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Little Gloria... Happy at Last (1982)

The story deals with Gloria Vanderbilt's difficult coming-of-age when, at eleven, she was a pawn in a custody battle between her sybaritic mother and her aunt.


Waris Hussein


Barbara Goldsmith (book), William Hanley (teleplay)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Angela Lansbury ... Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney
Christopher Plummer ... Reggie Vanderbilt
Maureen Stapleton ... Nurse Emma Kieslich
Martin Balsam ... Nathan Burkan
Barnard Hughes ... Justice John Francis Carew
Glynis Johns ... Laura Fitzpatrick Morgan
John Hillerman ... Maury Paul
Michael Gross ... Gilchrist
Joseph Maher ... Smythe
Lucy Gutteridge ... Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt
Bette Davis ... Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt (as Betty Davis)
Jennifer Dundas ... Little Gloria
Rosalyn Landor ... Thelma Morgan Converse
Leueen Willoughby ... Consuelo Morgan
Ken Pogue ... Judge James Aloycious Foley (as Kenneth Pogue)


The story deals with Gloria Vanderbilt's difficult coming-of-age when, at eleven, she was a pawn in a custody battle between her sybaritic mother and her aunt.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Money, glamour, scandal . . . The story of Little Gloria Vanderbilt. [Video] [Australia]









Release Date:

24 October 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gloria Vanderbilt See more »

Filming Locations:

Brockville, Ontario, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The film cast includes four Oscar winners: Bette Davis, Christopher Plummer, Maureen Stapleton and Martin Balsam; and two Oscar nominees: Angela Lansbury and Glynis Johns. See more »


In a voiceover exchange of 1933 telegrams Gloria states that she will be returning from Paris on the Lusitania arriving on Thursday September 25. The Lusitania was torpedoed in May 1915 and no subsequent liners were given this name, although her sister ship Mauretania was in her last year of service. September 25 1933 was also a Monday. See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Drew Barrymore/Squeeze (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

Forgettable, but okay film making.
27 December 2012 | by BlueghostSee all my reviews

I remember seeing this one weekend years back, and really thought the story was cruel. The film portrays the custody battle of young socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, legend in the world of fashion design, and the possible ramifications of this emotional turmoil.

The thing that struck me about this movie was that it didn't feel like a movie. It was technically very competent, but didn't move well. There were props, there were costumes, there were sets, even one or two locations (though I seem to recall that most of the movie was comprised of interior shots), but there was little in terms of moving the story along, and less action.

Most of the film, from what I recall, was comprised of emotional vignettes. Like they were episodes out of a TV series as opposed to a feature film. Now that I've found this entry on the IMDb I understand that this was a made for TV movie, which makes a little more sense. Even so, not that I know that and it explains my viewing experience, I can't say that I would recommend this film nor call it good. It struck me as a movie made about a wealthy individual's childhood. A story that had emotional ups and downs, but otherwise wasn't much different than any other custody battle except that it involved the rich and famous.

And I guess that's what gets me about this film. For all of its gloss the basic tale wasn't anything more than a glitzed up version of "Kramer versus Kramer" or a made for TV movie thereof. We see suggestive tawdry details, but we're not really privy as to whether they're actually true or not. And that's the other thing that holds back this film; you don't know how much truth there is on either side of the trial. So, as a viewer, what do you do with that? I endured it, and sat through it, but to be exceedingly honest, I wish I had tuned it out.

I can't recommend this film in any capacity unless you're into the whole custody battle thing, and like stories about rich and famous people's childhoods. It's visually rich in terms of the shots that are there, and you do sympathize with young Gloria as her family tears itself asunder, but if this had been a couple in a trailer park, or a couple living out in rural or mountainous America, would you still find it interesting? If it had been a couple in India, Bhutan, outer Mongolia, Portugal, Brazilian Amazon, would you still tune in and sit through it? Of course you wouldn't.

I saw it once, and once was enough. To be fair it's an okay movie for what it is, but the entire production felt like it could have been more in terms of material portrayed, as well as trimmed down in terms of length.

Give it a shot.

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