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Monday, January 01, 2018

Recent and Cheerful RKO Discovery ...


Bachelor Mother (1939) Celebrates A Saucy New Year

A pleasing comedy I foolishly ducked for too long, Bachelor Mother was remade, if indifferently, as Bundle Of Joy in 1956. The original now plays HD on TCM. Concept was fresh, as developed by writer/director Garson Kanin from a German film few in the US had seen. The Code still busted chops in 1939, but less demonstrably than over past five years when PCA authority was asserted by blowtorch to scripts and then finished pics. Bachelor Mother has saucy premise wherein Ginger Rogers finds a baby that everyone assumes is hers out of wedlock, comedy arising from that series of misunderstandings. Showmen ran with what looked like tickle of rigid rules. "Spicy Is The Word For It!" shouted ads, "A Bedtime Story For Grown-ups." Well, great heavens, look at the title. Something suggestive was sure afoot with that. The words "Refreshing --- Novel --- Different" are bandied here, proof again that such is what we look for in movies and seldom get, then or now.  Audiences wanted reasonably adult content, even as a cleansed industry seemed bent on refusing it. Bachelor Mother had mild censor trouble, a fade-out line that was dropped and is still obvious for the last-moment scrub. Pic is set in more agreeable reality than screwball comedies trying too hard, and dating for the over-effort. Kanin based department store backdrop on his own past travails at that line of work, and there's Christmas-New Years frame to make Bachelor Mother a nice season's choice. The 70's Focus On Film, possibly the best film journal of a vanished publishing heyday, had a splendid career interview with Garson Kanin (Issue #17) where he gave account of Bachelor Mother. The film is available on DVD from Warner Archive in addition to the TCM-HD play.

9 Comments:

Blogger Dave K said...

Department store heir meets spunky shop girl was such a favorite Hollywood formula (IT, MY BEST GIRL, THE BIG STORE and many others.) My favorite, with a twist, was THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES where the old millionaire store owner has a crush , albeit platonic and paternal, on the spunky salesgirl who actually becomes something of a union rabble rouser.

Happy New Year to you, John and all your spunky correspondents!

2:03 PM  
Blogger kenneth Von Gunden said...

The top still: Karl Freund (the rotund man with the hat) directing "THE MUMMY"?

The Wolf, man.

2:13 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Far as I know, that's him, Kenneth.

Also thanks Dave K. Hope you're having a great New Year as well. And H.N.Y. to all spunky GPS correspondents as well.

2:22 PM  
Blogger radiotelefonia said...

Happy New Year...

What is the title of the original German film?

3:43 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

"Kleine Mutti," according to the Garson Kanin interview.

5:06 PM  
Blogger radiotelefonia said...

Thanks... I found information about that movie, which was produced by Universal in Germany. I hope to be able to find it to see it.

12:15 PM  
Blogger radiotelefonia said...

Here is the original film that Universal produced in Germany in 1934. It stars Francisca Gal and it was directed by Henry Koster. The quality is far from perfect and there are no English subtitles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dw4MOXVgMKI

This version from Russia has better visual quality but I don't recommend it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ3qVPUeeRA

3:16 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Do we know what the censored fade-out line is? Very curious.

Jeff

3:47 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

No info as to the replaced line. Wish I knew ...

4:13 PM  

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