IN THIS FILM adaptation of Booth Tarkington's novel, Katharine Hepburn stars as a mid-Western girl of humble family origins who strives to compete, socially, with her more affluent peers. Upon falling in love with a well-to-do young bachelor named Arthur Russell (MacMurray), Alice struggles with her identity as well as her family's wealth and class status, which she fears will be unacceptable to her new beau. Meanwhile, Alice's mother hounds her husband, Virgil, to find a new job that will give the family greater income and prestige and help their daughter in her "social climbing."
RELEASED DURING the heart of the Great Depression, Alice Adams is a story that champions virtues like loyalty (both to family and company), hard work and hope. It shows that love knows neither class nor wealth, and asks its audience to question on what it places value. Alice, who spends much of the film pining for the kind of life enjoyed by her friends, discovers that there are more important things than material possessions and that having the "finest and fanciest" does not necessarily guarantee happiness. At a time when the country needed to hear it most, Alice Adams said that good times would return--until then, one should be proud, stay strong and enjoy life.