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Babies for Sale (1940)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 14 June 1940 (USA)
A newsman exposes a doctor running an adoption ring from a home for expectant mothers.


Charles Barton


Robert Hardy Andrews (screenplay) (as Robert D. Andrews), Joseph Carole (story) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Rochelle Hudson ... Ruth Williams
Glenn Ford ... Steve Burton / Oscar Hanson
Miles Mander ... Dr. Wallace Rankin
Joe De Stefani Joe De Stefani ... Dr. John Gaines (as Joseph Stefani)
Isabel Jewell ... Edith Drake
Georgia Caine ... Iris Talbot
Eva Hyde Eva Hyde ... Gerda Honaker
Selmer Jackson ... Arthur Kingsley
Mary Currier Mary Currier ... Mrs. Thelma Kingsley
Edwin Stanley Edwin Stanley ... Mr. Edwards
Douglas Wood Douglas Wood ... Dr. Aleshire
John Qualen ... Howard Anderson
Helen Brown Helen Brown ... Mrs. Howard Anderson


Despite being fired from his job,newspaper reporter Steve Burton (Glenn Ford) continues to investigate a case involving Dr. Wallace Rankin (Miles Mander), who is running an adoption ring at the "Mercy Shelter" a charity maternity hospital, who persuades expectant mothers to sign away their babies for adoption. With the aid of a honest physician Dr, John Grimes (Joe De Santini), and Ruth Williams (Rochelle Hudson), an abused wife about to give birth, Burton exposes Rankin. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


MOTHERS! WHAT WOULD YOU TAKE FOR YOUR BABY! (original poster-all caps)


Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 June 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Crianças à Venda See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

early Glenn Ford
3 May 2013 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Babies for Sale" is a B movie, a very early Glenn Ford film, from 1940, produced by Columbia. This type of movie was often used to train up and coming stars and to see if they caught on with the public.

Ford plays investigative reporter Steve Burton who wants to write about the illegal baby racket, where unscrupulous "charities" sell babies for cash. His editor gets a lot of pressure when the story is published because adoption agencies think it's a bad reflection on them. When asked to print a retraction, Burton quits.

He eventually gets onto an illegal baby racket headed up by a unscrupulous doctor (Miles Mander). A young widow, Ruth Williams (Rochelle Hudson), has gone to his agency for a place to stay until her baby is born, not realizing her chances of getting out of there with her baby are next to nothing. They pressure her to sign a release, but she refuses. After her baby is born, she is told her baby died. With the help of another woman, she gets away and is approached by Burton. A recently-released woman (the one who helped her initially) joins in the investigation with Ruth and Burton.

These exposes were often over the top, and this one is no exception. However, it tells a human story with sympathetic characters. Ford is 24 years old and darkly handsome, with that beautiful smile, and despite some personal difficulties -- and interrupting his career for World War II -- he went on to a long career until his retirement in 1991. Rochelle Hudson is very sympathetic as a young mother who is certain her baby is not dead.

As a couple of reviews pointed out, apparently there were no illegitimate babies born in the United States at that time. If there had been unwed mothers in the film, I suppose they would have been depicted as sluts, otherwise the Hayes office wouldn't have allowed it.

Still, it's a good, well-acted film.

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