Mother Carey's Chickens (1938)

81-82 mins | Drama | 29 July 1938

Director:

Rowland V. Lee

Cinematographer:

J. Roy Hunt

Editor:

George Hively

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

In the film, the character "Lally Joy" recites "Norval," a 1762 poem by the Scottish author John Home. According to modern sources, RKO asked Katharine Hepburn to play the part of "Kitty Carey" in this film. Hepburn, who had just been declared a "box office deterrent" by the Independent Theater Owners Association, refused the role and consequently bought out her contract from RKO. RKO executives then brought in Ginger Rogers, who wanted to play a wholesome type, for the role of "Nancy Carey," but replaced her with Anne Shirley before shooting began. In 1963, Disney Productions made a version of Wiggin's story called Summer Magic , starring Hayley Mills and Burl Ives and directed by James Neilson (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; ... More Less

In the film, the character "Lally Joy" recites "Norval," a 1762 poem by the Scottish author John Home. According to modern sources, RKO asked Katharine Hepburn to play the part of "Kitty Carey" in this film. Hepburn, who had just been declared a "box office deterrent" by the Independent Theater Owners Association, refused the role and consequently bought out her contract from RKO. RKO executives then brought in Ginger Rogers, who wanted to play a wholesome type, for the role of "Nancy Carey," but replaced her with Anne Shirley before shooting began. In 1963, Disney Productions made a version of Wiggin's story called Summer Magic , starring Hayley Mills and Burl Ives and directed by James Neilson (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; F6.4771). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
22 Jul 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Jul 38
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Apr 38
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 38
pp. 10-11.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 38
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
26 Jul 38
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
28 May 38
p. 60.
Motion Picture Herald
30 Jul 38
p. 64.
New York Times
5 Aug 38
p. 11.
Variety
27 Jul 38
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Pandro S. Berman in charge of production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Mother Carey's Chickens by Kate Douglas Wiggin (Boston, 1911) and the play of the same name by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Rachel Crothers (New York, 25 Sep 1917).
DETAILS
Release Date:
29 July 1938
Production Date:
28 April--mid June 1938
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
Copyright Date:
29 July 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8230
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
81-82
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4289
SYNOPSIS

Hours before his departure for the Spanish-American War, Captain John Carey, a career naval officer, invites his wife and four children to a picnic near Newport, Rhode Island. While driving in the country, the Careys, who are renting a nearby furnished house, discover an abandoned mansion and stop to investigate it. Enchanted by the once-splendid house, daughter Nancy fantasizes with her sister Kitty about having the money to buy the property. Several months later, during a birthday dinner given in Captain Carey's honor, Mrs. Carey receives word that her husband has been killed. To make ends meet on her husband's pension, Mrs. Carey takes work at a factory and is seriously injured on the job. In spite of offers from their rich aunt Bertha, the Carey children vow to find a way to restore their mother's health while staying together as a family. Consequently, when Nancy is out driving with Ralph Thurston, a Latin teacher with whom both she and Kitty are infatuated, she comes up with a scheme whereby the family will lease the still-empty mansion for a small yearly fee, restore and furnish it using her father's life insurance money, and transform it into a profitable boardinghouse for Ralph and his fellow teachers. With help from the Pophams, the local real estate agents and general store owners, the Careys turn the dilapidated mansion into an inviting residence. Unknown to them, however, Pauline Fuller and her henpecked husband Clarence are plotting with the mansion's Boston landlord, Thomas Hamilton, Sr., to buy the house for themselves. Before the Careys are able to open their doors to the boarders, they are visited by Dr. ... +


Hours before his departure for the Spanish-American War, Captain John Carey, a career naval officer, invites his wife and four children to a picnic near Newport, Rhode Island. While driving in the country, the Careys, who are renting a nearby furnished house, discover an abandoned mansion and stop to investigate it. Enchanted by the once-splendid house, daughter Nancy fantasizes with her sister Kitty about having the money to buy the property. Several months later, during a birthday dinner given in Captain Carey's honor, Mrs. Carey receives word that her husband has been killed. To make ends meet on her husband's pension, Mrs. Carey takes work at a factory and is seriously injured on the job. In spite of offers from their rich aunt Bertha, the Carey children vow to find a way to restore their mother's health while staying together as a family. Consequently, when Nancy is out driving with Ralph Thurston, a Latin teacher with whom both she and Kitty are infatuated, she comes up with a scheme whereby the family will lease the still-empty mansion for a small yearly fee, restore and furnish it using her father's life insurance money, and transform it into a profitable boardinghouse for Ralph and his fellow teachers. With help from the Pophams, the local real estate agents and general store owners, the Careys turn the dilapidated mansion into an inviting residence. Unknown to them, however, Pauline Fuller and her henpecked husband Clarence are plotting with the mansion's Boston landlord, Thomas Hamilton, Sr., to buy the house for themselves. Before the Careys are able to open their doors to the boarders, they are visited by Dr. Tom Hamilton, Jr., who informs them that they must vacate the premises within two weeks. That same day, however, three-year-old Peter Carey falls ill, and Tom volunteers to treat him. After Tom saves Peter's life, he pledges to prevent the Fullers from moving in and, with the help of the Carey children, terrifies the Fullers into leaving by "haunting" the house with manufactured ghosts. Impressed by Tom's kindness, Nancy, who previously had lost Ralph to Kitty, agrees with her siblings that a doctor would be a good addition to the Carey family. +

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

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