Let's Make It Legal (1951)

77-79 mins | Comedy | November 1951

Full page view
HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Grandma Was a Golddigger and Don't Call Me Mother . The title of Mortimer Braus's original screen story was "My Mother-in-Law, Miriam." Although a May 1951 HR news item includes Donna Clark and Donald Clark in the cast, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the hotel swimming pool scenes were shot on location at the Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, CA. Let's Make It Legal marked Claudette Colbert's last appearance in a film ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Grandma Was a Golddigger and Don't Call Me Mother . The title of Mortimer Braus's original screen story was "My Mother-in-Law, Miriam." Although a May 1951 HR news item includes Donna Clark and Donald Clark in the cast, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, the hotel swimming pool scenes were shot on location at the Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, CA. Let's Make It Legal marked Claudette Colbert's last appearance in a film comedy. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Oct 1951.
---
Daily Variety
19 Oct 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
23 Oct 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 50
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 51
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 51
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 51
p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 51
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
1 Nov 1951.
---
Motion Picture Daily
22 Oct 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Oct 51
p. 1073.
New York Times
7 Nov 51
p. 35.
Time
19 Nov 1951.
---
Variety
14 Nov 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Don't Call Me Mother
Grandma Was a Golddigger
Release Date:
November 1951
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 31 October 1951
New York opening: 6 November 1951
Production Date:
early May--early June 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 October 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1381
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
77-79
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15310
SYNOPSIS

On the day that their divorce is to become final after twenty years of marriage, Miriam and Hugh Halsworth squabble over the roses Hugh planted at their home, which Miriam now shares with their daughter Barbara, son-in-law Jerry and baby granddaughter Annabella. Jerry, who is Hugh's assistant in the publicity department of a posh hotel, resents Barbara's dependence on her mother and wants a home of their own. Barbara hopes that her parents will reunite, although Miriam can no longer tolerate Hugh's gambling, and Hugh is upset about Miriam's pursuit of the divorce. That afternoon, noted entrepreneur and womanizer Victor Macfarland comes to Hugh's hotel, where he will vacation while awaiting news about his appointment to represent the United States at an international financial conference. Victor and Hugh, who competed for Miriam's affections in high school, greet each other warily, although Jerry is thrilled to meet Victor when he discovers that the wealthy businessman still carries a torch for Miriam. Hoping that if Victor and Miriam fall in love and marry, he and Barbara will have to move, Jerry informs Victor that Miriam will soon be divorced. When Victor sends Miriam flowers, however, she angrily throws them away, as she has not forgiven Victor for leaving town without saying goodbye twenty years earlier. Hugh visits Miriam, whom he still loves, and promises her that he has quit gambling, even though he bet on a horse named Annabella that morning. Miriam is about to relent when Hugh receives word that his horse won, and is quarreling with Hugh when Victor arrives. Victor refuses to explain his mysterious disappearance but confesses his active interest in Miriam, ... +


On the day that their divorce is to become final after twenty years of marriage, Miriam and Hugh Halsworth squabble over the roses Hugh planted at their home, which Miriam now shares with their daughter Barbara, son-in-law Jerry and baby granddaughter Annabella. Jerry, who is Hugh's assistant in the publicity department of a posh hotel, resents Barbara's dependence on her mother and wants a home of their own. Barbara hopes that her parents will reunite, although Miriam can no longer tolerate Hugh's gambling, and Hugh is upset about Miriam's pursuit of the divorce. That afternoon, noted entrepreneur and womanizer Victor Macfarland comes to Hugh's hotel, where he will vacation while awaiting news about his appointment to represent the United States at an international financial conference. Victor and Hugh, who competed for Miriam's affections in high school, greet each other warily, although Jerry is thrilled to meet Victor when he discovers that the wealthy businessman still carries a torch for Miriam. Hoping that if Victor and Miriam fall in love and marry, he and Barbara will have to move, Jerry informs Victor that Miriam will soon be divorced. When Victor sends Miriam flowers, however, she angrily throws them away, as she has not forgiven Victor for leaving town without saying goodbye twenty years earlier. Hugh visits Miriam, whom he still loves, and promises her that he has quit gambling, even though he bet on a horse named Annabella that morning. Miriam is about to relent when Hugh receives word that his horse won, and is quarreling with Hugh when Victor arrives. Victor refuses to explain his mysterious disappearance but confesses his active interest in Miriam, even after Hugh introduces Annabella to show Victor that Miriam is a grandmother. Hugh is worried that the smooth-talking Victor's intentions are not honorable, and he bets Miriam that she cannot get Victor to marry her. Over the next few days, Victor and Miriam are inseparable, until one afternoon, Victor suggests that he and Miriam travel together without getting married. Miriam turns him down, explaining that, as a grandmother, she must be a moral role model. Miriam easily prods Victor into proposing marriage, and she accepts. Barbara is heartbroken, but Jerry is pleased by the upcoming wedding, which is to take place just before Victor leaves for Washington, D.C. for the hearing about his appointment. The day before the nuptials, however, Victor cancels the plans, as he must leave immediately for Washington. Victor asks Miriam to accompany him, but the flustered Miriam decides to join him the following day instead. When Miriam sees Victor off at the airport, he cautions her to avoid any scandal that might threaten his appointment. Victor also reveals why he left town so suddenly when they were teenagers, but the airplane noise is so loud that Miriam can barely hear him. Upon returning home, Miriam calls Hugh in a rage and threatens to destroy his beloved rose bushes. Meanwhile, Jerry, tired of Barbara's refusal to grow up, packs a suitcase and moves into the hotel. Late that night, Jerry returns to the house with a drunken Hugh, who refuses to explain why Miriam is angry with him, and helps him dig up his rose bushes to "rescue" them. Miriam then confronts Hugh, and he admits that he shot craps with Victor twenty years ago, with the loser required to leave town so that the winner could pursue Miriam. Crushed that Hugh would leave their future to chance, Miriam does not respond when the police arrive and arrest him for trespassing. Jerry is also arrested, and an anxious Barbara drags Miriam to the police station to bail him out. Reporters take photographs of Miriam with Hugh, and the next day, the newspapers are filled with scandalous stories about Victor's fiancée and her ex-husband. An indignant Victor chastises Miriam and warns her that they must postpone their wedding until after he has received his appointment. Infuriated by Victor's priggish attitude, Miriam breaks off their engagement. Hugh then shows her the dice with which he gambled for her, and Miriam's sorrow turns to delight as Hugh demonstrates that the dice are loaded and there was no way he could have lost. Jerry and Barbara then watch happily as Hugh and Miriam reconcile with a kiss. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.