thank you! :}

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Heather, my friend and fellow critic Dustin Putman tells me that is Neil Jordan’s “The Butcher Boy.”

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Kenya

    Hey, I am looking for a comedy that used to show quite often in the late 90’s. It used to show on cinemaz, show or HBO. Its about some young children who some of them had parents divorcing, while others their parents where together. They decided to have a friendly war.

  • Pat L

    There was a movie where a woman meets this guy and he starts living with her. He has escaped from a mental facility. He is delusional and thinks the CIA or Army put some kind of parasite inside his body and it is spreading. His girlfriend begins to believe all of what he says and helps him try to get rid of the parasites. His phychiatrist at the institution finally finds him and trys to bring him back.
    I missed the beginning. I saw it on TV a few years ago and I’d like to see the whole thing. Do you know the name of it???

  • jessica

    Not sure what this movie was called, its your basic boy meets girl romance movie. A majority of the movie was set in like mexico or another latin america type place.She marries one of the locals and figures it out the next day,hes very much in love with her but she wants a divorce.They start out on a trip to the courthouse and she ends up starting to like him as well.They stop in his mothers town for the night and she starts to fall in love with him to. Any ideas? thanks

  • Gerry

    Hi Movie Mom,
    I sure hope you can help me, when I was a kid in the 60’s I remember a black and white movie about two young children, around 8 I think, who run away together. They are of different faiths, she’s jewish and he’s christian. I think it was sad I seem to remember them crossing a river and something happening to her-for some reason I want to call her Rachael. Do you know the name of it? Thanks

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    One of my favorites, Gerry, and sadly not available on DVD. It’s called “Hand in Hand.” A beautiful film, poignant but with a happy ending. Thanks for writing!

  • e t

    Hi,
    I’ve been trying to find the name of an animated, color movie I watched on TV repeatedly as a child.
    I think it had a Middle-eastern setting. 3 guys traveling together, searching for something or someone. All 3 had dark skin: the handsome lead and his two bumbling buddies. (One tall and lanky, the other short and chubby.)
    It might have been released in the 60’s or 70’s.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. : )

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mr.J

    Hi im looking for an old movie about a young white man marrying a young african american in the south during 60’s. The couples received a very bad respond both from the white & black community. Do you know the name of the movie title.

    • Nell Minow

      Yes, that is “Mr. and Mrs. Loving,” based on the true story of the people behind the Supreme Court case that led to the end of miscegenation laws. An excellent new documentary about the couple was shown on HBO recently as well.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Meriah

    I remember watching a movie when I was younger where a princess had to kiss frogs or maybe they were toads and lay them on her bed. I’m fairly certain she jumped into the water in the end. I can only remember the three fat frogs on her bed. I’ve spent months trying to find this movie and I haven’t had any luck. Help?

    • Nell Minow

      Not sure, Meriah, but you may be thinking of “The Frog Prince” with Aileen Quinn.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kelly

    I am trying to find the name of a movie I saw on tv a young time ago when I was growing up. A man gets this lady. A grandmother type. She be the housekeeper/ nanny. His wife died. The lady was a robot. She had to plug her self in. And one of the kids a girl was have a hard time and was really mean to her. The robot decided to go the place where robots go when no one needs them but the kids realize they need and love her and go after her. It has been a long time. Can someone please help me find the name. Thank you I really appreciate it!!!!

    • Nell Minow

      Hi, Kelly! That movie is “The Electric Grandmother” with Maureen Stapleton and Edward Hermann. It is based on a story by Ray Bradbury called “I Sing the Body Electric.” Sorry to say it is not available on DVD.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jude

    Cant remember name of film but scared me to death when I was a kid . Im 47 now . All I can rember is man pretending to be a horse n making hoof noises to scare people. He waskilled at end .

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jude

    Please reply not sure what url is.

    • Nell Minow

      It’s a web address, Jude. Which one do you need?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment alex

    Hi! trying to find that old movie in black and white,where a man meets a woman on the train.They fall in love.But she is terminally ill and does not tell him that.Dont remember much,but remember part,where he drives through the tunnel,screaming in the car,it is something she thought him to do,to release anger. Thank you!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment alex

    …also,just remembered,at the end of the movie he visits her grave.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jill

    There was a movie in the 60’s I think that had a mom and dad dining with their daughter’s new beau who was middle eastern, and the buffet had soup with eyeballs in it, and mom said the dad’s name, and “they’re staring at me.” I was thinking it might be a Gidget movie, or with Sandra Dee, or something like that.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Denise

    Saw a movie years ago, pretty much short stories about latins in America. The only part I can remember was that this man couldn’t find his way back to his friends apartment because all the project buildings looked the same. He had left the apt. to get some coffee and sweetbread to surprise with breakfast.. It was a black and white feature with about 4 different stories. Anyone know the title of this?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jamie

    Okay so I’ve been trying to find out the name of this movie for years. Every so often i remember that i forgot it, and then try hard to find it again, with no success. here are the clues
    1. it’s like “imitation of life” but it’s not. I’m watching Imitation of Life now and it’s not it
    2. It’s about a Black and white woman’s friendship. they both have daughters. the black womans daughter is actually black. I believe their names were Josephine or Joanna and Jessie…or something like that.
    3. if i remember correctly, it starts off with the Black woman having her baby girl and the doctor saying some line like “shes going to need a lot of love” or something like that that foreshadows her death
    4. when the black girl is older, maybe like 10, she gets sick and dies
    5. before then the black and white girl are friends. i think there was a scene where they or one of them gets in trouble after playing outside because they got dirty or something. i forgot.
    6. and if i remember correctly the white girl dies too when she gets older.
    please help!
    Thanks

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