Bundle of Joy (1956)

Bundle of Joy (1956)

Directed by Norman Taurog (Skippy (1931)) this Musical remake of Bachelor Mother (1939) by Felix Jackson with a screenplay by Robert Carson (A Star is Born (1937)) Norman Krasna (Princess O’Rourke (1943)) and Arthur Sheekman doesn’t come close to the charm or quality of the original. It was primarily made to capitalize on the Eddie Fisher-Debbie Reynolds marriage and her pregnancy which would produce future actress and writer Carrie Fisher. But like their marriage the film fails because of Eddie Fisher who didn’t really have an acting talent that was anywhere near as capable as his singing ability. Of course Bachelor Mother (1939) had both Ginger Rogers and David Niven. At least the supporting cast in this one which includes Adolphe Menjou Tommy Noonan Una Merkel Melville Cooper Mary Treen and Edward Brophy (among others) was up to the challenge helping the movie (combined with Reynolds’s pluckiness) salvage an average (vs. below average) rating from this reviewer.

Since I provided a full synopsis of the original for its review I won’t rehash it here. This remake doesn’t stray very far from the source material except for the added (and rather uninspired) musical numbers even the characters names were kept. Fisher plays Dan Merlin son of store-owner J.B. ‘John’ Merlin (Menjou) who falls for Polly Parish (Reynolds) after she’d been mistakenly thought to be the single mother of a foundling she’d found on the steps of an agency (where Treen works). Noonan plays a co-worker of Polly’s Freddie Miller who’d love to be her guy as much as he’d like to be promoted. Merkel plays Polly’s understanding landlord Mrs. Dugan Cooper plays the Merlin’s butler named Adams and Brophy plays one of the dance contest judges.

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