7.6/10
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51 user 31 critic

Bachelor Mother (1939)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 4 August 1939 (USA)
An unemployed woman discovers an abandoned baby on the steps of an orphanage, and accepts an offer to take responsibility for the child in return for a job.

Director:

Garson Kanin

Writers:

Norman Krasna (screen play), Felix Jackson (story)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ginger Rogers ... Polly Parrish
David Niven ... David Merlin
Charles Coburn ... J. B. Merlin
Frank Albertson ... Freddie Miller
E.E. Clive ... Merlin's Butler
Elbert Coplen Jr. Elbert Coplen Jr. ... Johnnie - the Baby
Ferike Boros ... Mrs. Weiss - the Landlady
Ernest Truex ... Orphanage Investigator
Leonard Penn ... Jerome Weiss
Paul Stanton ... Hargraves
Frank M. Thomas ... Orphanage Doctor
Edna Holland ... Orphanage Matron
Dennie Moore ... Mary
June Wilkins ... Louise King
Donald Duck Donald Duck ... Donald Duck
Learn more

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Storyline

Polly Parrish, a clerk at Merlin's Department Store, is mistakenly presumed to be the mother of a foundling. Outraged at Polly's unmotherly conduct, David Merlin becomes determined to keep the single woman and "her" baby together. Written by Diana Hamilton <hamilton@gl.umbc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Just ten baby fingers and ten baby toes--Troubles? Scandal?--Gosh--Nobody Knows See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on January 22, 1940 with Ginger Rogers reprising her film role. See more »

Goofs

Since the film was released in August 1939, the New Year's Eve celebration shown has to be 31 December 1938. In this scene a theatre is prominently seen, showing Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer in Love Affair, obviously a promotional moment for another well known RKO feature, but Love Affair was not released until April 1939 so could not have possibly been shown at any theatre on the preceding New Year's Eve. See more »

Quotes

David Merlin: You danced, now, pay the - fiddler man. You have an obligation to that child, fulfill it!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The cast of characters includes a wind-up toy: Donald Duck as himself. Ginger Rogers' character was in charge of a display table full of the Donald Duck toys. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Remake of Little Mother (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock-a-Bye Baby
(1886) (uncredited)
Music by Effie I. Canning
Variations often in the score
See more »

User Reviews

 
Ginger Goes With The Flow
24 March 2010 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Bachelor Mother finds Ginger Rogers as a shopgirl working for the large department store that Charles Coburn owns. When she's let go at Christmas time she's going to have to worry where the next meal for her is coming. No position to be taking on dependents.

Which is why when she finds a baby left on her doorstep she takes it to a foundling home where everyone assumes it's her's. When she tells her story about being let go, they're moved to do something about it. She gets her job back with a raise, but Ginger's a most unwilling mother.

Of course the speculation gets going as to who the dad is and the playboy son of Charles Coburn seems a real likely possibility. Especially when you've got David Niven as the playboy.

Garson Kanin directed the Felix Jackson original story in the film that became Bachelor Mother. The original screenplay was nominated for an Oscar in that category, but lost to Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

I saw the musical remake that RKO did 17 years later with Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds and it was clear just how superior this film is to that one. Eddie was playing David Niven's part and while the man could sing, he hadn't a tenth of Niven's charm. To be perfectly fair though, there were few men as charming as David Niven, he carried more films on the strength of that charm than anyone else I can think of.

Ginger Rogers was doing a great variety of dramatic roles now at RKO in between her films with Fred Astaire. She was really kicking her career into high gear at this point and would win an Oscar next year for Kitty Foyle. Hard as she struggles in this film to convince everyone she's not the mother it gets easier to just go with the flow. When you see where the film is flowing you'll agree.

Bachelor Mother is a bright and witty comedy, not quite of the screwball variety, but still holding up quite well after more than 70 years.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 August 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Little Mother See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,149
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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