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

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Percy Kilbride and Marjorie Main
MA AND PA KETTLE (aka The Further Adventures of Ma and Pa Kettle/1949). Director: Charles Lamont.

"I still wish you'd fix the roof of the hen house. Would you like to sit in the broiling sun and have to lay eggs besides?" -- Ma to Pa.

Lovable hillbillies Ma and Pa Kettle (Percy Kilbride and Marjorie Main), who first appeared in The Egg and I as supporting characters, are in danger of being thrown out of their messy and cluttered house along with their sixteen children. Fortunately, Pa wins a tobacco slogan contest and he and his brood become the proud possessors of a new ultra-modern home. All Pa really wanted was a new pouch for his tobacco, and he isn't crazy about all of the new-fangled inventions in his swanky domicile. Then the jealous termagant Birdie (Esther Dale) and her mother (Isabel O'Madigan) maintain that Pa stole the slogan from somebody else ...

The Kettle children minus Tom
It's amazing that Pa has so many children when he hardly seems to have the energy to get out of bed -- maybe that's his problem! Along with Kilbride and Main, we have Dale and O'Madigan, as well as Richard Long [House on Haunted Hill] as eldest son Tom Kettle (who's invented a new incubator) , as holdovers from The Egg and I, and there's also a guest appearance by Ida Moore, reprising her role as a rather dotty old lady. (One could argue that it's not in the best of taste to present a lonely old woman who talks to her late husband in front of people as if he were still alive and make a joke of it.) Still, Ma and Pa Kettle is an amusing enough picture with excellent performances. Meg Randall [Without Warning!] plays a pretty writer who becomes Tom's love interest. There were no less than six sequels to this film, making it a fairly successful movie series of the forties and fifties.

Verdict: The two leads are funny characters and actors, and Main is especially winsome. **3/4. 


angelman66 said...

These serial films used to be on Saturday mornings after cartoons....we'd have one season of Shirley Temples, then a season of Charlie Chans, then Ma and Pa Kettles. Marjorie Main was the queen of all character actresses at MGM, I am so glad she got to headline her own film series.
Have not seen these for years and need to now!

William said...

I think this one is readily available but the others are hard to find. May be an out of print box set of them all. I first saw all of the films you mention on Saturday morning TV as well, or else the afternoon movie. Marjorie Main was great, and a better, more versatile actress than many people realized.