|Colbert can do without MacMurray's attention to Allbritton|
THE EGG AND I (1947). Director: Chester Erskine.
Bob MacDonald (Fred MacMurray), a selfish and inconsiderate husband, buys a farm without even consulting his wife, Betty (Claudette Colbert) -- which alone would be a reason for divorce for some women -- and the two set off for the country to raise chickens and sell eggs. While having assorted misadventures, the couple meet the odd Pa Kettle (Percy Kilbride), his big-hearted wife, Ma (Marjorie Main), and their huge brood, as well as the predatory Harriet (Louise Allbritton), who doesn't seem to care that Bob has a wife. The Egg and I is consistently amusing, has a nice scene when all the neighbors show up to help the MacDonald's after a fire, and boasts some very good performances; Colbert, in particular, is excellent, and her expressions throughout the movie are priceless. There are guest appearances by the likes of Donald MacBride, Elisabeth Risdon [from the "Mexican Spitfire" films], and Esther Dale, and there's even a pig named Cleopatra! Ida Moore shows up late in the film as a somewhat dotty old lady who has a tale of a giant chicken. While there are some fairly foolish marital developments at the end of the movie that make Betty seem like a dope, The Egg and I is still a very funny and entertaining picture. The characters of Ma and Pa Kettle soon got their own feature as well as several sequels.
Verdict: Colbert is a riot! ***.