Her Twelve Men (1954): Greer Garson as Middle-Aged Widow

After a fruitful 15-year contract, British-born star Greer Garson, Louis B. Mayer’s favorite lady, and MGM parted company with the movie Her Twelve Men.

The association with MGMG brought her many Oscar nomination and one Best Actress Oscar, for “Mrs. Miniver” in 1942.

William Roberts-Laura Z. Hobson screenplay was adapted from Louise Baker’s popular autobiographical novel, “Miss Baker’s Dozen,” the title of which pointed out the fact that there were thirteen guys in the story.

Garson plays a middle aged widow named Jan Stewart, who after years of marriage decides to create a new life for herself as a teacher at an exclusive boys’ school.

It’s not an easy or fast process, with immediate results, as they boys are stubborn and independent. Indeed, it takes her time to win over her 13 troublesome students, but, of course, she does. This is a Garson film, after all, made at the most upbeat studio in Hollywood, MGM.

But she also has to convince stodgy professor Joe Hargrave, played by a miscast Robert

Ryan, that her teaching methods are viable.
Other men also raise doubts about Jan’s philosophy and capability, including Richard Y. Oliver (Barry Sullivan), the smooth, oil-rich father of her most contentious student (Tim Considine).

Featured as another of the parents is Frances Bergen, the real-life wife of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and the mother of actress Candice Bergen.

One of Garson’s last films is also one of her weakest. Dull, old-fashioned (even by 1950s standards) static and not well acted.

Running time: 91 Minutes.
Directed by Robert Z. Leonard