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Bachelor Mother

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Director  Garson Kanin
Music director  Roy Webb
Country  United States
7.7/10 IMDb

Genre  Comedy, Romance
Screenplay  Norman Krasna
Language  English
Bachelor Mother movie poster
Writer  Felix Jackson, Norman Krasna
Release date  June 30, 1939 (1939-06-30)
Initial release  June 30, 1939 (New York City)
Cast  Ginger Rogers (Polly Parrish), David Niven (David Merlin), Charles Coburn (J. B. Merlin), Frank Albertson (Freddie Miller), E.E. Clive (Butler), Elbert Coplen Jr. (Johnnie)
Similar movies  Mad Max: Fury Road, The Switch, Mad Max, Snowpiercer, Neighbors, Shrek the Third
Tagline  Just ten baby fingers and ten baby toesTroubles? Scandal?GoshNobody Knows

Bachelor mother clip

Bachelor Mother (1939) is an American comedy film directed by Garson Kanin, and starring Ginger Rogers, David Niven, and Charles Coburn. The screenplay was written by Norman Krasna based on an Academy Award nominated story by Felix Jackson (a.k.a. Felix Joachimson) written for the 1935 Austrian-Hungarian film Little Mother. With a plot full of mistaken identities, Bachelor Mother is a light-hearted treatment of the otherwise serious issues of child abandonment.


Bachelor Mother movie scenes

It was remade in 1956 as Bundle of Joy, starring Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. This movie also inspired some Bollywood movies like Kunwara Baap .

Bachelor Mother wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters5655p5655p

Bachelor mother feeding the baby


Polly Parrish (Ginger Rogers) is a salesgirl at the department store John B. Merlin and Son in New York City. Hired as temporary help for the Christmas season, she receives her dismissal notice as the season comes to a close. During her lunch break, she sees a stranger leaving a baby on the steps of an orphanage. Fearing the baby will roll down the steps, Polly picks it up. An attendant opens the door and mistakenly believes that Polly is the baby's mother.

David Merlin (David Niven), the playboy son of the store's owner J.B. Merlin (Charles Coburn), is sympathetic to the "unwed mother" and arranges for her to get her job back. Mrs. Weiss (Ferike Boros), Polly's landlady, offers to take care of the boy when Polly is at work. Unable to convince anyone that she is not the mother, and threatened by David with loss of her job if she doesn't assume that role, Polly gives up and starts raising the child.

David's involvement with Polly gradually turns into love, but he keeps the relationship a secret from his father, fearing his reaction. When he finds that New Year's Eve has arrived and he has no date, David turns to Polly. He orders clothes to be sent from the store and takes her to a party. Although David is falling for Polly, he does not relish the idea of a "ready-made family".

When J.B. learns about the child, he assumes that David is the father. His suspicions are reinforced when, in a bit of bad timing, Polly and David each produce a different man whom they claim is the father. To his son's surprise, J.B. is delighted (he had been impatiently waiting for David to settle down and provide him with a grandson). In the end, David decides that he is in love with Polly and baby John. He tells his father that he is the father of the child and plans to marry Polly, all the while believing Polly is the child's mother.


  • Ginger Rogers as Polly Parrish
  • David Niven as David Merlin
  • Charles Coburn as J.B. Merlin
  • Frank Albertson as Freddie Miller
  • E. E. Clive as Butler
  • Elbert Coplen Jr. as Johnnie
  • Ferike Boros as Mrs. Weiss
  • Ernest Truex as Investigator
  • Leonard Penn as Jerome Weiss
  • Paul Stanton as Hargraves
  • Frank M. Thomas as Doctor
  • Production

    Louis Hayward was originally announced as the male lead.

    The film was originally known as Little Mother. Cary Grant was going to co-star, then James Ellison and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.


    The film was a big hit and earned RKO a profit of $827,000.

    Adaptations to other media

    Bachelor Mother was adapted as a radio play on several occasions, including five broadcasts of The Screen Guild Theater: the first starred Laraine Day, Henry Fonda and Charles Coburn (February 1, 1942); the second starred Ann Sothern and Fred MacMurray (November 23, 1942); the third starred Ginger Rogers, Francis X. Bushman and David Niven (May 6, 1946); the fourth starred Lucille Ball, Joseph Cotten and Charles Coburn (April 28, 1949); the fifth starred Ann Sothern and Robert Stack (April 20, 1952). It was also adapted as an hour-long play on Lux Radio Theater with Ginger Rogers and Fredric March (January 22, 1940) and on Screen Director's Playhouse with Lucille Ball and Robert Cummings (March 8, 1951).


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