(director: Douglas Sirk; screenwriters: Joseph Hoffman/from the novel by Darwin L. Teilhet; cinematographer: Clifford Stine; editor: Russell F. Schoengarth; music: Frank Skinner; cast: Tony Curtis (Alvah Morrell), Piper Laurie (Lee Kingshead), Don DeFore (Herman Strouple), Spring Byington (Mama Kingshead), Lillian Bronson (Aunt Elsa), Paul McVey (Dr. Trotter), Lee Aaker (Donovan), Jack Kelly (Will Stubbins); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Ted Richmond; Universal Pictures; 1952)

“A pleasant but inconsequential wartime sitcom comedy that provokes a frenzy but never rises to one.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Douglas Sirk (“Weekend with Father”/”Take Me To Town”/”Has Anybody Seen My Gal?”) directs a pleasant but inconsequential wartime sitcom comedy that provokes a frenzy but never rises to one. In a mildly subversive way Sirk defends the little guy who doesn’t sell out his principles for money. It’s based on the novel by Darwin L. Teilhet and thinly written by Joseph Hoffman.

Nice guy G.I. small-time California vineyard grower Alvah Morrell (Tony Curtis) elopes with Lee Kingshead (Piper Laurie) in Las Vegas, but before he can consummate the marriage he comes down with the chicken pox. When he recovers he’s shipped out overseas for the next ten months. Returning home on a week’s leave, he discovers Lee hasn’t told her monster mother (Spring Byington) she’s married for fearing of upsetting her. Mom wanted her daughter to marry Herman Strouple (Don DeFore), the owner of the local cement plant, where Lee works. Also, Alvah finds there’s no room for him in the house, as Lee’s mother has moved in 15 inconsiderate relatives–including monster child Donovan (Lee Aaker). Things intensify when Lee can’t get up enough nerve to consummate the marriage and the cement owner tries to get Alvah declared mentally incompetent when he refuses to have his house moved so the company could put a road right through his property. In the third act, wifey finally comes to her senses and supports her hubby against her miserable family and boss bringing this slight comedy to its fit solution that love conquers all.

Why anyone would put up with such a bad situation as this couple does is beyond credibility and hardly funny, showing merely a case of no backbone on their part. The suburban comedy is about as harmless as a string of in-law jokes.

Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie in No Room for the Groom (1952)