Classic movie site with rare images, original ads, and behind-the-scenes photos, with informative and insightful commentary. We like to have fun with movies!
Archive and Links
grbrpix@aol.com
Search Index Here




Monday, November 08, 2021

Dear Ruth Graduates to Dear Wife

 


A Paramount Idea of Family Comedy


Push that panic button, here comes another irrepressible 40's teen! Households seemed overrun with them, Edward Arnold often a beleaguered Dad undergoing embarrassment brought on by precocious offspring. He'd spawn Virginia Weidler in The Youngest Profession (1944), Joyce Reynolds in Janie, and later Joan Leslie in the sequel Janie Gets Married, then, and most repeatedly, Mona Freeman for a series of domestic comedies utterly forgotten today, Dear Ruth (1947), Dear Wife (1950), and Dear Brat (1951). Two thirds of the latters are, at least were, accessible on Amazon streaming, Dear Wife and Dear Brat, both owned by Paramount. Dear Ruth went with the 1958 dump of pre-49 Paras to MCA, and has been out of circulation for years.



Joan Caulfield and William Holden were centered in the first two, but did not participate in the third. Edward Arnold and Mary Philips (a former Bogart wife) appeared as parents in all three, Mona Freeman the ongoing cause of misunderstanding and family disaster. She's in fact worse than a "brat"… today you'd be advised to put her on Ritalin and have done with the problem. Holden did these at point of gun that was his Paramount contract, Dear Wife bringing down curtain on his "Smiling Jim" ordeal for the studio, his next a salvation that was Sunset Boulevard. Fun comes of swipes at local politics, obnoxious radio programming, and what'll kids think of next before they took up rock and roll and became a real problem for grown-ups. The Wilkins family isn't rich, but they have a live-in maid, and they always dress for dinner. Pain in the rear that daughter is, she's never insolent or surly with Mom or Dad, movies maintaining as of 1950 that parents and child could reason together. That would end with a thud before long.

8 Comments:

Blogger Bill O said...

It's two stars' last names inspired J.D. Salinger...

11:57 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

Wasn't the Ruth character based on Groucho's daughter Miriam?

1:18 PM  
Blogger DBenson said...

Back in the 70s saw a small community theater production of "Dear Ruth". This was when you could still drum up a cast -- and an audience -- for obscure little comedies, usually set in sitcom living rooms. I'm guessing the royalties were lower than for early Neil Simon, and period wardrobe was still cheap and/or lingering in closets.

Anyway, one detail stuck with me. There is, of course, a stodgy rival for Ruth's hand. The fact that he's a civilian in 1944 is casually made a reason to root against him (I think the father made some remark about a medical deferment, hinting it was bogus).

Some other Innocent Brats:
-- Bonita Granville as Nancy Drew. It's not her father who's long-suffering. He can be as annoying as she is. It's her not-officially-a-boyfriend Ted, played by Frankie Thomas, who grumbles constantly but lets her shove him into embarrassing and dangerous situations.
-- Hayley Mills at Disney. In "The Parent Trap" she's twins breaking up Dad's remarriage; in "Summer Magic" she secures an idyllic farmhouse through dramatic lies; in "That Darn Cat" she aggressively interferes with a kidnapping investigation. It's been a while, but I think "The Moonspinners" was another case of dangerous meddling. One can argue that "Pollyanna" was fiercely passive-aggressive, walloping contentedly anti-social folk with niceness.
-- MGM-period Mickey Rooney, usually a Good Boy who's just too cocky and hyper for anybody's good.
-- The Archie Comics gang, up until pretty recently. Some years ago somebody did a mock movie trailer placing the Riverdale High kids in a gritty, sex-and-angst teen drama. Then it was hilariously improbable. Now it's an unironic TV show, and there are "realistic" Archie Comics that take the same tack.

3:31 PM  
Blogger djwein said...

I am amazed that the obnoxious Billy DeWolfe had a lengthy career. He drives me nuts.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

"It's two stars' last names inspired J.D. Salinger..."

Alas, someone looked into the timing and he was already using the name Holden Caulfield well before this movie came out.

11:12 PM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

"he 1958 dump of pre-49 Paras to MCA." I still find it amazing that Paramount had so little regard for its legacy.

12:40 PM  
Blogger William Ferry said...

I always considered the "dump" by the studios to tv distribution to be shortsighted. Why not set up your own studio's tv distribution arm and keep all the rental profit for yourself. Sure, you made money on the sale in 1958, but what do you do for 1959 when the rent comes due?

10:28 AM  
Blogger Filmfanman said...

Reg Hartt's comment is interesting - 1958 was nine short years after 1949 - that would be like Disney washing its hands of all of its pre-2012 product today.
That this scenario is so unthinkable must be because of the changes in both technology and general societal attitudes in the years from 1959 to today. Simply stated, our values have changed. But I think articulating precisely how and in what way they have changed would require a much more complicated analysis.

8:31 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

grbrpix@aol.com
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • July 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • December 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011
  • May 2011
  • June 2011
  • July 2011
  • August 2011
  • September 2011
  • October 2011
  • November 2011
  • December 2011
  • January 2012
  • February 2012
  • March 2012
  • April 2012
  • May 2012
  • June 2012
  • July 2012
  • August 2012
  • September 2012
  • October 2012
  • November 2012
  • December 2012
  • January 2013
  • February 2013
  • March 2013
  • April 2013
  • May 2013
  • June 2013
  • July 2013
  • August 2013
  • September 2013
  • October 2013
  • November 2013
  • December 2013
  • January 2014
  • February 2014
  • March 2014
  • April 2014
  • May 2014
  • June 2014
  • July 2014
  • August 2014
  • September 2014
  • October 2014
  • November 2014
  • December 2014
  • January 2015
  • February 2015
  • March 2015
  • April 2015
  • May 2015
  • June 2015
  • July 2015
  • August 2015
  • September 2015
  • October 2015
  • November 2015
  • December 2015
  • January 2016
  • February 2016
  • March 2016
  • April 2016
  • May 2016
  • June 2016
  • July 2016
  • August 2016
  • September 2016
  • October 2016
  • November 2016
  • December 2016
  • January 2017
  • February 2017
  • March 2017
  • April 2017
  • May 2017
  • June 2017
  • July 2017
  • August 2017
  • September 2017
  • October 2017
  • November 2017
  • December 2017
  • January 2018
  • February 2018
  • March 2018
  • April 2018
  • May 2018
  • June 2018
  • July 2018
  • August 2018
  • September 2018
  • October 2018
  • November 2018
  • December 2018
  • January 2019
  • February 2019
  • March 2019
  • April 2019
  • May 2019
  • June 2019
  • July 2019
  • August 2019
  • September 2019
  • October 2019
  • November 2019
  • December 2019
  • January 2020
  • February 2020
  • March 2020
  • April 2020
  • May 2020
  • June 2020
  • July 2020
  • August 2020
  • September 2020
  • October 2020
  • November 2020
  • December 2020
  • January 2021
  • February 2021
  • March 2021
  • April 2021
  • May 2021
  • June 2021
  • July 2021
  • August 2021
  • September 2021
  • October 2021
  • November 2021