Reviews at Home – Movie
Bachelor Mother (1939)
by Kevin Conner
“Bachelor Mother” begins with a seasonal layoff of Polly Parrish (Ginger Rogers). Now, you know something is wrong with a department store when they fire Ginger Rogers. Seriously, folks, you do not fire Ginger Rogers, ever. You know what makes things worse? She finds a baby on the steps of a care center and they think SHE’S THE MOTHER! No joke. Poor Ginger Rogers! Now she has another mouth to feed and it ain’t even hers! Well, at least the fact she has a baby gets her back in her job… but she has no husband and no man will date her. Not that she needs one, but she’s a swinging gal and likes to go on the occasional date. It’s all a terrible mess!
This comedy of errs is a wonderful trip through the life of Polly Parrish as it’s turned upside down, then rightside up, by this little baby. Everyone thinks everyone else is lying when it concerns the baby, so as Polly professes her innocence it only confirms for everyone else her part in the whole mess. When the lie is so much more believable than the simple truth, it slowly becomes the truth, creating and nursing a budding relationship between Polly Parish and David Merlin (David Niven) until the very end. In fact, one gets the sense that the baby was the architect of this mess, or, at least, understood the power he wielded with a simple cry and simple laugh.
The production level is perfect for the goals of the movie, the direction is spot on (allowing the actors to take every scene), it’s easy to see how the original story was nominated for an academy award (as the writer knew just how far to push it without pushing it with the audience), the editing and sound have no faults, and the acting… well… David Niven and Ginger Rogers rarely looked so good!
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and I believe anyone who likes light family comedies of oddball situations and misunderstood positions would fall in love with the performances contained herein. Obviously, if you don’t like these types of stories, you probably won’t like this one. This movie did have an opportunity to fail, if it had pushed some of the situations too far, but thankfully it never did. For what this movie sets out to accomplish, it manages to accomplish with flying stars, and I strongly recommend this for those who can find enjoyment in such comedies.
In fact, I must give this movie a resounding “Ha, Ha!”.
Overall (rounded up) 4 out of 4
Cast and Production Information
Elbert Coplen Jr.
Frank M. Thomas
Based on the Academy Award Winning Story / 1935 Austrian-Hungarian Film “Little Mother” by:
RKO-Radio Pictures, Inc.