The Kettles on Old MacDonald's Farm (1957)

79-80 mins | Comedy | June 1957

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HISTORY

The working title for this film was Ma and Pa Kettle on Old MacDonald’s Farm . The Kettles on Old MacDonald’s Farm was the eighth and final film in the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series, and the first and only to star Parker Fennelly as “Pa,” the role played by Percy Kilbride in the previous pictures. For more information on the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series, please consult the Series Index and the entry for the 1949 Universal film Ma and Pa Kettle in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ... More Less

The working title for this film was Ma and Pa Kettle on Old MacDonald’s Farm . The Kettles on Old MacDonald’s Farm was the eighth and final film in the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series, and the first and only to star Parker Fennelly as “Pa,” the role played by Percy Kilbride in the previous pictures. For more information on the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series, please consult the Series Index and the entry for the 1949 Universal film Ma and Pa Kettle in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 May 1957.
---
Daily Variety
30 Apr 57
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 May 57
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jan 1957
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 1957
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 57
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
4 May 57
p. 362.
Variety
1 May 57
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog
MAKEUP
Makeup
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters from the novel The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald (Philadelphia, 1945).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Ma and Pa Kettle on Old MacDonald's Farm
Release Date:
June 1957
Production Date:
early January--early February 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
3 May 1957
Copyright Number:
LP8689
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
79-80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18487
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Cape Flattery, Washington, Ma and Pa Kettle and ten of their fourteen children move from their old, ramshackle farm to the MacDonald farm. Pa, as is typical of his extreme laziness, neither helps with the move nor manages to pay for any of the materials needed to post “for sale” signs on the old farm. Meanwhile, lumberman Brad Johnson eagerly awaits the arrival of Sally, his girl friend and daughter of his employer, lumber magnate Jim P. Flemming. When she arrives, however, she bears the news that Jim violently opposes their planned wedding, and so the couple hides out at the abandoned Kettle farm, planning to elope in the morning. Unfortunately for them, the entire Kettle brood shows up only minutes later to collect the last of their livestock, and discovering the young couple there, assume they have already eloped. Ma and Pa clean up the place and then leave the sweethearts on their “honeymoon.” Although Brad plans to slip out later and return with the preacher, he stays to help Sally clear the room of animals, and when he jimmies the door shut, it sticks, locking them both in the bedroom. Soon after, Jim discovers Sally is gone and rushes to the Kettles, demanding that they bring him to the farm, where they all find Brad and Sally in the bedroom. After Jim declares that they are not married yet and will not be if he has anything to say about it, Brad pleads that he has a lease to grow trees and start his own lumber business. Jim explains, however, that it is not Brad’s ability but Sally’s that he doubts. Jim suspects Sally will not ... +


In Cape Flattery, Washington, Ma and Pa Kettle and ten of their fourteen children move from their old, ramshackle farm to the MacDonald farm. Pa, as is typical of his extreme laziness, neither helps with the move nor manages to pay for any of the materials needed to post “for sale” signs on the old farm. Meanwhile, lumberman Brad Johnson eagerly awaits the arrival of Sally, his girl friend and daughter of his employer, lumber magnate Jim P. Flemming. When she arrives, however, she bears the news that Jim violently opposes their planned wedding, and so the couple hides out at the abandoned Kettle farm, planning to elope in the morning. Unfortunately for them, the entire Kettle brood shows up only minutes later to collect the last of their livestock, and discovering the young couple there, assume they have already eloped. Ma and Pa clean up the place and then leave the sweethearts on their “honeymoon.” Although Brad plans to slip out later and return with the preacher, he stays to help Sally clear the room of animals, and when he jimmies the door shut, it sticks, locking them both in the bedroom. Soon after, Jim discovers Sally is gone and rushes to the Kettles, demanding that they bring him to the farm, where they all find Brad and Sally in the bedroom. After Jim declares that they are not married yet and will not be if he has anything to say about it, Brad pleads that he has a lease to grow trees and start his own lumber business. Jim explains, however, that it is not Brad’s ability but Sally’s that he doubts. Jim suspects Sally will not be able to handle the rough life of a farmer because she has been reared in penthouses. After Ma proposes that Sally stay on at the farm on a trial run, while Brad sleeps at the lumber camp and she and Pa chaperone, Jim finally agrees. The next day, Sally sleeps late, burns breakfast, performs her chores wearing haute couture, and finally breaks down into tears. Ma suggests a brisk shower, but as Sally prepares to bathe, a bear enters, and Sally faints. That night, Pa, Brad and George, the garbage man, stand guard against the bear, which cuddles next to George as soon as he falls asleep. At dawn, an embarrassed Sally promises to make Ma proud, and within weeks becomes a fully competent housewife. Soon after, Brad learns that he needs hundreds of dollars to renew his timber lease, and although the couple is crestfallen, Ma insists that they can win the full amount at the logging camp rodeo. There, they win each competition, including the pie contest, where a malodorous George stands behind the judges as they test every pie except Sally’s. The last, most important contest is the log race, and after Pa spots the bear again and dashes across the lake, he is declared the winner. Brad and Sally head to the farm to celebrate together, while the local men gather to track down the bear. George hears that they plan to search the Kettle farm, and in order to save his friends’ reputations, lies that Brad and Sally have already eloped and are honeymooning, prompting the locals to plan a shivaree. They invade the farm, playfully handcuffing the couple to the car, which they push to the middle of the lake. Ma and Pa follow to chaperone, but allow the happy lovers finally to have some time alone. The next morning, Ma and Pa plan for Brad and Sally, now assumed by the rest of the community to be married, to sleep at the farm, and wire Jim that the union must be made legal immediately. He writes back approvingly, and soon his friends send dozens of state-of-the-art appliances as wedding gifts. After Brad protests that the gifts are too expensive and unnecessary, however, Sally grows furious, and Brad stalks off in anger. While Sally plans to move home, the neighborhood women arrive to try out the newfangled gadgets, setting up a sewing, cooking and washing circle in the barn. Pa and George stand in the corner, discussing when Sally might have a child, causing one of the women mistakenly to believe that Sally is expecting. The rumor spreads and, by the afternoon, the whole town believes that Ma is having triplets, and the men rush to congratulate Pa. Aflame with pride, Pa is inspired to go to work, and hops onto Brad’s new tractor, which he immediately drives off a cliff into a river. This puts Brad in debt for thousands of dollars, and causes another quarrel between Brad and Sally after he refuses money from her father. Ma is so disappointed in Pa that she throws him out, and he spends the day with George trying to figure out how to win her back. At the same time that Pa decides to capture the bear to prove his worth, Ma resolves to catch it in order to win Brad and Sally the reward money. Ma, with her son Henry, builds a trap in the truck, while Pa, with George, digs a trap in the woods. Both parties then lay tracks of bear bait, which coincidentally end at the same point. When the bear reaches the end point, everyone is entangled in a madcap chase, which finally concludes after the bear chases George into the ground trap. The bear becomes so fond of George’s scent that George soon takes him on as a work partner, and they arrive together at the wedding for Brad and Sally. +

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.