Bachelor Mother (1939)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Slapstick  |   Release Date - Jun 30, 1939 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 80 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Although she would win an Oscar the next year for Kitty Foyle, Ginger Rogers gives one of her finest performances in Bachelor Mother, a lightweight but charming piece of fluff that's hard to resist. The basic premise -- woman finds baby on doorstep and can't get anyone to believe she is not its mother -- has rich comic possibilities, and while the screenplay doesn't dig deeply into them, it does deliver on the expected series of comic misunderstandings. It also has a number of set pieces -- including the New Year's Eve party in which Rogers is instructed to pretend she is Swedish and David Niven's attempt to return a Donald Duck toy -- that should provoke generous amounts of laughter in most viewers. Garson Kanin directs smoothly; there's nothing distinctive about his work here, but that's much less important than the fact that he keeps the tone of the film consistently light and airy, never letting this soufflé deflate. His cast aids him immeasurably. Rogers has rarely been funnier, more engaging or more attractive, and she carries the film with an assurance and an ease that few could pull off. David Niven is delightful, combining urbanity and befuddlement to good effect, and Charles Coburn is a joy. Technical credits are fine, although the continuity is rather slipshod. Too slight to be a classic, Bachelor Mother is the kind of "little" movie that produces a warm glow among its audience.