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I might be considered biased in my view because my twin brother Don and I played the baby in Bundle of Joy. We were only a year old, and lived in the San Fernando Valley area of L.A. when we were picked out of approximately 200 sets of twin boys to be the baby in the movie. Over the years, I have heard my mom and other relatives tell many stories of the filming of this movie, and being VIP guests at the premier movie opening in Hollywood. I have, of course, seen the movie countless times over the years, and still like to watch it and laugh at the cute smiling babies we once were. My mom had to be on the set with us whenever we were filming, by state law. She has told us that Debbie Reynolds was a truely remarkable actress and treated us extremely well. Adolphe Menjou treated us like his own grand kids. Unfortunately, she also said that not everyone in the movie industry was so nice, and our parents decided not to sign a contract with RKO Pictures which would have allowed us to be in more films. Oh well, our short movie career aside, we both have grown up and are very happy in our own careers. I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes light-hearted films with happy endings!
Many times have I wondered what Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher were like in their careers (I'm a Star Wars buff). I finally sat down and saw this film. I must say that after watching, I just loved it and wanted more. Since then Debbie Reynolds has become my favorite actress ever. After seeing this I raced to my mother for more info. and she told me of the trouble that followed. I was severely disappointed, because the chemistry in this film was superb. Among the highlights is Debbie's ability to use her magnificent talent to use subtle face gestures to get across the idea of what she is thinking. Eddie was less so, but did an average job. But after hearing the truth, everytime I re-watch this film, I can't help but imagine Eddie with horns on his head or a dunce cap a mile tall. Debbie's charm is the main reason to see this film. She steals the show, the script, the clothes, and anything else she touches. The back-up roles are performed well. This is a remake of the earlier film, "Bachelor Mother." If anyone but Debbie were in the lead, this movie would stink, but it gets a solid 3 stars from me (out of 4).
BUNDLE OF JOY
I was excited to watch this remake of BACHELOR MOTHER. I loved the story and hoped it would be just as appealing with Debbie Reynolds as the star. Debbie did a great job with what she had, especially in the scenes with the adorable baby, but her real life husband Eddie Fisher lacked the charisma and maturity to capture my attention. I found myself comparing him to David Niven from the original movie and easily one of the most charismatic actors ever in my opinion. Fisher not only paled in comparison, but also came across as a boy and certainly not a man even in his musical numbers. He does have a spectacular singing voice. I'll give him that. I absolutely adore Adolphe Menjou particularly from YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER, POLLYANNA, & LITTLE MISS MARKER. I thought he did a fine job in the supporting cast.
Even if I had seen this version first, then I think I would have felt the same about it as it just came off as rather mediocre entertainment. If you love these actors, then you may disagree, but I found the original screenplay and film to be the real bundle of joy for me.
"Bachelor Mother" was a delightful movie, but one can imagine why a
musical, in color, remake would crop up. Debbie Reynolds as Polly
Parrish was a good choice, and wound up carrying the movie. Eddie
Fisher, as the junior Merlin, was not such a good choice. Many other
actors at the time would have been far better. Had someone like Donald
O'Connor had the role, it could have been an unmitigated success. Too
bad Fisher got the job.
Overall, the movie is delightful. The basic plot, of a sales clerk in a large department store who winds up with a baby that's not hers, but that no one believes is not hers, is an excellent set-up for comedy. This one does a good job. "Bachelor Mother" does a better job. And an even better one may pop up in the future.
During the merry Christmas season, perky department store salesgirl
Debbie Reynolds (as Polly Parish) is fired because so many of her
customers return their ware. She passes an orphanage and picks up a
cute baby. Everyone assumes Ms. Reynolds is the baby's mother. This
helps Reynolds get her job back, from singing store owner's son Eddie
Fisher (as Dan Merlin), who also gives Reynolds a raise. Soon, the
handsome crooner is harmonizing with the cute clerk. This musical
re-make of "Bachelor Mother" (1939) is fairly well-suited to the
real-life married couple, who simultaneously produced their own "Bundle
of Joy" (Carrie Fisher)...
A major recording star upon the film's release, Mr. Fisher was so popular he survived the initial onslaught of "rock and roll" - but was about to fall. Fisher last hit the "Top Ten" in 1956. It didn't help that "Bundle of Joy" was lacking in hit single material, with Fisher's "Some Day Soon" barely cracking the record charts in early 1957. Reynolds was a much better actress, and reached her greatest popularity after she and Fisher divorced. Unfortunately, this is it for the popular twosome's musical comedy film career. They look good and sing sweetly together - their "Lullaby in Blue" sung to their "Pretty Baby" was brimming with potential.
******** Bundle of Joy (12/12/56) Norman Taurog ~ Eddie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Tommy Noonan, Adolphe Menjou
Bundle Of Joy was a musical remake of one of RKO Studio's brightest
comedy hits from it's hey day, Bachelor Mother. Taking the roles that
Ginger Rogers and David Niven had back in 1939 are the Brad Pitt and
Jennifer Aniston of 1956, Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.
Reynolds was an established musical star who was loaned out from MGM to RKO in the studio's waning days for this film. Someone decided that putting Reynolds together with her husband, pop singing star Eddie Fisher was a natural.
If musicals were still in vogue, this could have for Eddie Fisher been something like Higher and Higher was for Frank Sinatra which incidentally was also an RKO film. Bundle of Joy alas was not given any songs as good as what Sinatra had in Higher and Higher.
Frank's role there did not call for any great acting and neither does Fisher's here. Eddie's a likable enough fellow, the son of the head of a department store who has the idea that Reynolds is an unwed mother.
How he got that idea? Like in Bachelor Mother where Ginger Rogers did the same thing, Reynolds is on her lunch break and sees an abandoned baby on the steps of a foundling home. Taking such pity on it, she takes it with her. Probably this being Christmas time definitely helped in the sentiment department.
Before long everyone just assumes it's her kid, no matter what she says and does so she has to go with the flow.
RKO did give Eddie and Debbie a nice supporting cast that includes Adolphe Menjou as his father and Una Merkel as her landlady. Tommy Noonan almost steals the film as Debbie's officious co-worker.
Bundle Of Joy is a good enough film to spend some time during the holiday season watching. Which I did and am not sorrier for the experience.
This film is and will always be one of the unsung classics of the RKO
Studio. A musical remake of "Bachelor Mother", "Bundle of Joy" is a funny,
heartwarming tale of mistaken identity and blossoming love.
The only downside of this movie is the fact that it has Eddie Fisher in it. He should have stuck to singing as he is the most excruciatingly bad actor I have ever seen.
Overall, I give this movie 41/2 out of five stars.
I rarely comment on movies, but after seeing the other review for this film I felt compelled to write and tell everyone to ignore the other comment! If you like musicals, you'll love this. If you don't like musicals - well, what are you doing here in the first place? It's campy. It's cute. The songs (especially "How I love my pretty baby") are catchy and the story line is fun to follow. I've seen it dozens of times and highly recommend it! I would say it's my favorite Debbie Reynolds movie next to Singin' in the Rain. Can't wait for the DVD release! Seriously people! Take my advice! This is a must see for all musical lovers, or Debbie Reynolds lovers! Don't hesitate another second! Buy it already!
This film is strictly for fans of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher.
I get angry at TCM for showing this mess more frequently than Bachelor Mother, the delightful original. I get angrier still that some Hollywood boob thought it would be a good idea to remake Bachelor Mother, filling it with some lame songs that only serve to interrupt the flow of a cute comedy. Instead, Hollywood could have spent the time, money, energy and talent wasted on this horrible remake to give us something new and original - Wow, what a concept!
Bachelor Mother (the original), with Ginger Rogers and David Niven is a spicy stew, simmering with sexuality. It is a 1930's wink at the Hays Office. Bundle of Joy (the remake), with Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher is strictly milk and cookies. It is a 1950's handshake with Eisenhower.
Which cast would you rather watch - Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher and Adolphe Menjou, or Ginger Rogers, David Niven and Charles Coburn? For me, every member of the cast in the original version is far better than his/her counterpart in the remake.
In the original a beautiful, young Ginger Rogers is at her peak. David Niven delivers perfectly as a somewhat spoiled, sophisticated and yet befuddled scion of a wealthy department store magnate. And I always love to see Charles Coburn in a movie. In Bachelor Mother, he is priceless as the desperate grandfather wannabe.
In Bundle of Joy Debbie Reynolds is her usual perky self. She is fine in this role, although her performance (along with Fisher's) completely changes the tone of the story. As an actor, Eddie Fisher is hopeless. He is completely lacking in screen "presence." Here he is way too wholesome for this story. His acting is completely bland and clueless. Likewise, his singing is so bland and unremarkable that it has been completely forgotten by the world at large. The only time he is not completely painful is in Butterfield 8 - where, incidentally, he doesn't sing. Here, Fisher's lame performance alone is enough to ruin this movie. Adolphe Menjou, a favorite character actor, delivers a competent performance, but not one of his best. He is more blustering than commanding. He and Fisher are not convincing as a father and son.
Do you see a musical for the music, the story being merely incidental? Or do watch a musical for a story, with some (hopefullly) good music used for seasoning? If the former, you might like this lame remake. Otherwise you are much better off watching the Ginger Rogers non-musical original, Bachelor Mother.
Directed by Norman Taurog, this Musical remake of Bachelor Mother
(1939) by Felix Jackson, with a screenplay by Robert Carson, Norman
Krasna, and Arthur Sheekman, doesn't come close to the charm or quality
of the original. It was primarily made to capitalize on the Eddie
Fisher-Debbie Reynolds marriage and her pregnancy, which would produce
future actress and writer Carrie Fisher.
But like their marriage, the film fails because of Eddie Fisher, who didn't really have an acting talent that was anywhere near as capable as his singing ability. Of course, Bachelor Mother (1939) had both Ginger Rogers and David Niven. At least the supporting cast in this one, which includes Adolphe Menjou, Tommy Noonan, Una Merkel, Melville Cooper, Mary Treen, and Edward Brophy (among others), was up to the challenge, helping the movie (combined with Reynolds's pluckiness) salvage an average (vs. below average) rating from this reviewer.
Since I provided a full synopsis of the original for its review (find it on IMDb.com), I won't rehash it here. This remake doesn't stray very far from the source material except for the added (and rather uninspired) musical numbers, even the characters names were kept. Fisher plays Dan Merlin, son of store-owner J.B. 'John' Merlin (Menjou), who falls for Polly Parish (Reynolds) after she'd been mistakenly thought to be the single mother of a foundling she'd found on the steps of an agency (where Treen works). Noonan plays a co- worker of Polly's, Freddie Miller, who'd love to be her guy as much as he'd like to be promoted. Merkel plays Polly's understanding landlord Mrs. Dugan, Cooper plays the Merlin's butler named Adams, and Brophy plays one of the dance contest judges.
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