7.6/10
3,210
46 user 28 critic

Bachelor Mother (1939)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 4 August 1939 (USA)
An unemployed woman discovers an abandoned baby on the steps of an orphanage, and accepts an offer to take responsibility for the child in return for a job.

Director:

Garson Kanin

Writers:

Norman Krasna (screen play), Felix Jackson (story)
Reviews

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From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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As punishment for speeding, a young man is forced to "adopt" a mother from a local old-age home in the hopes that she can help change his life.

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Stars: Evalyn Knapp, James Murray, Margaret Seddon
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ginger Rogers ... Polly Parrish
David Niven ... David Merlin
Charles Coburn ... J. B. Merlin
Frank Albertson ... Freddie Miller
E.E. Clive ... Merlin's Butler
Elbert Coplen Jr. Elbert Coplen Jr. ... Johnnie - the Baby
Ferike Boros Ferike Boros ... Mrs. Weiss - the Landlady
Ernest Truex ... Orphanage Investigator
Leonard Penn ... Jerome Weiss
Paul Stanton ... Hargraves
Frank M. Thomas ... Orphanage Doctor
Edna Holland ... Orphanage Matron
Dennie Moore ... Mary
June Wilkins ... Louise King
Donald Duck Donald Duck ... Donald Duck
Edit

Storyline

Polly Parrish, a clerk at Merlin's Department Store, is mistakenly presumed to be the mother of a foundling. Outraged at Polly's unmotherly conduct, David Merlin becomes determined to keep the single woman and "her" baby together. Written by Diana Hamilton <hamilton@gl.umbc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Just ten baby fingers and ten baby toes--Troubles? Scandal?--Gosh--Nobody Knows See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 August 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Little Mother See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 1, 1942 with Charles Coburn reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

Since the film was released in August 1939, the New Year's Eve celebration shown has to be 31 December 1938. In this scene a theatre is prominently seen, showing Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer in Love Affair, obviously a promotional moment for another well known RKO feature, but Love Affair was not released until April 1939 so could not have possibly been shown at any theatre on the preceding New Year's Eve. See more »

Quotes

Waiter: Good evening, Mr. Merlin. Your party's right over there.
David Merlin: Oh, yes.
Polly: Oh, don't leave me. I won't know how to talk to these people.
David Merlin: Just say no to the men. The girls probably won't talk to you anyway.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The cast of characters includes a wind-up toy: Donald Duck as himself. Ginger Rogers' character was in charge of a display table full of the Donald Duck toys. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

References Love Affair (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Sung by a mob on New Year's Eve
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The angst of Donald Duck?
2 October 1999 | by Josef Tura-2See all my reviews

How many of us can sympathize with this? Your job is hanging precariously, your social life is not what it could be, and customer service won't let you return a malfunctioning Donald Duck toy without a receipt in triplicate.

This is the irresistible comic situation for the forgotten classic "Bachelor Mother". A young, urbane department store worker happens to run across a baby left on a social office's doorstep. Under the circumstances she is confused as the mother of the baby. She flatly denies this but no one will believe her including her boss, a wealthy, prim David Niven. Following a comedy of errors reminiscent of a Shakespeare play these two are thrown together and Niven is then assumed to be the baby's father by his own father, the inimitable Charles Coburn. The movies dances dizzyingly from one comic scenario to another, including a scene where Niven misdirects Rodgers to rub baby food into the baby's navel, and the cathartic comic moment where Niven, the store manager disguised a customer, demands to have his Donald Duck toy returned, to no avail.

Niven: "What is wrong with our Sales Return desk?"

Rodgers: "They don't return anything!"

Filled with scintillating wit, bubbling chemistry and a feel-good plot it is the perfect comedy to enjoy over and over again.


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