The Kettles in the Ozarks (1956)

81 mins | Comedy | April 1956

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Kettles in the Tall Corn and Ma and Pa Kettle in the Tall Corn . The Kettles in the Ozarks was the seventh film in the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series, and marked the first time that Percy Kilbride, who retired from the series months before production started, did not appear as “Pa Kettle.” The film also marked the feature film debut of child actress Bonnie Franklin, who later portrayed the mother, "Ann Romano Royer," in the long-running television series One Day at a Time , which aired on the CBS network from 1975 to 1984. For more information on the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series, consult the Series Index and see the entry for Ma and Pa Kettle in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Kettles in the Tall Corn and Ma and Pa Kettle in the Tall Corn . The Kettles in the Ozarks was the seventh film in the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series, and marked the first time that Percy Kilbride, who retired from the series months before production started, did not appear as “Pa Kettle.” The film also marked the feature film debut of child actress Bonnie Franklin, who later portrayed the mother, "Ann Romano Royer," in the long-running television series One Day at a Time , which aired on the CBS network from 1975 to 1984. For more information on the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series, consult the Series Index and see the entry for Ma and Pa Kettle in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Mar 1956.
---
Daily Variety
6 Mar 1956
p. 3.
Film Daily
6 Mar 1956
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Oct 1954
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Apr 1955
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
6 May 1955
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 1956
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Mar 1956
p. 809.
Variety
7 Mar 1956
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters from the novel The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald (Philadelphia, 1945).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Kettles in the Tall Corn
Ma and Pa Kettle in the Tall Corn
Release Date:
April 1956
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 14 March 1956
Production Date:
early April--early May 1955
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
21 December 1955
Copyright Number:
LP5790
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
81
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17611
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While Pa Kettle stays home to take care of the family farm, Ma and thirteen of her sixteen children travel by train to visit Pa’s brother Sedge. After wreaking mayhem throughout the train, the brood arrives in Mournful Hollow, Arkansas, where Sedge is in danger of losing his farm due to his extreme laziness. At the farm, Ma and the kids settle in and soon discover that Sedge is taken care of by his long-time fiancée, Miss Bedelia Baines, and, just like Pa, by two local Indian friends, Big Trout and Small Fry. They also learn that, years earlier, Sedge briefly worked for a tax collector, earning his neighbors’ everlasting contempt. Now, while Ma and Bedelia vigorously clean the ramshackle house, Sedge is visited by Jack Dexter, a bootlegger who introduces himself as an “investor.” Upon hearing that Sedge lives alone, Jack decides that the secluded farm would make a perfect headquarters for his boss’s business, and rents the farm for seven dollars a month. The next morning, Jack arrives with his boss, Professor, and two workers, Joe and Benny. Although they are shocked to see thirteen children in the yard, they nonetheless set up operations in the barn, where they disguise themselves as scientists and proceed to make mash. They are interrupted, however, by the Kettle children, who first spy on the bootleggers and then, seeing smoke emerge from the barn, soak the building and its inhabitants with water. That night, while helping Ma put the kids to bed, Bedelia reveals that she yearns to marry Sedge, have children and take care of the farm, but he will not carry through on his proposal. Ma recommends making Sedge ... +


While Pa Kettle stays home to take care of the family farm, Ma and thirteen of her sixteen children travel by train to visit Pa’s brother Sedge. After wreaking mayhem throughout the train, the brood arrives in Mournful Hollow, Arkansas, where Sedge is in danger of losing his farm due to his extreme laziness. At the farm, Ma and the kids settle in and soon discover that Sedge is taken care of by his long-time fiancée, Miss Bedelia Baines, and, just like Pa, by two local Indian friends, Big Trout and Small Fry. They also learn that, years earlier, Sedge briefly worked for a tax collector, earning his neighbors’ everlasting contempt. Now, while Ma and Bedelia vigorously clean the ramshackle house, Sedge is visited by Jack Dexter, a bootlegger who introduces himself as an “investor.” Upon hearing that Sedge lives alone, Jack decides that the secluded farm would make a perfect headquarters for his boss’s business, and rents the farm for seven dollars a month. The next morning, Jack arrives with his boss, Professor, and two workers, Joe and Benny. Although they are shocked to see thirteen children in the yard, they nonetheless set up operations in the barn, where they disguise themselves as scientists and proceed to make mash. They are interrupted, however, by the Kettle children, who first spy on the bootleggers and then, seeing smoke emerge from the barn, soak the building and its inhabitants with water. That night, while helping Ma put the kids to bed, Bedelia reveals that she yearns to marry Sedge, have children and take care of the farm, but he will not carry through on his proposal. Ma recommends making Sedge jealous and to that end, arranges for the whole family to attend a community social that weekend. The next day, Bedelia attempts to flirt with Benny, but he snubs her. Later, a neighbor visits with liquor made from pumpkins and tries to sell it to Professor, but when Ma discovers the contraband, she kicks the neighbor off the farm. At the social, the neighbors snub Sedge until the men see that he has sneaked in some pumpkin liquor, and welcome him. The women, however, insist that he set a good example by marrying Bedelia. Meanwhile, the gang feeds their mash to the farm animals, which stumble around drunkenly. Ma and the kids return to the farm, where a letter from a lonely Pa inspires Ma to tell Sedge that Bedelia will no longer take care of him unless they are married. After Sedge agrees, Bedelia takes a blissful walk in the woods, where she overhears the bootleggers and realizes their true vocation. She, Ma and Sedge confront Professor, who points out that Sedge signed a contract with Jack that makes them equal partners in the farm. The next day, they learn that revenue officers are searching the area for the bootleggers, and Ma sets into action a plan to steal back the contract, which Professor keeps in a leather pouch in his pocket. With the help of Big Trout and Small Fry, they set skunks loose in the barn, and when the bootleggers are contaminated, urge them to strip and jump in the lake. Ma cannot find the papers, however, and so invites them to the kitchen to sample her taffy, to which she has added glue. The crooks’s hands are soon stuck in the candy, allowing Ma to grab the contract, which actually absolves the Kettles of blame. As the kids corral the bootleggers into the back room, Reverend Martin visits and is urged by Ma to marry Sedge and Bedelia. Since Sedge has eaten Ma’s taffy, his teeth are stuck together, but Ma acts as his proxy and accepts Bedelia’s hand in marriage. The bootleggers manage to escape the back room, only to fall into an empty well, where they stay until the arrival of the police. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.