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The Egg and I (1947)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | May 1947 (USA)
On their wedding night, Bob reveals to Betty that he has purchased an abandoned chicken farm. Betty struggles to adapt to their new rural lifestyle, especially when a glamorous neighbor seems to set her eyes on Bob.

Director:

Chester Erskine

Writers:

Betty MacDonald (novel), Chester Erskine (written for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Claudette Colbert ... Betty MacDonald
Fred MacMurray ... Bob MacDonald
Marjorie Main ... Phoebe 'Ma' Kettle
Louise Allbritton ... Harriet Putnam
Percy Kilbride ... Frank 'Pa' Kettle
Richard Long ... Tom Kettle
Billy House ... Billy Reed
Ida Moore ... Old Lady
Donald MacBride ... Mr. Henty
Samuel S. Hinds ... Sheriff
Esther Dale ... Birdie Hicks
Elisabeth Risdon ... Betty's Mother
John Berkes ... Geoduck
Victor Potel ... Crowbar (as Vic Potel)
Fuzzy Knight ... Cab Driver
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Storyline

On their wedding night Bob informs his new bride Betty that he has bought a chicken farm. An abandoned chicken farm, to be exact, which is obvious when the two move in. Betty endures Bob's enthusiasm for the rural life, rustic inconveniences, and battling nature, but her patience is severely tested when glamorous neighbor Harriet Putnam seems to set her sights on Bob. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El huevo y yo See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

On May 5, 1947, Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray starred in radio version of this film that was broadcast on the Lux Radio Theatre. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Betty returns to Bill in the end, she's standing outside of a taxi and holding their baby. The taxi driver also gets out, and she hands him the baby as she walks off-screen. Directly to his right, in the side window, the boom mic is very clearly seen. First, it comes up from below, stays in the center, then flies up beyond the window as Betty walks away (to catch her dialogue). See more »

Quotes

Phoebe 'Ma' Kettle: Last money I saved up, Pa put it in a couple of minks he was goin' to breed to make us a fortune. They up and died before they got around to breedin'.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in And the Oscar Goes To... (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Jumpin' on Saturday Night
(uncredited)
Written by Jack Brooks and Edgar Fairchild
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Urban Fish In A Country Pond
22 April 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The Egg and I is based on a best selling book by Betty McDonald concerning the happenings around an urban city dwelling woman, Claudette Colbert playing Betty McDonald, whose husband, Fred MacMurray, gets an agricultural urge after service in World War II. Back to nature so to speak. They both adapt, he a great deal easier than she did and that's part of the plot.

Doing a little research on the movie and book, I found that Betty McDonald was a resident of Seattle and where they moved was not anywhere near hillbilly country, but to a rural part of Washington state. But of course what Universal was doing was giving in to stereotypes. They couldn't make Ma and Pa Kettle and the rest of the characters convincing without transferring The Egg and I to an Ozark/Appalachian background.

Knowing that it does make me curious as to how the Kettles and the rest of the rustic neighbors were portrayed in the book.

Still somebody apparently knew what they were doing because The Egg and I with a built in audience of those who had already bought Betty McDonald's book cleaned up at the box office. And Percy Kilbride and Marjorie Main as Ma and Pa Kettle and their growing family became such a hit it spawned a series of money making films for Universal Studios for the next decade.

How popular were the Kettles? I remember back as a lad watching an episode of Gomer Pyle who when he got a pass to go into town took in a revival film of the Ma and Pa Kettle series. In places like Mayberry, North Carolina the Kettles attained a cult status. Marjorie Main got a Best Supporting Actress nomination, but lost to Celeste Holm for Gentlemen's Agreement. She and Percy Kilbride played variations on their Kettle characters in most of the remaining films in their respective careers.

Still it's Fred and Claudette's film despite the Kettles and both settle into roles very comfortable for both of them. Next to the Kettles, the supporting player who comes off best is Louise Allbritton, the mantrap neighbor who's got her eye on Fred MacMurray. You will also like Billy House as the rotund peddler with everything, even himself for the needy housewife.

Rural Washington state had to wait until the Nineties for a film set in that part of the country. It was hardly a flattering picture that Tobias Wolff painted of where he grew up in This Boy's Life. No rustics like the Kettles in that Leonardo DiCaprio/Robert DeNiro film.

Probably the most successful imitator of The Egg and I had to be the CBS classic series Green Acres. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor were even more out of place in the Ozarks than Colbert and MacMurray were. They too dealt with a collection of rustics that looked like they stepped from the cast of The Egg and I.

They even made Green Acres a success without the Kettles.


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