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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mama's Affair
Mamas Affair 1921 newspaperad.jpg
Newspaper advertisement.
Directed byVictor Fleming
Written byJohn Emerson
Anita Loos
Based onMama's Affair
by Rachel Barton Butler
Produced byJoseph M. Schenck
StarringConstance Talmadge
Effie Shannon
CinematographyOliver Marsh
Distributed byAssociated First National Pictures
Release date
  • January 23, 1921 (1921-01-23)
Running time
60 min., 6 reels; 5,950 feet
CountryUnited States
Mama's Affair (1921) - 3.jpg

Mama's Affair is a 1921 American silent romantic comedy film directed by Victor Fleming and based on the play of the same title by Rachel Barton Butler. Cast members Effie Shannon, George Le Guere and Katharine Kaelred reprise their roles from the Broadway play.[1]


As summarized in a film publication,[2] a prologue, which explains where the author got her idea for the story, shows Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. When the serpent tells Eve to bite the apple, Adam takes it away from her. The serpent then tells her to go into hysterics and Adam will give her the apple. Shifting to the modern story, Mrs. Orrin (Effie Shannon), Eve's (Constance Talmadge) mother, goes into hysterics at the thought of losing her daughter. Mrs. Orrin and Mrs. Merchant (Katharine Kaelred), who lives with them, have decided that Eve will marry Mrs. Merchant's son Henry (George LeGuere), an effeminate youngster with rimmed glasses. Fearing her mother's nerves, Eve is willing to marry Henry, so the four of them go to Mama Orrin's birthplace, where the wedding is scheduled to take place on her birthday. During the stay at the hotel Mama has one of her "attacks" and Dr. Harmon (Kenneth Harlan) is called in. He soon discovers the exact trouble and orders Mrs. Orrin to bed with instructions that she not even see her daughter. Mrs. Orrin disobeys these orders and then Eve's nerves give way, causing a second visit by the doctor. He takes Eve away from the mother, but after Henry accuses the doctor of being a fortune seeker, the doctor refuses to have anything to do with Eve. Finally, Eve's eyes are opened and she uses a "treat 'em rough" theory on her mother. Besides winning the love of her doctor, she cures her mother of her hysterics.


Psychoanalytic elements

Plot elements involving Eve's genuine fit of hysteria before the planned wedding, the doctor's simple cure of removing Eve from her mother, and Eve's subsequent immediate recovery and ability to live an independent life were consistent with then-current popular understandings of Sigmund Freud's theories of repression and the causation of neurosis.[3] The film, however, never directly discusses these notions or uses any psychoanalytic terms in its intertitles.


A print of Mama's Affair is maintained in the Library of Congress.[4][5]


  1. ^ Mamma's Affair as produced on Broadway at the Little Theatre January 19 1920 to April 1920, 98 performances;
  2. ^ "Mama's Affair: Imagine Constance as a Quiet, Submissive Mama's Girl, If You Can". Film Daily. New York City: Wyd's Films and Film Folks, Inc. 15 (35): 17. February 6, 1921. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  3. ^ Jacobs, Lea (2010). "The Talmadge Sisters: A Forgotten Filmmaking Dynasty". In Petro, Patrice (ed.). Idols of Modernity: Movie Stars of the 1920s. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8135-4731-2.
  4. ^ Progressive Silent Film List: Mama's Affair at
  5. ^ The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: Mama's Affair

External links

This page was last edited on 19 January 2021, at 02:48
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