On their wedding night Bob informs his new bride Betty that he has bought a chicken farm. An abandoned chicken farm, to be exact, which is obvious when the two move in. Betty endures Bob's ... See full summary »
Ma and Pa are trying to raise enough money at the county fair to send their daughter Rosie to college. Ma competes in baking and Pa enters a trotter in a horse race, while Rosie takes up with handsome young Marvin Johnson.
Ma and the kids head back to the Ozarks for a visit with Uncle Sedge (essentially a Pa Kettle replacement). He's working his way through a twenty years long relationship with Miss Bedelia ... See full summary »
Elwin Kettle might win a scholarship to an agricultural college. Essay contest judges Mannering and Crosby decide to choose between the two finalist by spending the weekend at the home of ... See full summary »
Nellie Rimplegar has to tell her grown children that due to her bungled handling of their finances, the family has been wiped out by the Stock Market crash. Friend and family doctor, Alan ... See full summary »
Ma and Pa, along with daughter Rosie, go off to Hawaii in answer to cousin Rodney's call for help running his pineapple farm while he recovers from an illness. Pa soon causes a major explosion and gets himself kidnapped.
Kit Madden is traveling to Hollywood, where her best-selling novel is to be filmed. Aboard the train, she encounters Marines Rusty and Dink, who don't know she is the author of the famous ... See full summary »
The Kettles are in Paris along with their daughter-in-law's parents the Parkers. Pa tries to buy racy postcards. He also gets in big trouble when he is given a letter to deliver to Adolph ... See full summary »
Young lovers fall afoul of repressive society as Salem elders get caught up in the witch hunts and trials of 17th century Massachusetts. One family in particular uses the hysteria to its ... See full summary »
On their wedding night Bob informs his new bride Betty that he has bought a chicken farm. An abandoned chicken farm, to be exact, which is obvious when the two move in. Betty endures Bob's enthusiasm for the rural life, rustic inconveniences, and battling nature, but her patience is severely tested when glamorous neighbor Harriet Putnam seems to set her sights on Bob. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Comedy Classic About Two City Folk, Chickens and Ma and Pa Kettle
This charming, lively and atmospheric sojourn into the country is one of the most famous and influential of all "rustic" films. Like "Mr. Blandings Builds His dream House" and "George Washington Slept Here", Betty MacDonald's "The Egg and I" tells the cautionary tale of a city dweller and his wife trying to establish a new life form themselves far from the city's amenities. Usually one partner is more enthusiastic about the relocation than is the other--in this case, a young wife played by Claudette Colbert--while the mate is hell-bent on leaving the city's inconveniences behind--in this case Fred MacMurray. The film has a deceptively simple plot-line. In pursuit of the goal of running an egg-producing farm, MacMurray drags his new wife into the country; the remainder of the film comprises three plot lines: 1. The way they are rooked, helped, charmed and appalled by their bucolic neighbors, especially Ma and pa kettle played for the first time on the screen my Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride; 2. Involvements with a gorgeous neighbor (Louise Allbritton) whom Colbert thinks is a rival for her husband's affections; and 3. Difficulties with a very old and run-down physical property owing to long-term prior neglect, bad weather, etc. This bare summary of events I suggest captures the essence of the storyline rather succinctly; but it also omits the hysteria of Colbert's reactions, her distaste at first for the entire project, and the genial atmosphere of "what next" that permeates all the couple's dealings with nature, their neighbors and their own negotiations about their new marriage and the terms on which it is to be lived. Unlike many incompetent later so-called comedies, this is a true comedy--something that cannot end badly for the participants if they physically persevere; and it is quite realistic, if broadly mounted. How many other films can you the viewer recall which introduces Ma and Pa Kettle, a slinky blond egg-ranch owner, a 300 pound ladies man, a run-down chicken ranch, a college-trained hillbilly engineer and a succession of incompetent workmen? Frank Skinner provided suitable comedic music; the film was directed by veteran Chester Erskine, from a story and screenplay he adopted from the Macdonald novel along with Fred F. Finkelhoffe. The two produced also along with Leonard Goldstein, and they produced an instant classic and a box-office smash. Milton Krasner supplied a consistent cinematography, helped along by a very fine production design by Bernard Herzbrun and inventive set decorations by Oliver Emert and Russell A. Gausman. The fine cast is headed by Fred MacMurray as a believable Bob Macdonald, and Claudette Colbert, very powerful as always and only a bit too old for the part. As the rival egg rancher, Louise Allbritton is cultured, and brilliant as usual. Billy House as the amorous Mr. Reed, Elisabeth Risdon as Betty's mother, Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride and Richard Long as the Kettles are all very much up to their parts, which in lesser hands might have turned into caricatures. others in the well-chosen cast include Samuel S. Hinds as the Sheriff, Ida Moore, Fuzzy Knight, Isabel O'Madigan, Esther Dale, Donald MacBride and John Berkes. It is hard to say enough nice things about the consistent style of this B/W treasure. What makes it work apart from the straightforward direction and the sincere professional actors I suggest is the categorical theme--Betty (Colbert) finally wanting her marriage to work, rather than her husband's equally legitimate desire to make a go of the egg ranch project he has always wanted to head, even if it means making his wife uncomfortable for a while. This is a film many admire, myself among them, and many more like even better that they admire it. It is a fine autumn film any night you want some genuinely-earned laughter.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?