Favorite Things About… Bachelor Mother (1939)

(Image via Diary of a Celluloid Girl)

(Image via Diary of a Celluloid Girl)

The favorite film:
Bachelor Mother, a romantic comedy from RKO, directed by Garson Kanin and written by Norma Krasna

The synopsis:
Toy saleswoman Polly Parrish is being let go from her seasonal job just after Christmas. After seeing a woman leave a baby on the step of a local orphanage, she is mistaken for the baby’s mother. Could this twist of fate help Polly save her job… and find love?

The cast:
Ginger Rogers as Polly
David Niven as David
Charles Coburn as Mr. Merlin
Frank Albertson as Freddie
Ferike Boros as Mrs. Weiss

Fun facts:

  • After nine films together, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire took a professional break from one another following the release of The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle. Ginger wanted to take on a wider variety of genres, and Fred wanted to work with a wider variety of partners. This was Rogers’ first film to be released after the “split.” The famed pair would reunited ten years later for The Barkleys of Broadway.
  • TCM notes that this film marked David Niven’s first role as a rom-com leading man.
  • The film’s story (credited to Felix Jackson) was nominated for an Oscar. It lost out to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
  • The film inspired several star-packed radio adaptations, featuring talents such as Fred MacMurray, Lucille Ball, Joseph Cotton, Ann Sothern, and Fredric March.
  • The film was remade with Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher as Bundle of Joy in 1956.
(Image via Pinterest)

(Image via Pinterest)

Favorite things:

  • Charles Coburn!
  • Polly Parrish, seller of Donald Ducks (or, perhaps former seller, since she’s just been let go from the department store)
  • Those expressions when Polly says the baby isn’t hers!
  • “Any motorcycle cop who can afford to turn down a $100 bribe must be in some crooked racket. Don’t you think so?”
  • Polly’s face when she finds out she gets to keep her job, and her puzzled reaction to the talk of her “real” Christmas present
  • The baby’s basket wrapped up with a bow!
  • “And WE have its footprints!”
  • “I got it for Christmas!”
  • David’s impression of Polly’s dancing. BLUH! BLUH!
  • “Do you know how to get a baby to sleep on its stomach? You turn it on its stomach, and then you go to bed. Then the baby turns over and starts to cry. Then you get up and turn the baby on its stomach, and go back to bed, and then the baby starts to cry, and then you get up and turn the baby on its stomach and pretty soon, it’s 9:00, and you’re winding ducks.”
  • David’s investment in the baby’s well-being is endearing, with his scientific baby book and all. His attempts to be helpful often go awry, but it’s nice of him to try.
  • David’s big “shoplifting” bust
  • David and Polly speaking “Swedish”
  • “Personally, I’d just as soon go stag.”
    “Hmm… you could, too, with those shoulders!”
  • David’s cackling laugh
  • Irene Dunne’s Love Affair on the theater marquee!
  • The crowd singing “Happy Days Are Here Again”
  • That ridiculously cute New Year’s kiss in the crowded street
  • “Say! It’s just 12 o’clock… in Chicago. *smooch* Happy New Year, in Chicago.”
    “Same to you.”
    “You wouldn’t wanna stay up and see the New Year in Los Angeles, would you?”
  • The “Dear Mr. Martin” letter
  • “[…] a certain girl whose name I will not mention because I am not a rat”
  • “Why, he can recite the first line from Gunga Din!”
  • The moment David and Polly realize that the elder Mr. Merlin thinks John is his grandson
  • The fake fathers
  • “You two seem to have slipped up some place. You’ve got one too many!”
  • The duck dramatically tumbling down the stairs
  • And a sweet ending for everyone!
(Image via TCM)

(Image via TCM)

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3 thoughts on “Favorite Things About… Bachelor Mother (1939)

  1. Pingback: January 2017 in Film – The Motion Pictures

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