As I mentioned in my Januarying post, I am trying to watch 12 new movies to me this year and review them here on my blog. I am trying to find movies made at different times, 8 during my lifetime and 4 before I was born. The Catered Affair fits into the latter designation being made in 1956. The National Board of Review said it was one of the best 10 films of 1956 and awarded Debbie Reynolds Best Supporting Actor.
I enjoyed this movie and would give it probably 3 out of 5 stars. The movie features Ernest Borgnine and Bette Davis as a New York City Cab Driver and his wife who are advised at the film's start of the upcoming marriage of their daughter portrayed by Debbie Reynolds. The film then depicts the changes that take place in the relationships of family and friends in preparation for the marriage. One theme that is explored in the film is the differing perspectives, challenges, and expectations that are experienced in both weddings and marriages. This movie is similar in at least 4 ways to one of my top 10 favorite films, Marty. 1) It takes place in New York City in the 1950s and New York itself functions like a character, 2) It stars Ernest Borgnine. 3) It was written by Paddy Chayefsky and 4) originally aired on television before being adapted for film.
One thing I like about this movie is that it takes a "warts and all" view of both family and marriage but still remains hopeful about the institutions. One thing I disliked about the movie was that it was no Marty. Marty is a film that I can watch again, and again and never grow tired of. This movie lacks the endearing charm and cosmopolitan wit of Marty. This doesn't make it a bad film, just not a top-10 one. I think people who like Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine or Debbie Reynolds will like this movie. I also feel people who watch this movie will end up liking Davis, Borgnine, and Reynolds as they all do good work here.