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Bachelor Mother

(1939 b 81')

En: 8 Ed: 8

Garson Kanin directed this romantic comedy of a woman who finds a baby and is taken for a mother in denial by her employer.

John B. Merlin (Charles Coburn) wishes his employees a merry Christmas, but Polly Parrish (Ginger Rogers) is laid off after the holiday. Freddy (Frank Albertson) invites Polly to a fixed dance contest. Polly sees a woman leaving a baby on the steps of a foundling home. Polly takes it inside, and they assume it is hers as it cries when she leaves. David Merlin (David Niven) tells his father John he was in jail all night. David is told that Polly denied her child. He tells Polly she can keep her job with a raise, and the baby is delivered to her as a Christmas present. Freddy comes in and sees the baby. She takes the baby to David, who follows Freddy's car to the dance contest. David is ejected. Freddy and Polly won a cup but not $50. Freddy insists on coming in and finds David waiting. David reprimands Polly and fires her, but she asks for her job back and says the man beat her. The landlady Mrs. Weiss (Ferike Boros) helps Polly with the baby.

Freddy asks tired Polly for help from David for a better job. Freddy sees David with Polly and is promoted. David brings Polly a book on infant care and has her follow instructions but gets them wrong. David tells Polly to exchange a toy, and she laughs. Freddy gives orders. In a disguise David goes with Polly to exchange the toy but has no receipt. David takes a toy anyway, and Freddy grabs him for shoplifting. David demotes Freddy back to stock clerk.

On New Year's Eve David lost his date with Louise (June Wilkins) and calls on Polly. He orders clothes for her with a mink coat. At the party David says that Polly is Swedish. Polly dances and misses dinner. While leaving, Louise and Polly insult each other. At midnight David kisses Polly. Freddy has a note given to John Merlin that his son David is the father. John follows David, who walks to Polly in the park. Polly tells another mother that her baby talks, and David backs her up. John dotes on the child and thanks them. John and David avoid talking while the butler (E. E. Clive) is in the room. John tells David not to deny the child. David tells Polly that his father will take the child if he does not marry her, and Polly tells David to go. Mrs. Weiss enlists her son Jerome Weiss (Leonard Penn) as father. David asks Freddy who the father is. Polly and Jerome tell John they are married. David bursts in and says that Freddy is the father. David knocks Jerome. Freddy says that David is the father, and Jerome admits he is not. Polly runs out with the baby. David and John go after her. In the final scene David finds the toy, asks Polly to marry, and tells John he is the father; but Polly indicates she is not the mother.

Numerous realistic touches increase the hilarity and meaning of this comedy that plays upon assumptions people make about a subject too shameful to discuss openly.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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