Follow TV Tropes


Film / Louisa

Go To

Louisa is a 1950 film directed by Alexander Hall.

This family comedy stars future President of the United States Ronald Reagan as Hal Norton. Hal comes home on the train one evening to find the rest of the family—wife Meg (Ruth Hussey), teenage daughter Cathy (Piper Laurie, in her film debut), and young son Jimmy—all in foul moods. It seems that Hal's mother Louisa (Spring Byington), who has recently moved in with the family, is bossing them all around and irritating them to no end.

Hal steps up to the plate and tells his mom that this is Meg's house and not hers and she's got to let Meg run it. Louisa, who's quite lonely as an elderly widow, decides to force herself to join a sewing circle for old ladies. She never does make it, because on the way, she falls into talking with Henry Hammond, the local grocer (Edmund Gwenn). Henry, like her, is old and alone after his spouse also died years ago.


Soon Louisa and Henry are head over heels in love and talking about marriage. Hal has problems dealing with the prospect of his mother getting married again in her old age. Things get a lot more complicated for everyone when Hal's elderly boss Abel Burnside (Charles Coburn) visits Hal on business and falls for Louisa himself. A senior Love Triangle ensues.


  • Dances and Balls: Meg has organized a big neighborhood square dance. Everyone goes, and the story reaches a climax when Henry and Abel engage in a wrestling contest.
  • December–December Romance: A December-December Love Triangle, as two old folks in their seventies fall in love and get engaged, only for a third old person to enter and become a rival for Louisa's affections.
  • Erotic Eating: It's a G-rated example, but Henry does manually feed Louisa popcorn as they canoodle at the movie theater.
  • Advertisement:
  • Generation Xerox: Cathy's prim disapproval of her grandmother Louisa's love life is made more humorous by how Louisa and Cathy are basically in the same situation. Both have two suitors. Both wind up necking in the two-person "love seats" at the movie theater. At the square dance Cathy and Louisa are seen on opposite sides of the table in the same poses, both with one boyfriend on each side fighting for attention.
  • High-Class Glass: Abel is American but he still sports a High-Class Glass to demonstrate his aristocratic superiority. One gag has him screwing in his High Class Glass to get a better look at Louisa after first seeing her.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: As the family heads in to the dining room Hal makes a move to the liquor cabinet, only for Meg to grab him and pull him back into the dining room. He casts a Longing Look at the cabinet as she pulls him in.
  • Love Triangle: A love triangle with three seniors, as Abel falls for Louisa and intrudes on her romance with Henry.
  • My Beloved Smother: Louisa starts out like this, bossing her whole family around and annoying everyone. It turns out that she's driven by loneliness, and she stops doing this once she gets a boyfriend.
  • Parent with New Paramour: This trope is played completely straight except for the fact that Hal and Louisa are both about thirty years older than what the mother-and-child characters usually are. In any case, Hal reacts with horror when his mother starts dating the local grocer, and has a lot of problems getting used to it.
  • Serious Business: The whole plot hinges on Hal being shocked and horrified by his mother dating a man. Meg lampshades this, saying "We're all taking this too seriously" when Hal and Cathy act like Louisa has robbed a bank.
  • Servile Snarker: The maid, who snarks constantly. She tells Hal that Henry is coming over by saying "Haven't you heard? Winston Churchill's coming for dinner!"
  • Shout-Out: There are posters for Harvey at the theater where both Louisa and Cathy go on separate dates with their boyfriends.
  • Standard '50s Father: Ronald Reagan plays a standard fifties father right out of central casting: a white-collar mid-level executive, a wholesome fellow with a nice house, a pretty wife, a mildly rebellious teenage daughter and a precocious young son. He goes to neighborhood dances and takes his son to baseball games, which is as Standard '50s Father as you can get without smoking a pipe.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: