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Invitation, starring Van Johnson, Dorothy McGuire, Ruth Roman

Invitation (1952) starring Van Johnson, Dorothy McGuire, Ruth Roman

Editorial review of Invitation (1952) starring Van Johnson, Dorothy McGuire, courtesy of

No more loneliness. Shy, plain Ellen Bowker has found unexpected fulfillment as the bride of handsome Dan Pierce. What she doesn’t know is that Dan was bought and paid for — €“ he’s a — €œgift — € from Ellen’s wealthy father, who wants his fatally ill daughter to experience romance before she dies.

A story that might have been a three-hanky soaper in lesser hands instead exudes luminous emotion, thanks largely to its two stars. As Dan, Van Johnson captures the guilt and untapped decency of a man who falls in love with the woman he married for money. And Dorothy McGuire, whose gentle charm and beauty are ideal for the role, gives a heartbreaking performance as the wife who finally discovers the stunning truth.

Trivia for Invitation

  • The haunting theme music by Bronislau Kaper was actually introduced two years earlier in MGM’s A Life of Her Own, but became a jazz standard under the title Invitation, especially associated with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson.

Quotes from Invitation

Ellen (Dorothy McGuire): There is something much more important than keeping alive, and that is knowing that you have lived.

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