Patsy Douglas (Betsy Drake) is a woman with bad luck. If she isn’t falling all around on the subway, she’s making a fool of herself in front of her boss. She just can’t catch a break.
Tired after a long day at work, she wants nothing more than to be able to sit on the subway, but it’s always packed on her route home.
She gets lucky one day, though, when she grabs a baby doll that’s going to be discarded from a display at the ad agency where she works. People on the subway mistake the baby for a real one, and offer up a seat!
Also on the subway that day is Cyrus Baxter (Edmund Gwenn), the agency’s most important client. He’s flattered to learn that Patsy has named her “baby” after him, so she has to keep up the charade, with the help of her bosses, Sam Morley (Dennis Morgan) and Barry Holmes (Zachary Scott)
Pretty Baby was directed by Bretaigne Windust. The screenplay was written by Everett Freeman and Harry Kurnitz, from a story by Jules Furthman and John Klorer.
Poor Betsy Drake basically lives in the struggle bus early on in this film! She falls into people several times on the subway, spills ink on her new boss, and gets her necktie caught in a typewriter. You can’t blame the gal for taking an easy chance to get herself a subway seat, after all of that!
When she’s not finding herself troubled by clumsy mishaps, Patsy is a regular Peggy Olson — a secretary who dreams of writing jingles.
The film starts off pretty mildly paced, with no big laughs. It still held my attention well enough, but could have used a jolt of energy.
It picks up in laughs once the “baby” is mistaken for a living one — and Baxter puts pressure on the higher-ups to take good care of the young mother. The fun reaches its heights when Patsy realizes what’s going on, and must team up with Sam to keep her secret, so as not to disappoint Baxter or cause a scandal.
Pretty Baby isn’t a top-notch film. It’s kind of uneven in tone, and misses a lot of its potential in the first half. Still, it’s a decent little watch, especially for fans of Betsy Drake.