25-year-old Julie Harris convincingly recreates her Broadway role of 12-year-old tomboy Frankie Addams in the 1952 screen version of Carson McCullers' play. Feeling rejected when her older brother goes off on his honeymoon without inviting her along, Frankie runs away from her middle-class southern home. She endures several other adolescent traumas, not least of which is the sudden death of her bespectacled young cousin John Henry (Brandon De Wilde). With the help of warmhearted housekeeper Berenice Sadie Brown (Ethel Waters), Frankie eventually makes an awkward transition to young womanhood. One of several Stanley Kramer productions released by Columbia in the early 1950s, The Member of the Wedding wisely used several of the original Broadway cast members. Co-starring as a drunken soldier who tries to take advantage of the vulnerable Frankie is former child actor Dick Moore, making his last screen appearance. The Member of the Wedding was remade for television in 1983 (and unofficially "reworked" into the 1991 sleeper My Girl).
by Hal Erickson synopsis