7.6/10
3,232
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)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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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
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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:

"And a little child shall lead them"--into the most delightfully surprising complications you've seen on the screen! 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

Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

When David Niven and Ginger Rogers leave the New Years Eve party, the amount of confetti on David Niven's jacket changes dramatically from when he talks to the lady by the door and when he exits the building. See more »

Quotes

Polly: Good night.
Freddie: Well, how 'bout asking a fella in for a little drink?
Polly: Why, I haven't any liquor here.
Freddie: Ah, come on. Have a heart.
Polly: No, really I haven't.
Freddie: Well, how 'bout asking a fella for a little smoke?
Polly: I haven't any cigarettes either.
Freddie: Well, who's asking you for cigarettes? I got a whole pocket full. I just ain't got a match, that's all.
Polly: Well, I'm sorry, but, I'm awfully tired.
Freddie: Aw, well, you don't have to get up in the morning. Come on, just a match. Only a few minutes. Just one little matcharoo? ...
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

Happy Days Are Here Again
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
Sung by a mob on New Year's Eve
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Outstanding Romantic Comedy
23 December 2007 | by krdementSee all my reviews

For some reason that completely baffles me, TCM rarely broadcasts this wonderful, romantic comedy of errors, but frequently shows the lame musical remake, Bundle of Joy. 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 this original version is far better than his/her counterpart in the remake. The original cast delivers a film with risqué overtones (with a wink to the Hays Office), while Reynolds and (especially) Fisher turn the remake into 1950's milk and cookies.

In Bachelor Mother a beautiful, young Ginger Rogers is at her peak. She portrays a wonderfully sympathetic character. She is strong and feminine; exasperated yet determined. 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 top form here as the blustery, but good-hearted department store magnate who desperately wants a grandson.

I like Debbie Reynolds fine, but Debbie doesn't deliver as nuanced a performance as Ginger Rogers. Eddie Fisher as an actor - No Way! The only time he is not completely painful to watch is in Butterfield 8 - where, incidentally, he doesn't sing. Adolphe Menjou is okay.

I get angry at TCM for showing the remake more frequently than this 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 the story.

For a terrific romantic comedy, accept no substitutes: check out Bachelor Mother. And tell TCM which film you prefer. Maybe it will start showing this film more often.


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