Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


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! ***.

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