Test Tube Babies (1948) Poster

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6/10
They sure don't make them like this any more (unfortunately)
Red-Barracuda20 September 2010
This very entertaining melodrama is one of those old exploitation flicks that pretended that it was a message movie to get itself passed the censor. Any film that addressed issues of sex in the 1940's was deemed very racy. This movie is basically an excuse to show scenes of very brief nudity, women cat-fighting and a drunken swinger's party; it tags on material that promotes the then new science of artificial insemination. What makes it so enjoyable is the combination of the appalling acting, the over-ripe melodrama and the completely unsubtle message combined with ludicrous wicked behaviour.

The film features the legendary non-actor Timothy Farrell as the chain-smoking doctor who at one point asks the husband of the woman in labour if he could pop out and buy him some cigarettes! At another time he is part of a quite uproariously funny misunderstanding between doctor and patient, when after informing the unlucky couple that they cannot have children because the husband is sterile, he tells them there is something he can do, to which hilariously, and completely without irony, the wife seems to think that he means he is willing to bang her! So very, very funny. The wife is played by an actress called Dorothy Duke, and unsurprisingly I have never seen her in any other production, as her acting is quite exceptionally atrocious. However, I enjoyed her earnest performance enormously. But in fairness, every actor and actress in this movie cannot act.

I have to admit that I lapped up this old exploitation flick very much indeed. The melodrama is so ridiculous and the swinger's party is very funny – wait for the cat-fight. And it's rounded off with the ludicrous scenes in the clinic. By all conventional standards I guess this is a bad film but by entertainment standards this is a very enjoyable one. I certainly recommend it. Oh and the title is utterly meaningless.
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7/10
A Hilarious Movie
rnc5525 November 2007
Test Tube Babies may be as bad as Plan 9, but it is also just as funny. It features a sickeningly wholesome couple whose friends are all drunks, lechers and strippers. Likewise, the scenes in the doctor's office come straight out of the kind of cautionary films they used to show in high school 'health' class, but the party scenes are vintage soft-core porn filler. It's like two different movies crashed into each other, and Test Tube Babies is the wreckage they left behind.

The actors are nearly as good as the barely-animated characters in the Clutch Cargo cartoons, except for the drunk. His humor is intentional, and some of it actually works. And the girl-fight is sensational! Especially the yells the women let out as they roll around on the floor. I'm just trying to figure out where to place this on my list of ten greatest bad movies of all time.
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4/10
When exploitation masquerades as education...
Leofwine_draca22 August 2015
TEST TUBE BABIES is a low-rent B-movie designed as an educational film to educate the couples about the new-fangled process of artificial insemination. Clocking in at barely an hour long, this is on the outset similar to one of those 'public information' films that were so popular in the middle of the 20th century, but at heart it's an exploitation picture.

Otherwise, how can you explain the film's attempts to titillate? A scene where a woman strips down in a doctor's office ready for her gynaecological examination is gratuitous enough, but things really get out of hand with a random cat-fight thrown into the mix where one woman is stripped topless. The nudity is brief indeed, but it still must have been strong stuff for the 1940s.

As is the usual with these productions, the acting is extraordinarily wooden and stilted, the dialogue unintentionally hilarious (and scenes of the doctor smoking in his office are definitely a product of their era) and the message extremely heavy-handed. It makes for an amusing viewing experience for the modern viewer, that's for sure.
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4/10
"I don't understand it Doctor, I always thought I was perfectly normal..."
classicsoncall24 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Oh my, where to start! Perhaps at the beginning with the film's inclusion of a credit to the National Research Foundation for Fertility Incorporated of Nesconset, Long Island. I had to scratch my head over mention that the new field of artificial insemination was 'free from the taint of heredity' - didn't quite know how to interpret that, although a scene in the doctor's office clearly contradicted that notion later on.

What's mind boggling, and hilariously so, is all the goofy stuff that goes on before getting to the serious subject matter. A late Forties suburban couple decides to get married and eventually raise a family, but seemingly find it necessary to endure wild parties, gigolo come-ons from a co-worker, and a strip tease followed by one of the wildest cat fights you're ever likely to see. All from the comfort of their very own home I might add. I'm not sure how the Research Foundation people found any of this to be supportive of their cause, but who am I to question that.

What I haven't seen anyone on this board mention though, is Dr. Wright's (convenient isn't it, that he was called Dr.(W)Right) office decorum, giving advice as he lights up a cigarette to speak to husband George. In fact, the good doctor even sends George out for more smokes on the night of his wife's first delivery! The other thing that seemed weird to me was why the Doc made his examination of Cathy Bennett with his shirt and glasses removed, wearing a set of white scrubs. This happened not once, but twice! All the while wondering if Nurse Mason might just try to get in on a little action herself. I dare say, I'm somewhat disappointed she didn't.

You know, I've had this film sitting around for over a year in a compilation of 'Cult Classics' from Mill Creek Entertainment, and it's amazing how my timing is almost always a matter of cosmic serendipity. Had I opted to see this picture earlier, I would never have made the connection with George's uncanny resemblance to that hideous and even creepier former Presidential candidate John Edwards.
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1/10
Proof that PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE is far from the worst film ever made!!
MartinHafer23 September 2007
TEST TUBE BABIES is a sleazy and horrid little film that is actually much worse than Ed Wood's "masterpiece", PLAN 9! In every conceivable way (like the pun?), it's worse--the acting, the writing, the directing, the sets and the stripping (yes, I did say "stripping").

This film purports to be an educational film that is for adults who want to learn about the new miracle of artificial insemination (not, actually, "test tube babies" as the title would seem to indicate). However, apart from a very boring and poorly written last 1/3 of the movie (punctuated with a gratuitous nude scene), there is nothing educational about this mess. In fact, it's a soft-core porn movie by today's standards and an X-rated film for 1948! There is nothing educational about showing the young bride parading around the house in a see-through nightgown, a "wild" party where one of the females strips for her friends (where she and the female "friends" look like they really were either strippers or prostitutes), and when the young wife takes off her clothes in the doctor's office and you get a quick glimpse of her totally naked body! For 1948, this is VERY hot stuff, though audiences today might find it all pretty tame and it would have received an R rating.

But what hasn't changed over the years is the pathetic nature of the film from a technical standpoint--in 1948 as in now, it's a terrible film. The acting is very amateurish most of the time--with a blonde at the party and the young wife often speaking as if they're dyslexic and reading from cue cards, the husband mispronouncing the word "gynacologist", a doctor with the charisma of a tomato and the use of strippers/prostitutes for the female roles. And, when mistakes were made, they simply stayed in the film because the filmmakers seemed unwilling to edit anything! If PLAN 9 deserved to receive a score of 1 from so many viewers, shouldn't it be possible to give TEST TUBE BABIES some score even lower?!

My wife watched this film with me and is now angry that she lost an hour of her life that she can never get back. I guess I owe her some flowers or a back rub!
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5/10
Pretty good if you consider other exploitation films of the same era.
SukkaPunch20 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I think I've reached a decision about the films of George Weiss. They are arguably the most realistic cinematic portrayals of 'real life' of all time. Like real life, conversations are bland, people get naked when they get dressed and like real life friends are obnoxious and annoying. Most films do not include these 'real life' things in the final cuts of the film, George Weiss, however does.

There are several scenes in here with dialogue which doesn't seem like it belongs in a film. This includes scenes where people get dressed, and discussions about what's for breakfast, without anything of real value added to the story. The weird thing is about 'Test Tube Babies' is that: none of this feels artificial in the least. I mean this honestly. The bland talks between George and his wife are unconventional, but they are the same conversations I would have with my significant other. There would normally be no other reason to see Georges' wife get dressed, but in real life she would be getting dressed to go to a party. So it all seems realistic to me.

Apart from my little revelation about Test Tube Babies and other George Weiss productions, the film, although bland at times is fun overall. It tells its story competently and amusingly, especially with the party scenes. The scene when a drunken bald man starts dancing with a stripper, on its own makes 'Test Tube Babies' worth the view.

Now, I have only seen the cut 59 minute version, so I can't speak for the extended version. The most common version I'm aware of is slightly deteriorated which is too bad, because the worst corrosion happens over the best parts of the film.

At any rate, this film is great for someone just starting to get into '40s and '50s exploitation flicks. I find myself watching it constantly.

If you like cheap exploitation, it's a must see.
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3/10
"You need to pull yourself together and have a cigarette."
wbswetnam30 July 2012
Test Tube Babies is a late 1940s exploitation flick about a boring couple who are unable to conceive. In spite of their wholesomeness they have a wild party at their house with lecherous men, silly drunks, and strippers! The couple seek a doctor's advice on their options for having a child.

This movie is hilarious for its unintended humor. In one scene the couple are in the doctor's office, and after being told that her husband is sterile and cannot father a child for her, the wife misunderstands the doctor and thinks that he is offering to do the deed! The scene with the wild stag party is unforgettable, especially the cat fight featuring two women wrestling around on the floor clawing at each other's clothes. My favorite scene has to be the one where the doctor comes out to speak to the nervous husband and advises him, "Pull yourself together and have a cigarette", then asks the husband to go buy some smokes for him, too! My how times have changed.

One star for the terrible wooden acting, one star for the cat fight and one star for hilarious medical advice = 3 stars from me.
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1/10
Perverts! :)
jonathan-57721 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In the good old days, a 'social issue' film was an exploitation production that used a news hook to generate buzz and controversy around the usual trashy melodrama. This is the context which "Glen or Glenda?" emerged from and transcended so spectacularly, and in fact the two movies share a producer, George Weiss. There's nowhere near as much energy or activity here, but it's almost as ludicrous and even more lurid for its hyperextension. There are basically three scenes: wife fights off lech; drunken house party begets drunken burlesque routine and catfight; go see the doctor. The social message is: have test tube babies, and rid yourself of the skeezing lowlife that accrue to non-parenting adults. Pretty non-linear as social messages go, but that's clearly because the filmmakers are far more interested in skeezing lowlife than they are in test tube babies. In fact, by the time the camera peeks behind the curtain to ogle the wife changing into her hospital clothes, it's pretty clear that the filmmakers are skeezing lowlife themselves. The perfect meld of form and content!
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3/10
I Vote for the Public Awareness Angle
Lang Jr24 March 2008
Are the producers championing a noble cause to create public awareness for artificial insemination, or are they simply abusing the medical angle to display non-relevant T&A? The answer is "B". Test Tube Babies is about a young couple who can't have kids and explore scientific methods for fertilization. Rather dull in the first and last thirds of the film, but the Swingers Party is awesome, providing tips for even the jaded MTV generation. And for those in the process of preparing an otherwise dull medical presentation, this film will demonstrate how the addition of gratuitous nudity, strip-teases, and cat-fighting will keep your audience tuned-in. A young Timothy Farrell (pre-Umberto Scalli) appears as the doctor.
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2/10
Not Much Of An Educational Film - It's Exploitation Instead
Rainey-Dawn7 February 2017
Oh man what a terrible film! But it can be funny as all get outs! This is the type of film they passed as education on adult topics like this one about being sterile and artificial insemination. I found the part with the doctor being blunt with the man really funny... especially after he was being blunt then told the man (husband) "let me be blunt... dead" -- I fell out laughing!! He was already about as blunt as he could get by actually saying the word "sperm" and then suddenly wanted to be blunt about the sperm being "dead". That was too funny!! If you haven't seen this film, then you'd have to see it to understand why it was so funny... and if you have seen the film then you know what I mean already!! Haha! OH It took about 30 minutes before the husband to find out the he was sterile... before that it was all about a swingers party and it even had a stripper insulting the "nice ladies". One of the "nice ladies" and the stripper ended up in a cat-fight and get got a chance to see a the top nude half of the blonde stripper - just for a few seconds! LOL.

Really the film was NOT very educational about sterility and artificial insemination - it was an exploitation film of some kind and you really can't tell what - maybe just swinging adults?!! OH and the camera man wanted a peek at a couple of women's breasts so they made sure we, the viewers, got a quick glimpse of them too. ONE MORE THING: This movie really has zero to do with test tube babies, really it doesn't.

It's a 1/10 film -- but I got some giggles out of this one so it gets an extra point for making me laugh!!

2/10
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2/10
Silly medical infomercial disguised as a movie...
dwpollar10 February 2007
1st watched 2/10/2007 - 2 out of 10(Technical director-Dr. A. Maneck): Silly medical infomercial disguised as a movie. In this movie, we learn about the ins and outs of artificial insemination(which I don't consider to be a Test Tube Baby, as the title is named). We learn about this after a married couple, who are doing OK until the wife wants a baby and all their friends seem to be going that direction, but they can't conceive. After a doctor appointment, we find out the husband is sterile and they decide to try artificial insemination. Along the way, we get to view crazy baby showers attended by the wife where the attendees get drunk with a nude cat fight between a couple of strippers thrown in(not like any baby shower I've attended!!). Why we have to see these scenes, I'm not really sure but they are thrown in and probably didn't make this film viewable at a normal theatre back in 1948. But all In all, the doctor does his thing and the woman has her baby and they live happily ever-after and we wonder at the marvels of modern medicine!(Well, not really, but that's what we're supposed to do, I guess). To be honest, it would have been a less painful experience to read a medical journal instead of having to view this putrid movie.
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Poor
Michael_Elliott12 March 2008
Test Tube Babies (1948)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Silly "teach the American people" style film that's in the same league as other docudramas like Reefer Madness and The Cocaine Fiends. George and Cathy fall in love, get married and after a few years they decide to have a kid but it turns out George is sterile. After a few tears the couple decides to try "test tube babies". Again, this is a silly little exploitation film about artificial insemination that tries to teach people that it's not a bad thing to do. Unfortuantly there isn't too much camp value here as things are bad but they never get bad enough to laugh at. Timothy Farrell co-stars.
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