Chicken Wagon Family (1939)

63-64 mins | Comedy | 11 August 1939

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HISTORY

According to a Twentieth Century-Fox press release, this film was planned originally for Will Rogers and Jane Withers, but production was shelved upon Rogers' death in 1935. HR reported that producer Edward Kaufman left the Sol Wurtzel unit at Twentieth Century-Fox over a difference of opinion concerning the production of this film. The Var review states that the song "The Daughter of Mademoiselle" was first used in the Gypsy Rose Lee film Battle of Broadway . Location filming was done at the Rindage Ranch in Malibu, CA. Press releases also report that Twentieth Century-Fox's "East Side" set was first used on this film. The Var review lists the film's running time as 81 minutes, but this length is probably an error. Fox Film Corp. had previously filmed Benefield's novel in 1926 as The Dixie Merchant , starring J. Farrell MacDonald and John Barry, and directed by Frank Borzage. (See AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.1370 for more information on that ... More Less

According to a Twentieth Century-Fox press release, this film was planned originally for Will Rogers and Jane Withers, but production was shelved upon Rogers' death in 1935. HR reported that producer Edward Kaufman left the Sol Wurtzel unit at Twentieth Century-Fox over a difference of opinion concerning the production of this film. The Var review states that the song "The Daughter of Mademoiselle" was first used in the Gypsy Rose Lee film Battle of Broadway . Location filming was done at the Rindage Ranch in Malibu, CA. Press releases also report that Twentieth Century-Fox's "East Side" set was first used on this film. The Var review lists the film's running time as 81 minutes, but this length is probably an error. Fox Film Corp. had previously filmed Benefield's novel in 1926 as The Dixie Merchant , starring J. Farrell MacDonald and John Barry, and directed by Frank Borzage. (See AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.1370 for more information on that title.) More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19-Aug-39
---
Daily Variety
11 Aug 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
28 Sep 39
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 39
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
15 Aug 39
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Jul 39
p. 45.
Motion Picture Herald
19 Aug 39
p. 51.
Variety
27 Sep 39
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Chicken-Wagon Family by John Barry Benefield (New York, 1925).
SONGS
"The Daughter of Mademoiselle," words and music by Sidney Clare and Harry Akst.
DETAILS
Release Date:
11 August 1939
Production Date:
8 May--Junee 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
11 August 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9177
Physical Properties:
Sound
High Fidelity RCA Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
63-64
Length(in feet):
5,786
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5398
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the back roads of the South, the Fippanys travel in their mule-drawn wagon, trading wares for produce. While Jean Paul Batiste Fippany and his younger daughter Addie enjoy life on the road, his wife Josephine and older daughter Cecile dream of living in the city, and Josephine has saved $217 to make that dream a reality. While she and Cecile are at the movies, Addie finds her mother's purse with the money and a picture of Henri Fippany inside. Jean Paul then takes the money and loses it at poker. When Josephine discovers that the purse is missing, Addie starts to tell where she found it, but realizing that her father took the money, she sides with her mother and sister, and the family makes the journey to New York City. Unprepared for city life, the Fippanys are forced to spend their first rainy evening in New York parked on the street. Addie goes into Joe's Cafe where the proprietor, Mrs. Buzzi, compliments her jacket. When Mrs. Buzzi briefly leaves the cafe, Addie decides to leave the jacket in trade for coffee and doughnuts. As she is about to leave, however, policeman Matt Hibbard arrives and orders her to put her jacket back on. Thinking she has stolen the food, Matt traces Addie to the wagon and finds the cold and wet Fippanys, minus the hiding Addie. Knowing of a nearby empty fire station, he has the family made "caretakers" until the building is auctioned off. Matt is instantly infatuated with Cecile, who also feels the attraction, much to Addie's chagrin. Finally finding Addie, Matt takes her ... +


In the back roads of the South, the Fippanys travel in their mule-drawn wagon, trading wares for produce. While Jean Paul Batiste Fippany and his younger daughter Addie enjoy life on the road, his wife Josephine and older daughter Cecile dream of living in the city, and Josephine has saved $217 to make that dream a reality. While she and Cecile are at the movies, Addie finds her mother's purse with the money and a picture of Henri Fippany inside. Jean Paul then takes the money and loses it at poker. When Josephine discovers that the purse is missing, Addie starts to tell where she found it, but realizing that her father took the money, she sides with her mother and sister, and the family makes the journey to New York City. Unprepared for city life, the Fippanys are forced to spend their first rainy evening in New York parked on the street. Addie goes into Joe's Cafe where the proprietor, Mrs. Buzzi, compliments her jacket. When Mrs. Buzzi briefly leaves the cafe, Addie decides to leave the jacket in trade for coffee and doughnuts. As she is about to leave, however, policeman Matt Hibbard arrives and orders her to put her jacket back on. Thinking she has stolen the food, Matt traces Addie to the wagon and finds the cold and wet Fippanys, minus the hiding Addie. Knowing of a nearby empty fire station, he has the family made "caretakers" until the building is auctioned off. Matt is instantly infatuated with Cecile, who also feels the attraction, much to Addie's chagrin. Finally finding Addie, Matt takes her back to Mrs. Buzzi, where they learn the truth after discovering Addie's "I.O.U." Nearby, at Honest Henri's Furniture Store, Henri Fippany opens his store just as a family next door is being evicted. Addie helps the family out by selling some of their furniture to passersby. When Addie accidentally sells Henri some of his own furniture, the relatives meet, and Henri tells her how her father stole his fiancée and lost their business in a poker game, leaving him penniless in Boloxi, Mississippi. Despite his hatred for Jean Paul, Henri, still enamored with Josephine, furnishes the fire house. When Jean Paul, unable to find work, tries to make the family go back on the road, Addie tells the family about Jean Paul taking the money. Josephine leaves, forcing Jean Paul to sell his prized mules at auction to pay back her money. Addie takes Henri to the auction, convincing him to buy the mules for Josephine, but realizing he has been taken a second time, Henri leaves. Matt arrives with the auction money and a note from Jean Paul telling the family he is leaving. Addie searches New York for her father and finally finds him at a junk yard. The two come up with the idea of buying bathtubs at two dollars each, then selling them for twenty dollars. To buy the tubs, Jean Paul forges Henri's name on a check, and as the auction of the fire house begins, Henri arrives with the police, demanding the family's arrest. Addie sells bathtubs while the auctioneer sells the fire house, and in the confusion, Addie gets Henri to buy the fire house for $12,000. At dinner that night, the whole family gathers, celebrating the $3,400 they made selling bathtubs, the furniture store's new warehouse, and the new partnership of Fippany, Fippany and Fippany. +

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.