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My Bill (1938)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 9 July 1938 (USA)
The town of Colbrook, Massachusetts was founded by the family of the same name, and as such they are its leading family. Widowed Mrs. Reginald Colbrook - Mary - has had to manage the family... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
John Rudlin
Reginald Colbrook
Bill Colbrook
Maurice Murphy ...
Lynn Willard
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Aunt Caroline
Helena Phillips Evans ...
Adelaide Crosby
John Ridgely ...
Jenner (as Sidney Bracy)
Bernice Pilot ...
Jan Holm ...


The town of Colbrook, Massachusetts was founded by the family of the same name, and as such they are its leading family. Widowed Mrs. Reginald Colbrook - Mary - has had to manage the family money following her husband's death, something she had never done and at which she knows she is not good. However, in doing what she felt best, she made some bad investments, leaving her and her children - young adult Muriel, teenagers Reginald Jr. ("Reggie") and Gwen, and adolescent Bill - penniless, which she tries to hide from them. When the children do find out, Muriel, Reggie and Gwen, absorbed in their own lives, decide to do what they believe is best for their own individual situation, which involves abandoning their mother and living with their judgmental and controlling but wealthy paternal Aunt Caroline. Bill, on the other hand, was not invited by Aunt Caroline, as she has always believed the rumors that he is not her biological nephew, he who would not have gone with her regardless in ... Written by Huggo

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IT'S GREAT because it's Human!


Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 July 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Billy kunnostautuu  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The play opened in New York City, New York on 8 October 1928 and ran for 280 performances. See more »


Version of Courage (1930) See more »


Waltz, Op. 39, No. 15
(1865) (uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
Played on piano by Bonita Granville
See more »

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User Reviews

Unabashedly sentimental, yet it works!
5 December 2008 | by See all my reviews

With nary an evening gown, fur stole, cocktail shaker, or cigarette, Kay Francis manages to negotiate the domestic ups and downs of a financially embarrassed widow with four children with admirable credibility.

That she does so, owes largely to her own convincing portrayal as the hapless shirt-waisted mother, in addition to sterling work by young charmer Dickie Moore and elderly character actress Helena Phillips Evans, as well as Elisabeth Risdon, (as a "Miss Gulch" type villainous-- who gets to toss off some hilariously caustic bon mots).

On the face of it, let's face it--the script is unpromising, given its pronounced tendency to trade on clichés and salvific coincidences in both situation and characterization. Indeed, in the film's opening chapters these faults are exceedingly evident, what with the three eldest children's scenes of petulant denunciation written, acted and performed with a broadness that is almost vaudeville, and bordering perilously close to parody.

But Dickie Moore's (as the titular "Bill") scenes are marked by such authentic warmth and pluck, that he succeeds almost singlehandedly in pulling the disparate plot threads into an emotionally involving and even compelling yarn.

This is particularly true in Master Moore's scenes with Helena Phillips Evans as Miss Crosby, an elderly spinster benefactress, whose burgeoning friendship with the child provides the film with some of its most tender scenes. Miss Evans is of that school of character actress that we have no longer, and she weaves all the layers of loneliness, wisdom, and disappointment that come with the years with the gentlest inflections. Her "I'm afraid," to Master Moore after a coronary attack is in itself heart stopping, as testament to the deep humanity she invests in what is essentially a small role.

Nor is Miss Francis undone by a lack of sequins and ermine. She seems in fact, to relish the homespun nature of the role. One scene, played while seated on a staircase, in which she explains death in metaphorical terms to Dickie Moore is played with such sensitivity, intelligence and emotional depth that one wishes the screen had afforded her more opportunities to interact with children.

By the finale, in which all the principals' toast a deceased friend, it will be the rare audience member that isn't reaching for his handkerchief.

"My Bill" is an unsung winner and a feather in Kay Francis' cap. This one should please the whole family.

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