Based on a novel by Kathleen Morris, The Callahans and the Murphys was the first of several MGM films costarring veteran comediennes Marie Dressler and Polly Moran. These formidable ladies are cast as Mrs. Callahan and Mrs. Murphy, feuding tenement housewives who spend most of their time keeping their multitudes of children under control. Polly's son Dan (Lawrence Gray) falls in love with with Marie's daughter Eileen (Sally O'Neill). Dan falls into a bad crowd and disappears, leaving Eileen and with a baby on the way. Mrs. Callahan tries to save her daughter's reputation by adopting the baby, but finds to her delight that the kid was "legit" all along. The film is highlighted by the drunken antics of its two female stars: in one scene, while downing bottle after bottle of beer ("This stuff makes me see double and feel single!"), Marie and Polly begin pouring the brew down each other's blouses. So raunchy were the antics of Dressler and Moran that The Callahans and the Murphys was withdrawn from distribution after protests were lodged by various Irish-American organizations.
by Hal Erickson synopsis