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Short summary

On their wedding night Bob informs his new bride Betty that he has bought a chicken farm. An abandoned chicken farm, to be exact, which is obvious when the two move in. Betty endures Bob's enthusiasm for the rural life, rustic inconveniences, and battling nature, but her patience is severely tested when glamorous neighbor Harriet Putnam seems to set her sights on Bob.

The incredibly sloppy pig is named Cleopatra, an obvious reference to Claudette Colbert's most famous role in Cleopatra (1934).

There is a breakfast restaurant chain called "The Egg and I."

This comedy was such a hit with audiences, it spawned the Ma and Pa Kettle film series.

This is the sixth of seven films pairing Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray.

This is the first of ten films in which Marjorie Main played Ma Kettle and the first of eight in which Percy Kilbride played Pa Kettle.

This movie was being shown to inmates in the movie 'Brute Force' also a Universal August 1947 release.

The story actually takes place in the State of Washington.

Was the #8 box office hit of 1947 with about $6M.

Betty married her chicken-farming husband (simply called "Bob" in the book) in 1927 and left him in 1931, taking her two young daughters and returning to Seattle. She married for a second time in 1942, and by the time she began her writing career she was known as Betty MacDonald. Studio executives (perhaps trying to avoid the subject of the author's divorce) called the husband character "Bob MacDonald," merging the first husband's first name and the second husband's last name.

Walter Lantz produced an animated promotional film for the feature. It was directed by Dick Lundy.

The road in Center, WA where the inspirational farm once owned by the Egg And I book author Betty MacDonald (1907 - 1958) is located, was named The Egg And I Road on February 3, 1981.

Features Marjorie Main's only Oscar nominated performance.

On May 5, 1947, Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray starred in radio version of this film that was broadcast on the Lux Radio Theatre.

"The Hedda Hopper Show - This Is Hollywood" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on January 4, 1947 with Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray reprising their film roles.

According to Betty MacDonald, who visited the set during filming, Harriet Puttnam is base on a woman named Lesley Arnold, who set her sights on Betty's second husband, Don.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Blackbrand
    Having not seen this picture in years, I wondered if it would still be enjoyable. It is. Claudette Colbert is superb as Betty MacDonald, the author of the best selling book of what this is based upon, uprooting herself from the big city to accompany her husband (Fred MacMurray) on a farming dream. Their trials and tribulations are amusing and cute; MacMurray is well-cast. The film introduced the zany characters of Ma and Pa Kettle (Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride), parents of 15 children, who were a huge hit and spawned their own series of 9 films (2 without Percy). However, my favorite character is Harriet Putnam, deliciously portrayed by Louise Allbritton, a slim, slinky, aristocratic, velvety voiced blonde beauty, with a yen for the burly MacMurray. She owns a very modern farm down the road, replete with farmhands, technology, conveniences, but "no Man." Her scenes with the jealous Colbert are priceless, and Allbritton shows a great flair for comic timing. This classic can be seen as an inspiration for two popular 1960s television comedy series, "Green Acres" and "The Beverly Hillbillies." Enjoy!
  • comment
    • Author: Zargelynd
    I found this to be a very cute and charming little movie. Claudette Colbert was a hoot as the long suffering Betty, and Fred MacMurray was equally as good as Bob, trying so hard to achieve success but neglecting Betty in the process. Ma and Pa Kettle steal the whole film out from under them, so it's no big surprise they got their own film series after this. A warm and funny movie all around.
  • comment
    • Author: Perongafa
    The Egg and I is based on a best selling book by Betty McDonald concerning the happenings around an urban city dwelling woman, Claudette Colbert playing Betty McDonald, whose husband, Fred MacMurray, gets an agricultural urge after service in World War II. Back to nature so to speak. They both adapt, he a great deal easier than she did and that's part of the plot.

    Doing a little research on the movie and book, I found that Betty McDonald was a resident of Seattle and where they moved was not anywhere near hillbilly country, but to a rural part of Washington state. But of course what Universal was doing was giving in to stereotypes. They couldn't make Ma and Pa Kettle and the rest of the characters convincing without transferring The Egg and I to an Ozark/Appalachian background.

    Knowing that it does make me curious as to how the Kettles and the rest of the rustic neighbors were portrayed in the book.

    Still somebody apparently knew what they were doing because The Egg and I with a built in audience of those who had already bought Betty McDonald's book cleaned up at the box office. And Percy Kilbride and Marjorie Main as Ma and Pa Kettle and their growing family became such a hit it spawned a series of money making films for Universal Studios for the next decade.

    How popular were the Kettles? I remember back as a lad watching an episode of Gomer Pyle who when he got a pass to go into town took in a revival film of the Ma and Pa Kettle series. In places like Mayberry, North Carolina the Kettles attained a cult status. Marjorie Main got a Best Supporting Actress nomination, but lost to Celeste Holm for Gentlemen's Agreement. She and Percy Kilbride played variations on their Kettle characters in most of the remaining films in their respective careers.

    Still it's Fred and Claudette's film despite the Kettles and both settle into roles very comfortable for both of them. Next to the Kettles, the supporting player who comes off best is Louise Allbritton, the mantrap neighbor who's got her eye on Fred MacMurray. You will also like Billy House as the rotund peddler with everything, even himself for the needy housewife.

    Rural Washington state had to wait until the Nineties for a film set in that part of the country. It was hardly a flattering picture that Tobias Wolff painted of where he grew up in This Boy's Life. No rustics like the Kettles in that Leonardo DiCaprio/Robert DeNiro film.

    Probably the most successful imitator of The Egg and I had to be the CBS classic series Green Acres. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor were even more out of place in the Ozarks than Colbert and MacMurray were. They too dealt with a collection of rustics that looked like they stepped from the cast of The Egg and I.

    They even made Green Acres a success without the Kettles.
  • comment
    • Author: Jorius
    The book on which this film was based upon was a phenomenal best-seller in the mid-forties: readers loved the earthy tang and hilariously funny situations of Betty Smith's novel of the same name. Although this film version is rather a tame adaptation of the wonderful book, it definitely provides enough warmth, charm & chuckles to please viewers who aren't too discriminating. Claudette Colbert - in her last great film role - plays Betty with her particular warmth & charm: she and Fred MacMurray have an undeniable chemistry. Although they weren't youngsters here, they make you believe them youthful (Claudette was 44 & Fred was 39 here). For reasons which are unclear, Colbert never cared for this film, but the movie-going public just loved it! The film is perhaps most notable in introducing the characters of Ma & Pa Kettle as played by Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride respectively. The public howled at the personalities and antics of this loveable country bumpkins, and they were on the road to a hugely popular series of their own which spanned from 1949-1957. It is really Main's AA-nominated performance of Ma which lingers in the memory: she was born to play the no-nonsense, down-to-earth but loveable Ms Kettle! Note that the Kettle's oldest son, Tom is played by none other than Richard Long, who would star as Jarrod Barkley in the beloved TV western series THE BIG VALLEY eighteen years later. Birdie Hicks is played to hilarious perfection by the acid- tongued Esther Dale.
  • comment
    • Author: PC-rider
    I stumbled upon 'The Egg and I' while trying to find some of the old 'Ma & Pa Kettle' movies. It was great to find out that 'The Egg and I' was the first movie that used Ma and Pa Kettle as characters. Of coarse the Kettles were excellent in this movie. They were such a hit with audiences viewing 'The Egg and I' that it hatched the Ma and Pa Kettle film series. Although the Kettles are an integral part of the movie, don't be misled and watch this with the intentions of watching a Ma and Pa Kettle movie. This is a romantic comedy with Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray playing a young couple from the city that buy a run down farm. The entire movie revolves around this couple and their experiences. Most likely the 'Green Acres' TV series predecessor. Around this couple come a very interesting cast of characters of which the Kettles are a part. This movie is a simple, good old fashioned, clean cut, comedy. Sit back and enjoy the great acting and cast of characters. You'll be glad you did.
  • comment
    • Author: Samulkree
    If you loved the TV series Green Acres then you will love this film which served as the incubator for the TV series. Betty & Bob MacDonald played wonderfully by Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray live in the city but Bob desires the laid back country life. They move into a house which looks like a shack that must be fixed up. Neighbors like Ma & Pa Kettle and their many children and Billy Reed the Mr. Haney lookalike. Betty hates the country, pigs and chickens. A good comedy and display of just what could happen to city folk that what to become country folk.
  • comment
    • Author: Skrimpak
    This charming, lively and atmospheric sojourn into the country is one of the most famous and influential of all "rustic" films. Like "Mr. Blandings Builds His dream House" and "George Washington Slept Here", Betty MacDonald's "The Egg and I" tells the cautionary tale of a city dweller and his wife trying to establish a new life form themselves far from the city's amenities. Usually one partner is more enthusiastic about the relocation than is the other--in this case, a young wife played by Claudette Colbert--while the mate is hell-bent on leaving the city's inconveniences behind--in this case Fred MacMurray. The film has a deceptively simple plot-line. In pursuit of the goal of running an egg-producing farm, MacMurray drags his new wife into the country; the remainder of the film comprises three plot lines: 1. The way they are rooked, helped, charmed and appalled by their bucolic neighbors, especially Ma and pa kettle played for the first time on the screen my Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride; 2. Involvements with a gorgeous neighbor (Louise Allbritton) whom Colbert thinks is a rival for her husband's affections; and 3. Difficulties with a very old and run-down physical property owing to long-term prior neglect, bad weather, etc. This bare summary of events I suggest captures the essence of the storyline rather succinctly; but it also omits the hysteria of Colbert's reactions, her distaste at first for the entire project, and the genial atmosphere of "what next" that permeates all the couple's dealings with nature, their neighbors and their own negotiations about their new marriage and the terms on which it is to be lived. Unlike many incompetent later so-called comedies, this is a true comedy--something that cannot end badly for the participants if they physically persevere; and it is quite realistic, if broadly mounted. How many other films can you the viewer recall which introduces Ma and Pa Kettle, a slinky blond egg-ranch owner, a 300 pound ladies man, a run-down chicken ranch, a college-trained hillbilly engineer and a succession of incompetent workmen? Frank Skinner provided suitable comedic music; the film was directed by veteran Chester Erskine, from a story and screenplay he adopted from the Macdonald novel along with Fred F. Finkelhoffe. The two produced also along with Leonard Goldstein, and they produced an instant classic and a box-office smash. Milton Krasner supplied a consistent cinematography, helped along by a very fine production design by Bernard Herzbrun and inventive set decorations by Oliver Emert and Russell A. Gausman. The fine cast is headed by Fred MacMurray as a believable Bob Macdonald, and Claudette Colbert, very powerful as always and only a bit too old for the part. As the rival egg rancher, Louise Allbritton is cultured, and brilliant as usual. Billy House as the amorous Mr. Reed, Elisabeth Risdon as Betty's mother, Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride and Richard Long as the Kettles are all very much up to their parts, which in lesser hands might have turned into caricatures. others in the well-chosen cast include Samuel S. Hinds as the Sheriff, Ida Moore, Fuzzy Knight, Isabel O'Madigan, Esther Dale, Donald MacBride and John Berkes. It is hard to say enough nice things about the consistent style of this B/W treasure. What makes it work apart from the straightforward direction and the sincere professional actors I suggest is the categorical theme--Betty (Colbert) finally wanting her marriage to work, rather than her husband's equally legitimate desire to make a go of the egg ranch project he has always wanted to head, even if it means making his wife uncomfortable for a while. This is a film many admire, myself among them, and many more like even better that they admire it. It is a fine autumn film any night you want some genuinely-earned laughter.
  • comment
    • Author: Azago
    This movie was based on a book of the same title. The woman who wrote the book, Betty MacDonald, wrote it with her experiences as a young wife living on a chicken farm in the Pacific Northwest. It is worth noting that in the film, Claudette Colbert's character's name is Betty and Fred MacMurray's character's name is Bob (her husband's name). As for the film, we are not told exactly where the characters are supposed to be living although it is safe to say they are far away in the country. What we do know is that Fred MacMurray plays a recent war veteran who tells Claudette Colbert, his wife, that he has just purchased a chicken farm and that he intends for them to live out there so they can raise chickens. This is the beginning of what is a riot because they are both city people trying to get used to life on the farm. Bob (Fred MacMurray's character) is overly enthusiastic about the whole move but one can tell right away that much as Betty (Claudette Colbert's character) tries to be supportive, she is not as taken by it. First of all, the farm house is decrepit, they have to deal with the Kettle clan (especially Pa Kettle who is always asking for things but never returning favors) as well as a seductive woman who has a mechanical farm next door and has eyes for Bob.

    The movie is a riot as we see the couple dealing with everything I have mentioned. I have watched the movie a number of times and even have the video tape of it. I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like if someone said to me one day, "You're moving on a farm tomorrow. Now go to work!" Well, I guess it would probably not be much different from this film!
  • comment
    • Author: Qucid
    Claudette Colbert & Fred MacMurray star in this screwball comedy; a film that had to be a precursor to "Green Acres"...there's even a Mr. Haney. Although adequate, who steals the show are Ma & Pa Kettle. Marjorie Main is a natural, and because of this, their debut film, The Kettles became a household name.
  • comment
    • Author: Envias
    I first watched this movie about 5 years ago, and I enjoyed it then. I wanted to watch it again, because I'd since seen a few movies with Marjorie Main. I enjoyed her performance, but it was the role played by Claudette Colbert that blew me away. I thought she was better here than in "It Happened One Night", when she won an Oscar. Ma and Pa Kettle stole the show the last time I watched it, but this time around, I was more interested in the lives of Betty and Bob MacDonald. Ms. Colbert and Fred MacMurray had such an easy-going, natural interaction, which I overlooked on first viewing. Isn't that the sign of good acting? When you don't even notice they're acting?
  • comment
    • Author: Thetalune
    This film is totally delightful. Light romantic comedy with a cast of colorful characters. I saw it once and I've been hooked every since. It also made me life-long fans of Ma and Pa Kettle but that's a whole other basket of eggs!! Sit back and enjoy!!!
  • comment
    • Author: Thetalen
    Amusing, if highly contrived, adaptation of the then recent wildly popular book of the same title. This was by no means the first screen pairing of the long established leading Hollywood actors Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert. They seemed to have great chemistry in doing this fish-out-of-water comedy. From Claudette's viewpoint, this screenplay is rather like a triple fusion of her roles in "It Happened One Night", "Drums Along the Mohawk" and "Boomtown", among her best remembered film roles. At age 44, she was still the cutest woman in Hollywood, with her big soulful deer-like eyes, perfect natural smiley face, and hourglass figure. Like Gable in the former film, Fred has supreme self confidence , not always warranted, in handling various unfamiliar situations., dragging Claudette along with his unexpected dreams.

    We have the dichotomy of two 'gentlemen' farm operations run by displaced rich city folk vs. various indigenous rural neighbors. Fred(as Bob} and Claudette(as Betty) are newly arrived city folk on a rundown former chicken farm. Their seriously overloaded truck they arrive in is a hoot, with a complete inventory of farm animals. Later, they will meet Harriet Putnam(Louise Allbritton), the multi-divorced owner of a large modern-equipped farm, also emphasizing chickens. It soon becomes clear that Harriet is a man-eating nymphomaniac, with Bob next on her menu. This seems all too clear to Betty, but Bob keeps insisting that he isn't going to be tempted to abandon Betty for this siren. Thus, we have a situation rather similar to that in "Wife vs. Secretary" and "Boomtown" in which Clark Gable was spending many evenings and trips with his sexy secretary(Jean Harlow, or Hedy Lamarr), causing his wife(Myrna Loy, or Claudette) to assume they were having an affair, thus running home to mother and considering a divorce. Thus, for a portion of the film, while Bob and Harriet are doing various things together, Betty often is in the company of neighbor Ma Kettle, a poor neighbor with endless children and a mostly useless bumpkin of a husband(Percy Kilbride)

    This was the first pairing of these latter two, who would graduate to the leads in the "Ma and Pa Kettle" film series, one of which was made each year from 1949-57, the last two without Percy. They would continue their characterization established in this film throughout this popular series. Having viewed most of this series, I say they were better in supporting a major star(s), as in the present film, as opposed to endless contrived situations in their lead Ma and Pa Kettle personas, usually involving getting mixed up with gangsters. Soon after the present film, they were reteamed in the comedy "Feudin', Fussin' and A-Fightin' ", starring Don O'Connor, in which they played somewhat more dignified characters, with Marjorie as the mayor of a tiny dusty western town. Without Percy, during this era, Marjorie also appeared in her 'tough old broad' guise with Abbott and Costello in "The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap" and with her previous frequent costar, Wallace Berry, in "Big Jack". She was Judy Garland's mother in the rural musical "Summer Stock", and Fred Astaire's blustery guardian aunt, as well as Vera Ellen's boss in the NYC musical "Belle of New York". In my opinion, Percy didn't have any special comedic talent.

    Occasional mishaps and a variety of eccentric visitors and animals keep things interesting at the McDonald farm. Bob chops down a tree to make room for an expansion of the chicken house. Despite Betty's persistent claim that it's going to fall on the chicken house, he repeatedly assures her that he has experience as a lumberjack and knows precisely where it will fall. Well, you can guess what happens. This is the comedic equivalent of Gable's thumbing-a-ride caper in "It Happened one Night". The final straw is when a fire that starts from Pa Kettle's moonshine still spreads to consume their animal shelters(Apparently, it didn't consume the Kettle's farm??). Interestingly, Bob then wants to quit trying to be a farmer, but formerly very reluctant farmer Betty doesn't want to quit. Just then, all the neighbors show up, organized by the sheriff, to offer help in rebuilding their farm. Siren Harriet shows up with supremely grumpy old Mr. Henty, apparently the only egg buyer in this region, whom she has instructed to offer the McDonalds an egg contract(We have our suspicions what hold she has over him). Nonetheless, Bob and Harriet soon secretly strike a deal where Bob buys her farm.(He seems to have an endless money supply). Unfortunately, Betty assumes they are, instead, having an affair, and leaves the farm for mother. After a baby and several more flip flops near the end, the McDonalds are finally reunited in the end. The parting take home message is similar to that articulated by Jimmy Stewart in the finale of "Wife vs. Secretary", whether you believe or not Bob's claimed innocence.

    Louise Allbritton didn't always play 'the other woman'. In her film roles during WWII, she usually played strong women, such as Harriet. Her role as Lillian Russell is particularly memorable, rather reminding us of Marlene Dietrich.
  • comment
    • Author: black coffe
    Hollywood in the '40's excelled at finding the ironic humor of the city slickers stuck in the country. MacMurray, Colbert, Kilbride, and Main are all excellent in this saga of urban sophistication torn asunder amidst bucolic realities. Just watch and enjoy.
  • comment
    • Author: Malanim
    This of course is a older movie, but to me is a classic. Fred Macmurry wants to live in the country and drags his wife along for the fun. She is very new to the country life and seeing where she ends up living is another riot. If you want a good laugh, this one will cheer you up.
  • comment
    • Author: Preve
    It seems obvious that this movie was the inspiration for Green Acres with Fred MacMurray as a New York lawyer who pursues his dream of running a farm. The broken down barn, lack of running water, irrepressible salesman working out of his truck, county fairs, eccentric neighbors, are all on hand. Claudette Colbert is superb, as usual, re-teaming with MacMurray for mirth and merriment. But Percy Kilbride and Marjorie Main steal the show as neighbors Ma and Pa Kettle. In fact, this film spawned a series of "Kettle" sequels. All in all, the Egg and I is a very special bucolic comedy.
  • comment
    • Author: Leceri
    Copyright 1 April 1947 by Universal Pictures Co. In. New York release at the Radio City Music Hall: 24 April 1947. U.S. release: May 1947. U.K. release: 18 August 1947. Sydney release at the State: 6 June 1947. Australian release: 19 June 1947. Australian length: 9,950 feet (110½ minutes). U.S. length: 108 minutes.

    SYNOPSIS: Husband buys sophisticated bride a run-down chicken farm in the wops.

    NOTES: As just about everybody knows, this was the film that introduced Ma and Pa Kettle — characters that were to prove so popular at the box-office, Universal brought them back for a long- running series on which authoress Betty MacDonald was able to retire. Basically her book, "The Egg and I", is a very humorous, very racy autobiography, in which much of the satire is leveled at her own expense. If she'd a mind, she could well have successfully sued herself for libel. Mr. Erskine has cleaned up the film version in some respects, substituting good honest dirt and slapstick for the pointed sexual and social barbs of the original.

    Nevertheless, the script is still amusing — even witty. Erskine's direction is equally adept and has some hilarious moments — ably assisted by the expert film editing of Russell Schoengarth who has the admirable habit of cutting away from a scene before the joke wears out or the sentiment gets too sticky.

    The performers are in first-class form. Sophisticated Colbert makes a delightful stooge and MacMurray is right in his no-nonsense element as the "she'll be all right" farmer. Photography and art direction are likewise A-1, while Frank Skinner's ding-dong breezy music score, superbly orchestrated with a rib-tickling cock crow, contributes greatly to the fun. A pity the "Ma and Pa Kettle" solo films come nowhere near the wit and expertise of this first appearance.

    COMMENT: Claudette Colbert's last really big box office hit. Perfectly cast and playing with an appropriately brisk competence, she is nevertheless out-shined by Marjorie Main who is an absolute delight. Some of the luster and novelty has rubbed off now because of the inferior Kettle series, but it's still a marvelous role. She was even nominated for the annual award for Best Supporting Actress (losing to Celeste Holm in "Gentleman's Agreement") — the only nomination she ever received from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!

    Miss Main receives most amusing support from Percy Kilbride, Esther Dale, Isabel O'Madigan and a host of other well-chosen bit players who come into their own at the dance; while Billy House impersonates Billy Reed far more engagingly than Emory Parnell who replaced him in the series. (Incidentally, the present print is the re-issued one with the credit titles rewritten so that Main and Kilbride are now billed as co-stars).

    Although it's a considerably watered-down version of the book with a new and conventional sub-plot involving Louise Allbritton's glamorous femme fatale, it's all played and directed in such a breezy, pacey, lively style, we don't really mind. Erskine keeps things moving along briskly, expertly juggling a host of amusing subsidiary characters.

    Filmed on a lavish budget (though obviously entirely within the studio except for a brief location sequence), beautifully photographed and rollickingly scored, "The Egg and I" fully deserved its box-office success.
  • comment
    • Author: Efmprof
    When the "Egg and I" came out in 1947, Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray had already made five other movies together, and they would do one more after this one. As with each of the first ones, they have wonderful chemistry in this film. Paramount made the first five that included one drama and four comedy romances. Universal signed the couple for this and the last pairing, "Family Honeymoon" the next year.

    This film is not the hilarious comedy and laugh-out-loud fun of other films. It rather has a warmth of humor in the travails of a city couple setting up in country living. Faith in partners and trust in love play a nice story within the story here, with a good lesson at the end.

    Colbert is one of the great actresses of all time. She was versatile and could act well in many genres. She had a distinct persona for comedy that made her unusual among actresses. She always played an intelligent woman, if not always a wise one. MacMurray likewise played well across genres. From his last years, people may remember him mostly as an absent-minded or funny professor. But MacMurray did much better comedy roles – mostly straight; and he made some fine Westerns and dramas. He was very good in the few action and mystery films he made.

    This is a wonderful movie that the whole family should enjoy.
  • comment
    • Author: Goltikree
    I absolutely loved this movie. The theme is still such a popular one used today. Putting people in new situations, and seeing how they adapt to such. I found quite a lot of humor as they transitioned from the city life to being chicken farmers to harvest eggs. The chemistry between Betty and Bob is absolutely phenomenal and hilarious. One of my favorite parts was when Bob was with Harriet Putnam, you could see the jealousy flourish from Betty because she could tell that Ms.Putnam wanted Bob. I really enjoyed when she chucked her shoe at Bob and hit him right in the head! As a painful reminder! I recommend this movie to anyone!
  • comment
    • Author: Quttaro
    Married couple Betty and Bob (Colbert & MacMurray) move from the city to the backwoods to take on an abandoned chicken ranch. Hilarity follows.

    What a chuckled-filled scene when wife Betty plops into the hog wallow following a failed attempt to outwit the pig. Then, along comes spic-&-span, husband-stealing Harriet (Albritten) to walk off with hubby Bob, leaving poor Betty wondering why she's corralling a pig instead of a city bus. It's a delightful film that really holds up despite the passing decades. Mac Murray and Colbert are near perfect in their comedy roles. Note how Bob never becomes dislikable despite his often airy unconcern, or how Betty never becomes maudlin despite the frequent frustrations.

    Then there are the colorful hayseeds—Ma Kettle (Main) who apparently took housekeeping lessons from Atilla the Hun and needs name tags around that wild pack of kids. And, of course, there's Pa Kettle, the slyest guy around, that is, when he's not begetting little Kettles. But what I really like is the barn dance. That corny band sort of chugs along while the dancers make up their own steps. But pity poor Betty, caught up with a collection of Arthur Murray dropouts who appear to confuse dancing with a mix-master.

    There were a number of these "back to the sticks" comedies during the period, including Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948) and George Washington Slept Here (1942). The laughs are built into the premise of inept city folk trying to master country ways, but none are funnier or more delightful than this one.
  • comment
    • Author: Musical Aura Island
    This movie won't change your life and it isn't the most memorable film I have ever seen. However, it is a lot of fun and a welcome change of pace. It's also a pretty good movie for the entire family.

    Fred MacMurray is married to Claudette Colbert (this pairing is a bit hard to believe, but I can live with that). Out of the blue, Fred announces that he's bored with his executive life and has sold everything to buy a chicken farm in the middle of nowhere. But, he and Claudette know nothing about farming and the "dream farm" turns out to be a real dump. Despite all this, Claudette is a real trooper and goes along with it instead of killing Fred in his sleep (which is what my wife kept suggesting as the film began). Along the way, they meet a lot of odd but nice characters, such as Ma and Pa Kettle (later, of the MA AND PA KETTLE series). They also meet a divorced woman who seems to have her sights set on Fred, though he refuses to believe this.

    There's a lot more to the film than the last paragraph would indicate, but I don't want to spoil the film. As for the film overall, it evokes a nice light mood and is pretty funny, but also shies away from broad humor--striking a nice balance. The acting and writing are very good as well. In particular, I loved how the film began and ended with Claudette turning to the camera and talking with the audience--this was a cute touch.

    Interestingly enough, when you think about it, this movie must have been the basis for the later TV series GREEN ACRES. There are way too many parallels to have this be due to chance. Apart from the city people moving to the country to farm, the home is a dump, the neighbors are VERY quirky and there's even a traveling salesman much like Mr. Haney!
  • comment
    • Author: Dancing Lion
    This movie is interesting because it's a Hollywood transmutation of a really funny book. Betty MacDonald's "The Egg and I" is much more enjoyable than this film. She was a wonderful, colorful writer whose early death was a true loss to literature.

    This film portrays Betty as a rich-girl-in-the-sticks. She runs home to her wealthy parents, designer clothes and servants to lament her lot in life. What a hoot. The real Betty lovingly wrote of her widowed mother's numerous strategies to offset bill collectors while offering sanctuary to assorted animals and stray humans. It's too bad Hollywood didn't tell the much more interesting story of the real Bard/MacDonald clan. "Anybody Can Do Anything" is the portion of their tale that takes place in the University section of Seattle. For insight into the real life of the mistress of this egg farm, I recommend reading that book.

    This cinematic offering is an insipid comedy whose only value is the Kettles- a couple more authentic to the original than their citified neighbors up the road. But while we're on the subject, if your children haven't discovered Betty MacDonald's Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series, reading those treasures to them will give you the most fun of all.
  • comment
    • Author: Quellik
    As others have said, Claudette Colbert is great, the "Kettles" are great, Fred MacMuray is Fred MacMurray, there are some laughs, BUT....

    My son and I were ready to take the MacMurray character out back and have a "talk" with him. (SPOILER WARNING: in three, two, one....)

    So, for starters, he quits his job, and doesn't tell his wife until the next day. Then he announces he's decided they'll move and do something totally different in which they have no experience. She goes along with it with a great attitude; good for her, what a terrifically good sport (to put the nicest face on it).

    But it gets WAY worse.

    So this guy keeps associating with this clearly adultery-minded woman, over his wife's objections, blithely and arrogantly. Then he spends all hours at her house. Meanwhile, his wife faints at the fair and learns she's pregnant. She goes home, makes a wonderful dinner, and waits for him until after 11pm, if I read the clock right. She gets a note saying he's not coming home (no "love," no apology, nothing).

    She leaves him. (The precipitiveness of this can be argued, but....)

    So for NINE MONTHS, all he does is send her some letters, and otherwise nothing. What, the roads don't run in two directions in their state? No one tells him his wife fainted at the fair? He doesn't notice the burnt dinner and nice setup she made for him?

    In the meanwhile, she goes through her entire pregnancy and has the baby, and he doesn't bother to come by.

    And then, against all reason, and still (in her mind) suspecting he'd behaved immorally with this hussy, she goes back to him, telling the baby what a swell guy he is.

    And rather than grovel in apologies, he gets mad at her and clearly feels very self-righteous about it.

    That's only one thing about this, but it was SO unsettling that, in spite of the other genuine charms and laughs, it left a bad taste in our mouths.
  • comment
    • Author: Beazerdred
    "The Egg and I" features the first appearance of America'favorite country couple, Ma and Pa Kettle. Unfortunately, it does not star them, but puts them in the supporting cast. The film does center around Betty and Bob MacDonald (Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray), a couple that decides to move from the city out to a chicken farm in the country. The rest of the film follows their trials and tribulations as they try and adapt to their new surroundings. It also focuses on their marital problems, but not so much as to take away from the comedic factor of the film.

    The reason that this doesn't appeal to me the way the Ma and Pa Kettle films did is probably because Ma and Pa aren't the main players. Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride's wonderful chemistry were what made their films enjoyable, but "The Egg and I" doesn't pair them up enough to do the same. Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray are good enough as Betty and Bob, but they don't have the same charisma and comedic timing that Main and Kilbride do.

    The best part about "The Egg and I" is the fact that it did spawn off the "Ma and Pa Kettle" movies, which made Main and Kilbride famous. In fact, Main even garnered an Oscar nomination for her supporting role in this film. Her feistiness steals the show, and ever scene she's in is all the more hilarious. She really was a great comedic actress who deserved more praise than she got.

    I'd definitely recommend this to any Ma and Pa Kettle fans, just for the few scenes they appear in. The story itself never has much of a real storyline, but is mostly a bunch of sitcomish events strewn together. The film and cast makes this work, to an extent, but some parts are a bit too dull. This is still a must-see for fans of down home country comedy, and innocent fun.
  • comment
    • Author: Kazimi
    Fred MacMurray and Claudet Colbert are newlyweds. They grew up in the big city, so when MacMurray tells his new bride he has bought a farm and plans to raise chickens, it is quite a surprise. What is a bigger surprise is the farm is a run down mess. They have all the mishaps expected of people who have no knowledge of a serious situation. Just when things are getting really serious, in walk the Kettles. This was their initial screen appearance. I was a big fan of these guys when I was about ten, but later it was a bit much for me. Anyway, Ma, hardly a model for Good Housekeeping, and her lethargic husband, come to the rescue. They have fifteen children, so while a bit eccentric, they see things for what they are. Of course, "Green Acres" is a ripoff of this movie. Anyway, the local characters move in and it's craziness. The star quality makes this work. Margery Maine, as Ma, is delightful and embraces her character totally.
  • comment
    • Author: Flathan
    This film is included on the Colbert Collection, therefore I watched it. It was delightful - or more accurately I thought Colbert delightful and MacMurray even more so - until the 'facts' of their marriage shook me out of my happy viewing reverie.

    Colbert and MacMurray are newlyweds. Without telling or asking Colbert beforehand, Bob has bought a chicken farm and intends to spend the rest of his life in the hills raising chickens. Bob deserves a stern talking to on proper husbandly behavior. But his bride is a good sport and pitches in, dealing with the multiple large and small crises. So far, this follows movie formula 34. Then ... in the last reel, he buys a better chicken farm, again without asking or telling Colbert beforehand. This last reel is, believe me, unbelievable. Our much-in-love couple has a tiff, she leaves him, and returns 7 or 8 months later with a surprise in tow. He says, "Oh, Betty." She says, "Oh, Bob" and they fall into each others arms for the happy-ever-after fade out. Is this factual? What does Betty's book say?

    And poo on Pa Kettle. I took an immediate dislike to him when he dropped by to welcome his new neighbors and "borrowed" 6 2x4s, nails, and a can of green paint. So do Betty and Bob set boundaries for Pa? No sirree. Bob has Pa build a water tank on stilts which then ... well, see for yourself what happens. I liked Ma though. Who can resist Marjorie Main? And I liked the silky siren down the road who has a hankering for Bob.

    In spite of a story that will have the feminist dragons spouting fire, this is a fun 90 minutes. The 2 stars are wonderful to watch and there are lots of laughs.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Claudette Colbert Claudette Colbert - Betty MacDonald
    Fred MacMurray Fred MacMurray - Bob MacDonald
    Marjorie Main Marjorie Main - Phoebe 'Ma' Kettle
    Louise Allbritton Louise Allbritton - Harriet Putnam
    Percy Kilbride Percy Kilbride - Frank 'Pa' Kettle
    Richard Long Richard Long - Tom Kettle
    Billy House Billy House - Billy Reed
    Ida Moore Ida Moore - Old Lady
    Donald MacBride Donald MacBride - Mr. Henty
    Samuel S. Hinds Samuel S. Hinds - Sheriff
    Esther Dale Esther Dale - Birdie Hicks
    Elisabeth Risdon Elisabeth Risdon - Betty's Mother
    John Berkes John Berkes - Geoduck
    Victor Potel Victor Potel - Crowbar (as Vic Potel)
    Fuzzy Knight Fuzzy Knight - Cab Driver
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