Kristina of Speakeasy and Ruth of Silver Screenings are hosting the clever blogathon Things I Learned from the Movies which runs from October 14 to 17. A cornucopia of movie fans/bloggers are on board with some fun and interesting reading. Day 1 recap. Day 2 recap. Day 3 recap. Wrap-up.
Author Betty MacDonald's (Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series) first and greatest success was the humorous semi-autobiographical novel The Egg and I published in 1945. In 1947 Universal brought the book to the screen starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray as a couple transported from city life to a chicken farm in the mountains of Washington state.
Apparently, time spent in a foxhole in Okinawa gets a guy to thinking about the real things in life. For Bob (Fred MacMurray) these real things include his own little chicken ranch. Presumably, one of the other real things he thought about were love and marriage. Probably expecting his intended, Betty (Claudette Colbert) to understand him through telepathy, he waits until after they are married to announce that he has purchased the chicken ranch of his dreams and she's going to love it.
THE LOVE NEST
Betty, whose hands are used to twice weekly manicures and have never done anything rougher than play the piano, is a good sport and truly supportive of Bob, so off they go to live in the country. The ranch is nothing more than a ramshackle group of buildings in desperate need of repair. Bob views the whole thing through possibilities and rose-colored glasses. Betty is not so optimistic, especially when she first meets the resident stove.
BETTY MEETS STOVE
"I don't think it likes me."
BETTY BEFRIENDS STOVE
"There! I bet you never looked better in your life."
STOVE THANKS BETTY!
BETTY'S WEARY TRIUMPH!
The victory of a well scrubbed floor.
You follow the instructions, it should work.
Maybe Betty should talk to her friend Ma Kettle. Ma, Pa and their census taker's delight of a brood live down the road in a place no one would mistake for a photo spread in House Beautiful.
"When I was first married, Dearie, I was as neat as the next one. I tried to keep my house and kids clean. But Pa was an awful lazy so-and-so and it was fight, fight, fight all the time. So I finally give it up. I says I can't make Pa change and be neat so I'll have to change and be dirty. Been peace in this house ever since."
MA'S TABLE CLEARING ROUTINE...
...GETS NO COMPLAINTS FROM THE FAMILY.
MA KETTLE'S GUIDE TO BAKING
"Just a drop of this and a drop of that, mix it together and shove it in the oven."
MA HAS AN ARTISTIC SOUL
"I made one of these here quilts every year since we was married. Got 'em in the closet in the spare room. I figure it will be somethin' real nice to leave the kids when I die."
BETTY INDULGES HER INNER ARTIST!
Don't worry, folks. Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray co-starred in seven films. They have the happy ending bit down pat.
Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride would play Ma and Pa Kettle in seven welcome sequels. Marjorie would star as Ma in two more Kettle pictures after Kilbride's retirement. Breakout stars!
What did I learn from the examples of housewifery set before me in this movie? Well ... let's just say that I'm not as neat as Betty nor as messy as Ma, but I tend toward the casual line when it comes to tending to the old homestead and its occupants. Yes indeed, very casual.