Movie Mirrors Index

My Bill

(1938 b 65')

En: 5 Ed: 5

Based on Tom Barry's play, a widow runs out of money, and three children abandon her; but she is helped by a long-time love and her fourth child.

Mary Colbrook (Kay Francis) gets a foreclosure notice and has to pay bills. Daughter Muriel (Anita Louise) wants a new dress; but son Reggie (Bobby Jordan) says their family has no credit in town. Bill Colbrook (Dickie Moore), the youngest, defends his mother. Men come and take the piano. Mary asks banker John Rudlin (John Litel) for money, and he gives it to her. Mary goes shopping and tips the taxi driver. Mary gives presents to all and gives Reggie cash to pay the bills.

Bill kicks his football through a window, and Mrs. Adelaide Crosby (Helena Phillips Evans) demands he fix it. Bill calls her mean; but when she feels ill, he helps her and says Mary said she is not mean but lonely. Mrs. Crosby lets Bill have his football back. Aunt Caroline (Elisabeth Risdon) arrives and, knowing Mary is broke, says she will take care of Muriel, Gwen (Bonita Granville), and Reggie but not Bill. Muriel tells Lynn Willard (Maurice Murphy) she can't marry him because of money. Muriel learns where Mary got the money, and Gwen says it is a disgrace. Reggie tells Mary he is going to live with Aunt Caroline, who promised him college. Bill asks Mrs. Crosby where he can get money, and she sends him to John. Bill borrows $3 from John to start a news-stand business. Muriel and Gwen leave with Reggie and go to Aunt Caroline's place, but they must share a bed. Aunt Caroline imposes her standards. Bill cheers up Mary with his new business, and Mary looks for a job. Bill challenges Aunt Caroline on the street.

Aunt Caroline disapproves of the boys Muriel and Gwen like. Mary and Bill have to move, because Aunt Caroline leased the house. Bill finds Mrs. Crosby is sick, and she invites Mary and Bill to live there. Bill sees Mrs. Crosby die. Aunt Caroline learns that Mary got money from John. Accused of drinking, the maid Beulah quits. Muriel and Reggie go to John, who advises them to get jobs. Muriel casts aspersions on John for loaning Mary money without collateral. John tells Bill that he inherited Mrs. Crosby's estate with both houses. Bill tells Aunt Caroline's butler to move out of his house and calls Beulah to come over. Bill wants Muriel, Gwen, and Reggie to leave; but he learns they wrote to Mary to get back together. Mary and John arrive and are welcomed by the children. Aunt Caroline arrives and disdains John, implying he fathered Bill. John and Mary explain that they have loved each other for many years and are going to marry.

This drama explores the financial difficulties facing a family in the Depression, uncovering a long-time secret love and the fine character of the youngest love child.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index