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Apartment for Peggy

(1948 c 96')

En: 7 Ed: 7

Based on Faith Baldwin's novel, a young couple on the G.I. bill scrape by in college and are helped by a suicidal retired professor.

Professor Henry Barnes (Edmund Gwenn) is retired and tells law professor Edward Bell (Gene Lockhart) that he is planning to commit suicide and wants to make a will. Edward tries to talk him out of it and gets upset. Henry asks Dr. Conway (Griff Barnett) why he should wait for death after he finishes writing his last book. Dr. Conway gives him only two sleeping pills.

On a campus bench Peggy (Jeanne Crain) tells Henry that she is looking for an apartment and has a husband. They discuss suicide, and she suggests the person start living. Peggy asks Edward Bell for a place to live, and he tells her that Henry has an attic. In the trailer Jason (William Holden) shows Peggy his grades and says he could make money selling cars. Peggy goes to Henry and says she will fix up the attic. She knocks out the electricity, and Jason goes out to get a fuse. Henry remembers his wife, and Peggy plays the piano. Jason brings back a dog, and Henry disapproves; but Peggy makes up a statistic, and Henry gives in.

Henry sees how they have made the attic livable. Jason says he wants to be a teacher, and Peggy hopes to have nine kids. Henry is saving his sleeping pills he gets two at a time. Peggy takes breakfast to Henry and does his laundry. Dorothy tells Peggy that she is too uneducated for her husband. Peggy asks Henry to teach the wives. He lectures on philosophy, and the women discuss democracy and what is best.

Peggy is pregnant and says they will name him after Henry. Jason helps Henry assemble a Tiny Tot Tub. Jason learns that Peggy did not take a pill because of lack of money. A doctor tells Jason and Henry that Peggy's baby died, but she is all right. Jason asks Henry why. Henry visits Peggy in the hospital and says he plans to live.

Jason has gone to Chicago to sell used cars. Peggy gets a letter and is disappointed that Jason is not coming back yet. Henry goes to Jason and encourages him to go back to college, but Jason says he cannot make enough as a teaching assistant. Yet Jason goes back to take make-up exams. He is discouraged by chemistry, but the teacher is also a navy veteran and says the best things are difficult.

They learn that Henry took the sleeping pills, but Dr. Conway says he gave him harmless pills. Peggy tries to keep Henry awake, and Jason tells him to walk. In the final scene Peggy plans to have a baby, and Henry plays violin with his friends.

This comedy celebrates life as an educational endeavor and reflects the broadening of higher education to veterans. G. B. Shaw said that an educated person can hear a statistic and feel an emotion. Peggy uses this to win arguments in her joyous quest for a better life.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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