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Three Is a Family (1944)

Ruggles isn't providing enough money to have his family live well. His wife takes over and goes to work.


Edward Ludwig


Harry Chandlee, Henry Ephron (play) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marjorie Reynolds ... Kitty Mitchell
Charles Ruggles ... Sam Whitaker
Fay Bainter ... Frances Whittaker
Helen Broderick ... Irma
Arthur Lake ... Archie Whittaker
Hattie McDaniel ... Maid
Jeff Donnell ... Hazel Whittaker
John Philliber John Philliber ... Dr. Bartell
Walter Catlett ... Barney Meeker
Clarence Kolb ... Mr. Steele
Elsa Janssen ... Adelaide (as Else Janssen)
Renie Riano ... Genevieve
Warren Hymer ... Coolie
Clyde Fillmore Clyde Fillmore ... Mr. Spencer
Christian Rub ... Bellboy


Ruggles isn't providing enough money to have his family live well. His wife takes over and goes to work.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

23 November 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

3 c'est une famille See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sol Lesser Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The earliest documented telecast of this film in New York City occurred Saturday 8 June 1946 on WNBT (Channel 4). Post WW-II television viewers got their first look it in New York City Sunday 23 January 1949 on Film Theater of the Air on WCBS (Channel 2), in Los Angeles, Sunday 8 May 1949 on KTLA (Channel 5), in both Philadelphia and Cincinnati Wednesday 31 August 1949 on WPTZ (Channel 3) and on WLW-T (Channel 4), and in Atlanta Sunday 25 September 1949 on WSB (Channel 8). See more »


Referenced in Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Amusing wartime comedy with infants galore
17 June 2002 | by arneblazeSee all my reviews

This is nothing more than an amusing wartime comedy, practically the photographed stage play it is drawn from with nary more than the one-set living room used in the original. Housing shortages and Navy husbands called up force young newly married mothers to descend in ever confusing waves on one elderly family. There are the usual plots and subplots with a few interesting characterizations: Hattie McDaniel as an imbibing, ever-laughing maid; John Philliber as an ancient doctor who is practically blind; and Arthur Lake as a nerve-frazzled expectant father. A standout (as always) is Helen Broderick as the sarcastic Aunt Irma - she gets all the best lines.

The Sound Recording earned an Oscar nom - it is crisp and full-bodied but I believe it was the sound editing being honored here - being able to hear dialogue over the wails of infants is the achievement.

Very rare film, especially on video. Excellent casting all around and a mildly amusing romp - but definitely a "woman's picture" of the period - aimed at women and young mothers.

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