Bachelor Mother (1939)

81-82 mins | Comedy | 4 August 1939

Director:

Garson Kanin

Producer:

B. G. DeSylva

Cinematographer:

Robert de Grasse

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Nobody's Wife and Little Mother . In the cast of characters at the end of the film, the final credit is for "Donald Duck...Himself." A mechanical toy version of the Walt Disney cartoon character appears in several scenes within the film, including one in which Ginger Rogers' character is demonstrating the ducks in the toy department of the store in which she works.
       According to a NYT article, Cary Grant, James Ellison and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., were considered for the male lead in the picture. Materials contained in the RKO Production Files at the UCLA Theater Arts Library state that background locations for this film were shot at Times Square and Central Park in New York City. In a modern interview, RKO production head Pandro S. Berman said that Rogers had been suspended by the studio because she initially refused to appear in the picture. According to Berman, she hated the picture even after it was completed, although it was a big hit for her and the studio. Felix Jackson's story was first made as Kleine Mutter , a 1935 Universal production filmed in Hungary. Jackson was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Story for his work on the 1939 film. In 1956, RKO remade the story as Bundle of Joy , starring Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher and directed by Norman ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Nobody's Wife and Little Mother . In the cast of characters at the end of the film, the final credit is for "Donald Duck...Himself." A mechanical toy version of the Walt Disney cartoon character appears in several scenes within the film, including one in which Ginger Rogers' character is demonstrating the ducks in the toy department of the store in which she works.
       According to a NYT article, Cary Grant, James Ellison and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., were considered for the male lead in the picture. Materials contained in the RKO Production Files at the UCLA Theater Arts Library state that background locations for this film were shot at Times Square and Central Park in New York City. In a modern interview, RKO production head Pandro S. Berman said that Rogers had been suspended by the studio because she initially refused to appear in the picture. According to Berman, she hated the picture even after it was completed, although it was a big hit for her and the studio. Felix Jackson's story was first made as Kleine Mutter , a 1935 Universal production filmed in Hungary. Jackson was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Story for his work on the 1939 film. In 1956, RKO remade the story as Bundle of Joy , starring Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher and directed by Norman Taurog. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
28 Jun 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Jul 39
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 39
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
5 Jul 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
1 Jul 39
p. 17, 42
New York Times
27 Jan 1939.
---
New York Times
30 Jun 39
p. 17.
Variety
5 Jul 39
p. 14.
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
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
STAND INS
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
SOURCES
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Little Mother
Nobody's Wife
Release Date:
4 August 1939
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 30 June 1939
Production Date:
6 March--29 April 1939
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
6 July 1939
Copyright Number:
LP8986
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
81-82
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5189
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Leaving work after she has been dismissed from her job at Merlin's department store, salesgirl Polly Parrish happens upon a woman leaving an infant on a foundling's home doorstep and is pounced on by the attendants as its mother. After furiously protesting that she is not the baby's mother, Polly leaves the orphanage, but the officials from the home track her down at work. Feeling sorry for the "unwed mother," the boss's playboy son, David Merlin, intercedes to get her a better position in the toy department. When Polly still refuses to keep the infant, however, David threatens to fire her, and she reluctantly accepts motherhood. Polly quickly develops a maternal love for the boy, whom she names Johnnie, and David's compassion for mother and child also ripens into love. Matters reach a climax when disgruntled shipping clerk Freddie Miller sends a note to J. B. Merlin claiming that Johnnie's father is none other than his own son David. Anxious for a grandson, J. B. threatens to take the baby from Polly. Desperate, Polly convinces her landlady's son to pretend to be the baby's father, and as she visits J. B. to introduce him as the baby's father, David appears with Freddie, claiming that the shipping clerk is Johnnie's real father. Confronted by two fathers, J. B. remains unconvinced of the baby's parentage. As Polly prepares to flee, David proposes, and all ends happily as Polly and David plan to marry and adopt baby ... +


Leaving work after she has been dismissed from her job at Merlin's department store, salesgirl Polly Parrish happens upon a woman leaving an infant on a foundling's home doorstep and is pounced on by the attendants as its mother. After furiously protesting that she is not the baby's mother, Polly leaves the orphanage, but the officials from the home track her down at work. Feeling sorry for the "unwed mother," the boss's playboy son, David Merlin, intercedes to get her a better position in the toy department. When Polly still refuses to keep the infant, however, David threatens to fire her, and she reluctantly accepts motherhood. Polly quickly develops a maternal love for the boy, whom she names Johnnie, and David's compassion for mother and child also ripens into love. Matters reach a climax when disgruntled shipping clerk Freddie Miller sends a note to J. B. Merlin claiming that Johnnie's father is none other than his own son David. Anxious for a grandson, J. B. threatens to take the baby from Polly. Desperate, Polly convinces her landlady's son to pretend to be the baby's father, and as she visits J. B. to introduce him as the baby's father, David appears with Freddie, claiming that the shipping clerk is Johnnie's real father. Confronted by two fathers, J. B. remains unconvinced of the baby's parentage. As Polly prepares to flee, David proposes, and all ends happily as Polly and David plan to marry and adopt baby Johnnie. +

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

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