Molly and Me (1945)

76-77 mins | Comedy | April 1945

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Molly, Bless Her. According to the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in Nov 1944, Twentieth Century-Fox considered changing the title to Molly with a Past. Orchestral arranger Maurice DePackh's surname is misspelled "DePachk" in the onscreen credits. A condensed version of Frances Marion's novel was published in Photoplay magazine (5 Mar 1937).
       The following information about the production comes from contemporary news items and the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library: well-known M-G-M screenwriter Frances Marion's novel was based on an incident in the life of her friend, actress Marie Dressler (1869-1934), who briefly worked as a housekeeper and cook during a lull in her stage career. Marion's novel was originally purchased by M-G-M in 1937, and according to a modern source, M-G-M, the studio for which Dressler worked at the height of her film career, intended to star Sophie Tucker in the vehicle. In 1939, Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the rights to Marion's novel, as well as screenplays based on the work, written by Marion, Edward Chodorov and Joseph Fields. It does not appear likely that their screenplays were used for the finished Twentieth Century-Fox production, however.
       Twentieth Century-Fox originally intended to produce the film in England, and assigned Roger Burford to write the screenplay, Robert T. Kane to produce and Monty Banks, who was married to star Gracie Fields, to direct. The project was forestalled due to World War II, however, and Burford's screenplay was sent to the United States. Writers Darrell Ware and Karl Tunberg were ...

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The working title of this film was Molly, Bless Her. According to the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in Nov 1944, Twentieth Century-Fox considered changing the title to Molly with a Past. Orchestral arranger Maurice DePackh's surname is misspelled "DePachk" in the onscreen credits. A condensed version of Frances Marion's novel was published in Photoplay magazine (5 Mar 1937).
       The following information about the production comes from contemporary news items and the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library: well-known M-G-M screenwriter Frances Marion's novel was based on an incident in the life of her friend, actress Marie Dressler (1869-1934), who briefly worked as a housekeeper and cook during a lull in her stage career. Marion's novel was originally purchased by M-G-M in 1937, and according to a modern source, M-G-M, the studio for which Dressler worked at the height of her film career, intended to star Sophie Tucker in the vehicle. In 1939, Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the rights to Marion's novel, as well as screenplays based on the work, written by Marion, Edward Chodorov and Joseph Fields. It does not appear likely that their screenplays were used for the finished Twentieth Century-Fox production, however.
       Twentieth Century-Fox originally intended to produce the film in England, and assigned Roger Burford to write the screenplay, Robert T. Kane to produce and Monty Banks, who was married to star Gracie Fields, to direct. The project was forestalled due to World War II, however, and Burford's screenplay was sent to the United States. Writers Darrell Ware and Karl Tunberg were assigned to the project, but the inclusion of their work in the finished film seems unlikely. According to studio press releases, actors Leyland Hodgson, Matthew Boulton and Leslie Denison were featured in a sequence in which "Molly" and her friends are arrested in the hotel after they trick "Mrs. Graham" into leaving England. The sequence was cut from the released print, however, and those actors do not appear in the picture.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17 Mar 1945
---
Daily Variety
7 Mar 1945
p. 3
Film Daily
8 Mar 1945
p. 12
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 1939
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 1940
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 1944
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
27 Oct 1944
p. 11
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 1944
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 1944
p. 12
Hollywood Reporter
1 Dec 1944
p. 9
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 1944
p. 5
Hollywood Reporter
27 Dec 1944
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 1945
p. 3
Motion Picture Daily
8 Mar 1945
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Dec 1944
p. 2242
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Mar 1945
p. 2349
New York Times
29 Oct 1944
---
New York Times
26 May 1945
p. 18
Variety
14 Aug 1939
---
Variety
7 Mar 1945
p. 20
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Charles [G.] Clarke
Dir of photog
2d cam
2d cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Maurice DePackh
Orch arr
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
R. A. Klune
Prod mgr
Research dir
Research asst
Dog trainer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Molly, Bless Her by Frances Marion (New York, 1937).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
SONGS
"The Wickedness of Men," music and lyrics by William E. Haines; "I Passed by Your Window," music by May H. Brahe, lyrics by Helen Taylor; "It's the Syme, the Whole World Over," music and lyrics by John Paul Lock Barton and Bert Massee; "Christopher Robin Is Saying His Prayers," music by Harold Fraser-Simson, lyrics by A. A. Milne; "Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing," music by Tolchard Evans, lyrics by Robert Hargreaves and Stanley J. Damerell; "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean," traditional; "Always Eat When You Are Hungry," English Army song.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Molly, Bless Her
Release Date:
April 1945
Production Date:
1 Nov--early Dec 1944; retakes and addl scenes 20 Dec--27 Dec 1944
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
22 March 1945
LP13331
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
76-77
Length(in feet):
6,894
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10569
SYNOPSIS

In 1937, actress Molly Barry tires of looking for work on the London stage and applies for a job as a housekeeper, then rushes back to her boardinghouse to prepare for the interview. She tells her fellow actors, including Lily and Julia, about her decision and frets about her lack of references. Just then, Kitty Burroughs, a former exotic dancer who has recently married an upper class newspaper publisher, arrives to visit Molly, her ex-roommate, and Molly persuades her to act as her reference. While Kitty is awaiting her signal from Molly, Peabody, the butler of the Graham household, shows up to interview Molly. Molly convinces Peabody that she is a genuine housekeeper, but Peabody's own true identity is revealed when Kitty recognizes him as Harry Phillips, an actor who left the profession due to his heavy drinking. Molly is overjoyed, as she thinks that Peabody will readily hire another actor, but he refuses, stating that the household can accomodate only one "professional." Desperate for the job, Molly lures Peabody to a pub and gets him drunk, then takes him to the Graham home. In the morning, she presents herself to John Graham, the head of the household, as the new housekeeper, and the hungover Peabody cannot repudiate her without revealing his past. Graham, a stuffy ex-politician, surprises Peabody by accepting Molly and her cheery additions to the house, but the other servants are disgruntled. While Molly is making the best of the situation, Graham consults with his friend, Jamie McDougall, who wants him to stand for Parliament. Graham protests, as his career was ruined years earlier by his scandal-causing, unfaithful wife, ...

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In 1937, actress Molly Barry tires of looking for work on the London stage and applies for a job as a housekeeper, then rushes back to her boardinghouse to prepare for the interview. She tells her fellow actors, including Lily and Julia, about her decision and frets about her lack of references. Just then, Kitty Burroughs, a former exotic dancer who has recently married an upper class newspaper publisher, arrives to visit Molly, her ex-roommate, and Molly persuades her to act as her reference. While Kitty is awaiting her signal from Molly, Peabody, the butler of the Graham household, shows up to interview Molly. Molly convinces Peabody that she is a genuine housekeeper, but Peabody's own true identity is revealed when Kitty recognizes him as Harry Phillips, an actor who left the profession due to his heavy drinking. Molly is overjoyed, as she thinks that Peabody will readily hire another actor, but he refuses, stating that the household can accomodate only one "professional." Desperate for the job, Molly lures Peabody to a pub and gets him drunk, then takes him to the Graham home. In the morning, she presents herself to John Graham, the head of the household, as the new housekeeper, and the hungover Peabody cannot repudiate her without revealing his past. Graham, a stuffy ex-politician, surprises Peabody by accepting Molly and her cheery additions to the house, but the other servants are disgruntled. While Molly is making the best of the situation, Graham consults with his friend, Jamie McDougall, who wants him to stand for Parliament. Graham protests, as his career was ruined years earlier by his scandal-causing, unfaithful wife, but McDougall insists that Graham should return to serve his country. After Graham and Peabody travel to Suffolk to meet with party leaders, Molly discovers that Angus, the gardener, chef Pierre Patard and the other servants are defrauding Graham by ordering too many groceries and selling the garden's flowers. Molly threatens to expose the thieves, but they retaliate by quitting and leaving Molly alone to run the large household. While she is cleaning the fireplace in Graham's study, Molly finds a newspaper clipping about Graham's faithless wife and realizes that she is the cause of Graham's gruff demeanor. That evening, Molly is surprised by the arrival of Jimmy, Graham's teenaged son, who is supposed to be away for his school holidays. Jimmy is ill with a fever, and Molly's kind, motherly behavior prompts the lad to confide in her that his father does not like him. Jimmy, who believes that his mother died while he was very young, thinks that Graham dislikes him because he reminds him of his dead wife. Molly tucks the lad in, and the next morning, receives a telegram from Peabody instructing her to prepare a formal dinner for that evening, when Graham will entertain Sir Arthur Burroughs, the influential publisher of the London Transcript . Desperate for staff, Molly enlists her pals from the boardinghouse, and soon, Lily and Julia are acting as the housemaids, Pops is the butler, Musette is the cook, and Ronnie is working in the garden. Peabody is flabbergasted when he sees the actors in the house, but takes it all in stride. Despite complications, such as the arrival of Kitty, who is married to Sir Arthur, the dinner is a success, and Graham is assured of Sir Arthur's support. The night ends unhappily, however, when Graham overhears Jimmy imitating him while relaxing with Molly and the others in the kitchen. Graham angrily sends Jimmy up to his room, but when he tries to fire Molly, who admits that she and the others are actors, she quits and accuses Graham of being a bad father. The next morning, Jimmy apologizes to his father, and after a long talk, father and son are reconciled and Graham agrees to re-hire Molly and the others. While Graham and Jimmy are upstairs, however, Molly is confronted by Mrs. Graham, who has returned from South Africa, where she moved with her lover years earlier. Mrs. Graham has come back to blackmail her former husband, but Molly sends her off with a promise to bring the money to her hotel. After Graham assures Molly that, with her help, he will become a better father, she is determined to prevent Mrs. Graham from ruining his life again. With the assistance of her friends, Molly tricks Mrs. Graham into believing that she has killed someone, and the frantic woman leaves England without bothering Graham or revealing her presence to Jimmy. Molly and the staff return to the house just before Graham and Jimmy come back from a pleasant evening out, and after Jimmy and the others go to bed, Molly and a reformed Graham enjoy a song and a snack in the cozy kitchen.

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

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