Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris

Dear Liza,

My Momma, your great grandma Billie, was a librarian. This was not only her profession, but her personality. She loved to read books and tell people about them so they could read them, too. One that she told me about when I was little was a Paul Gallico story called “Mrs. ’Arris Goes to Paris.”

I liked Paul Gallico’s writing. He wrote the delightful “Silent Meow”, a guide ‘translated from the feline’; a sort of how-to book for cats on getting adopted. Later, he wrote the book and screenplay for “Thomasina”, about a cat who lives three very different lives. Good, imaginative stuff.

But somehow, I never got around to reading about Mrs. ’Arris. The other day it popped into my head, and not wanting to wait for the library, I searched IMDB and found that it had been made into a movie. Mr. Gallico had written the book in 1958 and had passed away before the movie was made in 1992, but his widow had been an advisor on the screenplay.

Grandpa Nelson found it on Youtube and we watched it. What a delightful movie! London housekeeper, Mrs. Harris, (played in 1992 by Angela Lansbury) gets it into her head to go to Paris and buy a Dior gown. She saves for three years, forgoing taking the bus and working extra jobs, and finally saves up enough to fulfill her dream.

While in Paris, she makes friends with people of all sorts, her good heart and sunny disposition overcoming social barriers. Omar Sharif and Diana Rigg play some of the people who help her, and more surprisingly, who she helps.

This is a feel-good movie of the first order, and not for the cynical. Though I know there are differences between the book and the movie, I can see why Momma loved it.

It has now been remade, with the delightful Lesley Manville as Mrs. ’arris, and I can’t wait to see it!

Looking forward to a cherry, optimistic evening soon!


Grandma Judy