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A millionaire tries to buy his dying daughter a husband.
Fragile Ellen Pierce kisses her architect husband Dan goodbye as he leaves their Connecticut home for the office. Ellen, who is adored and pampered by her millionaire father, Simon Bowker, then goes to his Long Island estate. There she tells Bowker and his friend, Dr. Warren Pritchard, who is also her physician, that she recently passed out after feeling short of breath. Pritchard says that there may be a new treatment that could help, and Ellen leaves, hopeful that she soon can have a normal life with Dan. On the way home, Ellen stops by the cottage of family friend Dr. Redwick, with whose daughter Maud she was once close. Maud is bitter over Ellen's marriage to Dan, with whom she is in love, and tells Ellen that her year of having him "on loan" is almost over. Ellen feels more pity than anger at Maud, and leaves. When Ellen arrives home late, Dan is frantic and admonishes her for worrying him. That night, Ellen's thoughts drift back to a year before: At a party on the estate, Ellen chats with childhood friends Maud and Dan. While the others play tennis and swim, Ellen, who had rheumatic fever as a child, goes to rest. When Bowker comes to see her, she tells him not to worry about her because she is resigned to being plain and remaining a spinster. A few days later, at Bowker's office, she runs into Dan, who is just leaving. She offers him a lift to Long Island and during the ride, he abruptly kisses her "for luck." They begin seeing more of each other, and Dan tells her that he feels he never really knew her. One evening, he unexpectedly comes to her house and proposes. She is surprised, having thought that he loved Maud, but he assures her he never did. Ellen does not give an answer, but later, with her father's encouragement, decides to accept, sobbing that finally somebody loves her. At the wedding, an intoxicated Maud shows up late and tells Ellen that she only has Dan on loan for a year. Dan and Ellen embark on a European honeymoon, and several weeks later, while stopping to repair their car in Switzerland, Dan mistakenly thinks that Ellen has fallen over a cliff and panics. When he finds her a few seconds later, he holds her close and says that he was afraid he had lost her. A few days later, he brings noted European physician Dr. Fromm to see Ellen and tells her that he loves her more than he ever thought possible. The day after Ellen's reverie, she is puzzled to receive an invitation to a medical institute banquet for Dr. Toynberry, a mitral heart valve specialist. Curious, Ellen calls the institute and learns that the invitation was sent at the request of Maud, whose father is the vice-president. Now suspicious, Ellen looks at a medical dictionary and finds that mitral valve defects in young adults are usually fatal. Now Ellen realizes that everything in her idyllic past year has been a gift from her father. She calls him and hysterically says that she wants to die, but thanks him for the lovely year. When Dan returns home that evening, Ellen greets him coldly, and Bowker calls to tell him that Ellen has guessed about their bargain. He is on his way to their house and begs Dan to convince Ellen she is wrong. After the phone call, Dan is distraught, especially when he sees the invitation on the desk. He then goes in to Ellen and says that Toynberry has had some success with mitral heart valve operations but they kept the news from her so her hopes would not be raised. He then admits everything and asks her to listen to his story: Dan is summoned to Bowker's office and told that Ellen only has a year to live, but does not know. Dan, who has always been fond of Ellen, is saddened, but shocked when Bowker speculates that Ellen has always secretly been in love with him and suggests that they marry. Although Bowker offers to help Dan professionally, Dan turns him down. When they open the office door, they are startled to see Ellen. In the coming weeks, Dan has difficulty finding new jobs and stops seeing Maud. One night, she goes to his apartment and tells him that she is going away because he does not love her and she hopes that he can find himself. As she leaves, she mentions that Ellen does not have long to live, but asks him not to tell anyone as Ellen does not know. At the end of his story, Dan tells Ellen that he decided to marry her that night. Although he does not know when he fell in love with her, he reminds her of what happened in Switzerland and tells her about his meeting with Dr. Fromm: Fromm recognizes how deeply Dan loves Ellen and tells him about Toynberry, who has a clinic in Baltimore. Dan then relates what happened the previous day, on his way to the clinic: At Penn Station, Dan runs into Maud and tells her about Toynberry. Maud then says she knows that Bowker's money made him marry Ellen, and only plans to wait for him for a year. Dan angrily admits that he did not really love Ellen when they married, but now loves her desperately and would kill Maud if she told Ellen the truth. Dan ends his story by begging Ellen to keep her appointment with Toynberry, then goes upstairs. When Bowker arrives to comfort Ellen, she tells him how desperate she was when everything unfolded that afternoon. The sound of a car leaving the driveway prompts Ellen to run out, screaming for Dan, but it is only their gardener. Now realizing that she and Dan truly are in love, she goes to him and says she is not afraid to die if the operation fails because their time together gave her life meaning. After they kiss, she asks when they will know if the operation is a success, and Dan says in the spring. Months later, on a warm spring day, Ellen happily kisses Dan goodbye as he leaves for the office.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 28 Jan 1952|
|Release Date:||1952||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono (Western Electric Sound System)||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
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User Ratings & Review
I have mixed feelings about this film. I watch just about everything on TCM except musicals (sorry, I don't like them), and if you are the same way...
Invitation was a success
Jacquelyn G. 2012-06-15
Van Johnson and Dorothy Maguire made the perfect movie, in that the smoothness of each other was almost perfect, one would not ever know, Van was being...
Worth Watching Again!
judy mallon 2010-06-15
I have seen this movie several times and I still enjoy it each time. Sometimes I have thought that it gets to be a little soap opera like, but then I am...