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Robert Z. Leonard
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 <email@example.com>
The book on which this film was based upon was a phenomenal best-seller in the mid-forties: readers loved the earthy tang and hilariously funny situations of Betty Smith's novel of the same name. Although this film version is rather a tame adaptation of the wonderful book, it definitely provides enough warmth, charm & chuckles to please viewers who aren't too discriminating. Claudette Colbert - in her last great film role - plays Betty with her particular warmth & charm: she and Fred MacMurray have an undeniable chemistry. Although they weren't youngsters here, they make you believe them youthful (Claudette was 44 & Fred was 39 here). For reasons which are unclear, Colbert never cared for this film, but the movie-going public just loved it! The film is perhaps most notable in introducing the characters of Ma & Pa Kettle as played by Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride respectively. The public howled at the personalities and antics of this loveable country bumpkins, and they were on the road to a hugely popular series of their own which spanned from 1949-1957. It is really Main's AA-nominated performance of Ma which lingers in the memory: she was born to play the no-nonsense, down-to-earth but loveable Ms Kettle! Note that the Kettle's oldest son, Tom is played by none other than Richard Long, who would star as Jarrod Barkley in the beloved TV western series THE BIG VALLEY eighteen years later. Birdie Hicks is played to hilarious perfection by the acid- tongued Esther Dale.
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