Harvey Fierstein, currently on Broadway in the stage musical adaptation of this film, says it best (by way of Entertainment Weekly):
"Bette Davis considered her performance, as a Bronx housewife who insists on giving her daughter a big wedding whether the girl wants it or not, one of her career best. What more do you want?
Well, let me tell you what more The Catered Affair offers: there's a beautifully modulated dramatic acting job by Debbie Reynolds, proving she could do more than sing in the rain. There's a brilliantly funny turn by Barry Fitzgerald as a lovable, hard-drinking bachelor uncle. And it's all topped off by an Ernest Borgnine performance that's equal to anything he did in Marty.
And let's not forget the writing. The original play was scribed by Paddy ''I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore'' Chayefsky. And the MGM adaptation was penned by no less than Gore (Myra Breckinridge) Vidal. How do you like them credentials?
No wonder I've loved this movie since first seeing it as a kid. I've loved this movie so long and so well that I went out, bought the rights, and have now turned it into a Broadway musical ... I even reimagined the confirmed-bachelor-uncle role for myself so that I could be part of the musical fun. But if you want to see this story you've got to come see the show -- because the movie still isn't available on DVD!"
Or -- you can watch it tomorrow on Turner Classic Movies at 12:30 PM EST.