» » Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm (1951)

Short summary

Tom Kettle and his wife, Kim, and their baby, are happily living with his parents in their new home, until Kim's uppity parents from Boston come for a visit. They proceed to take over the rearing of the baby and the whole Kettle household , and Ma and Pa Kettle decide to move back to their ramshackle farm house. There, they discover uranium on their property, or think they did.

Fourth of eight films in which Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride portrayed Ma and Pa Kettle.

Even though J.P. Sloane received no on screen credit for his role as "Billy Kettle" in this film, he is probably the one most remembered portraying that part in the series. Notwithstanding the "Official Kettle Family Portrait" Director Ed Sedgwick insisted that the young Sloane be the only child used exclusively for publicity pictures promoting this film.

This marked the final appearance of Richard Long as the eldest, and college educated, son Tom. In later films the character would be referred to in dialog but not seen.

The film takes place in July 1950.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Sha
    Before Kim Parker met Tom Kettle, she had written about the importance of hygiene in raising a child. In Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm we see where she got that idea!

    The first Kettle grandchild is born, so Kim's parents travel to see their grandchild. After worrying about making a good impression upon meeting Kim's parents, Ma finds herself a new nemesis. Kim's mother is a nut who takes over the Kettles' house with her views on hygiene. She hires a nurse for the baby and makes everyone, including Ma, where a mask around the baby. It is abundantly clear that Ma knows how to take care of children. That absurdity makes the situation all the more funny.

    Kim's father befriends the Kettles and helps them when uranium is "discovered" on their old farm. With the newfound wealth is newfound trouble good for a few laughs.

    Familiar faces and settings returned once again in Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm . Rather than recycle all the old jokes, only a couple made it into the movie. The modern house is only used for one gag, and the radio in the old house is used again. Pa still casually uses dynamite with all the danger it brings. There was enough continuity to respect the prior films while creating a new adventure and introducing more characters.

    With each movie in the series the sophistication of Ma Kettle becomes more and more apparent. Not only was she a vehicle for comedy, but for real human emotion. The balance was clearly a collaboration of everyone involved. Marjorie Main was given great scenes to work with. Despite being known for comedy, the Ma and Pa Kettle series had a subtle serious side as well.
  • comment
    • Author: Carrot
    The film version of the best selling novel The Egg and I with Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert introduced America to the Kettle family. Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride and their brood of 15. They were the rural answer to Clifton Webb and Gene Tierney's Cheaper by the Dozen. Who says country folk can't do it better.

    In this film we have the arrival of the Kettles first grandchild who Percy mistakes as another blessed event of his own creation. A natural mistake given his track record. The baby however is Meg Randall's who married their oldest son Richard Long in a previous film. The Kettles also have to contend with Meg's parents, Ray Collins and Barbara Brown. Ms. Brown is one snooty old dowager, but I think you can gather that if anyone could adjust her attitude, Marjorie Main could.

    Due to a pair of radioactive overalls, the Kettles also think they've got uranium on the old homestead. So do a pair of crooks who try to steal the place from them.

    The Kettles were a really popular item in what would now be called red state America back in the day. The pictures made money consistently for Universal and if Percy Kilbride hadn't decided to retire, I'm sure more would have been made. There was one more made with Arthur Hunnicutt as an in-law, but it wasn't the same without Mr. Kilbride. Marjorie Main retired not long after that last film also.

    If you are any kind of fan of those CBS rural shows of the sixties like Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres, the Kettles are your cup of tea.
  • comment
    • Author: Gio
    Ma and Pa Kettle's oldest son, Tom, is a new father. However, when the in-laws arrive for a visit, it soon becomes apparent that Tom's mother-in-law is an obnoxious battle-axe. Not only does she have different attitudes about how to raise a child, but she has absolute contempt for anyone's ideas. She immediately takes over Ma & Pa's home and treats everyone like dirt--and her daughter seems perfectly content with this. There's only so much Ma & Pa can take, but instead of punching the woman's head in (a good diplomatic solution considering how pushy she is), they oddly decide to move their brood back to their dilapidated farm and let the in-laws stay in the ultra-modern home they won in the second Ma & Pa Kettle film.

    Once on the farm, a couple prospectors locate uranium on the land. But, instead of telling Pa about this, they tell him they want to buy the land to build a hunting lodge. However in a very bizarre accident, Pa discovers uranium on the land. While 100% impossible, these scenes where Pa becomes 'electrified' are pretty cute...and a bit silly.

    A bit later, Tom's suddenly insane wife has decided to listen to her battle-axe mother. Now she's announced that she's moving with the child to her parents' home in Boston--and leaving Tom behind! Considering that her character was nothing like this in previous films (where she was sweet and very rational), this is a major problem with this film.

    Soon after the mother announces she's absconding with the baby, the two prospectors return and announce that they have bought the farm out from under the Kettles! However, the last laugh turns out to be on these supposedly sharp prospectors. Mostly this is due to the nice father-in-law--a sharp contrast to his horrible wife.

    Next comes a race to the train to stop the dopey mother and evil mother-in-law. And b y the end of the film, Tom and his dopey wife have patched things up, the truth about the radioactivity on the Kettle farm has been determined and practically everyone is happy--especially the father-in-law who has FINALLY decided to stand up to the old battle-axe.

    While this is not a deep or complicated film, it is fun and if you've enjoyed the other Ma & Pa Kettle films, you certainly won't be disappointed with it. So ignore the silly or shallow parts of the plot and the poorly filmed car scene towards the end and enjoy.
  • comment
    • Author: Arthunter
    One of the director's final films - Edward Sedgwick died two years after making this third chapter of Ma & Pa Kettle. In this one, after Kim, the daughter-in-law has a new baby, her snobby parents come to visit the Kettles in the fancy house that they had won in the first film. This also marks the first and last time I ever saw Marjorie Mains with her long hair down. Pa does a fun mathematics gag on the chalkboard, and on it goes. Ray Collins is Jonathan Parker - viewers will recognize Collins from the Perry Mason show, and the bazillion films he did in the 1940s. Also keep an eye out for a brief appearance by Harry Von Zell; in addition to all the voice-over work, he did numerous episodes on the "Burns and Allen" show. Swindlers try to buy the Kettles' old farmland when it turns out there's something valuable in it... (sound familiar...?) They do a good job of continuing the Kettle story, in spite of the fact that it has different writers. Fun way to spend about an hour and a half. A little more sadness and fighting in this one than the others, but still entertaining.
  • comment
    • Author: Gaua
    MA AND PA KETTLE BACK ON THE FARM was the fourth film in the series and it's one of the best, with a number of laugh-out-loud lines and hilarious knockabout humor. The Kettles become grandparents as the film opens - endearing idiot Pa learning Ma is at the hospital and that "Mrs. Kettle" is expecting believes Ma is the one with child! The blessed event brings daughter-in-law Kim's parents to town and Ma immediately clashes with the haughty Mrs. Parker who proceeds to boss the whole Kettle household around, lays down the rules for interaction with the baby, and even decides to name the child over Tom and Kim's decision!! When the bickering gets too intense and threatens Tom and Kim's marriage, Ma decides to Pa and her and the kids will move back to the family's dilapidated rural house for a spell while the Parkers stay in the KETTLES fancy city home. Back home, Pa and local huckster Billy discover uranium on the homestead - and so do a couple of petty crooks from the big city.

    This entry has some of the funniest lines in the series and Pa's "14 goes into 25" skit is an unheralded gem that is funnier than Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" classic sketch. Mrs. Parker is a rather over the top caricature of a snooty city woman although Barbara Brown gives a good performance in the role. Her tirade against the Kettles Indian friends though is rather offensive even for the era though.though I loved Crowbar's retort when Pa informs him aristocratic Mrs. Parker's "ancestors came over on the Mayflower." "Hmmmph," says Crowbar, "that nothing. Mine there to greet them!"
  • comment
    • Author: ℓo√ﻉ
    "Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm" has lucky hillbillies Marjorie Main (she's Ma) and Percy Kilbride (he's Pa) digging for uranium on the old homestead, which doesn't turn out to be as rich in laughter as were their previous two films. Funnier is the fact that eldest son Richard Long (as Tom) and pretty wife Meg Randall (as Kim) deliver the first Kettle grandbaby. Seeing the Kettles in their first delivery room, after fifteen births, is a highlight. Too bad this was the last appearance of Mr. Long and family. Also amusing are clashes with more uppity in-laws Barbara Brown and Ray Collins (as Elizabeth and Jonathan Parker). And, erstwhile Emory Parnell (as Billy Reed) does well in his semi-regular role.

    ****** Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm (5/10/51) Edward Sedgwick ~ Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride, Richard Long, Emory Parnell
  • comment
    • Author: Majin
    The Kettles(Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride)become grandparents when Tom(Richard Long)and Kim(Meg Randall)present them with an 8 pound baby girl. The Kettles are still living in their modern prefab home and company is a comin'. Kim's parents(Ray Collins and Barbara Brown)with their blue-blooded attitudes of rearing children force Ma and Pa back to their rundown shack of a home. In the meantime, Pa using dynamite to dig a new well thinks he has discovered uranium...something that Kim's father knows a lot about. The Kettles are almost swindled out their long-time homestead, but Pa's war-surplus overalls saves the day. Also in the cast: Emory Parnell, Oliver Blake and Teddy Hart.
  • comment
    • Author: Kare
    That Pa Kettle. Thinking that Ma is having another, Ma tells other perspective fathers that it's just like shelling peas. But it's really Kim, son Tom's wife, and this introduces the family to Kim's snobbish parents, Ray Collins and Barbara Brown. The Fay Bainter look-like Brown (and sound-alike) is one of the most meddlesome mothers in screen history and it is hard to feel any sympathy for her as everybody gangs up on her. In the meantime, Pa discovers radium on his property and becomes radio active to humorous results. Yes, Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride are back for another go-around as the hicks from the sticks who somehow managed to move into the lap of luxury yet never gave up the farm.

    This is one of the films where math is exploited for a gag, trying to convince us that 14 times 5 is 25, using addition and division to prove it. The gags may rank high, but it is dwindled by a poorly executed plot. The Native American pals of pa are treated with more contempt although there's a very funny response to the revelation that Brown's family came over on the Mayflower. A very funny car and train race sequence at the end seems like something out of the Keystone Cops. It tries to soften the blow of Brown's earlier behavior, but the sight of Main and Brown on a push cart, or whatever those contraptions are called, is worth all that earlier obnoxiousness.
  • comment
    • Author: JOIN
    Copyright 28 February 1951 by Universal Pictures Co., Inc. A Universal-International picture. New York opening at the Capitol: 10 May 1951. U.S. release: April 1951. U.K. release through General Film Distributors on the lower half of a double bill: 8 January 1951 (sic). Australian release: 6 April 1951. 7,249 feet. 80½ minutes.

    SYNOPSIS: A domestic comedy. The arrival of the Kettles' first grandson impels the family to return to the farm.

    NOTES: Counting The Egg and I as number one, this is number four of the ten-picture "Ma and Pa Kettle" series.

    COMMENT: No films better illustrate the vast difference in picture-going preferences between Britons on the one hand and Americans/Australians on the other than Ma and Pa Kettle. Whilst the British absolutely loathed the series, Australians followed the North Americans in welcoming Ma and Pa into their lives.

    All eight of the entries in which Percy Kilbride played Pa were huge box-office successes in Australia. Mind you, they were certainly despised in carriage-trade enclaves, but in middle and working-class districts throughout the country, Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride became household heroes.

    Despite their overwhelming popularity in Oz, Ma and Pa were never admired by the critics. The series in fact plumbed some awful depths, but this entry is probably the nadir. Poor old Pa is made out to be not only shiftless but more moronic than usual — his homespun aphorisms are entirely missing from this piece. He is merely the butt of some wheezy old routines stolen from Universal's Abbott and Costello pictures.

    Marjorie Main also labors mightily to get a few chuckles from some very thin material. It's sad to see a fine actor like Ray Collins reduced to giving out instant information dialogue. The direction is strictly routine, the situations play up to the prejudices of the film's potential lower-class customers. Even the final slapstick car chase with its inevitable cross-cutting between speeded-up stand-ins on location and the main players comfortably ensconced in an obvious studio mock-up, is handled with little verve and no style.

    Percy Kilbride and Emory Parnell do what they can to give the proceedings a bit of zest. That the film is not entirely a write-off is due mainly to their efforts. The rest of the players don't deserve mention. Even the credits are below par — the music score dismally fails to give the film a lift or a bounce, the photography is no more than serviceable and sometimes less, and the sets of course were still standing from previous Kettle pictures.
  • comment
    • Author: Hystana
    This third film in the Ma and Pa Kettle franchise ushers in a grandchild but the clever writing in the early going has Pa (Percy Kilbride) in a quandary over what he thinks is Ma's (Marjorie Main) number sixteen. Full of double takes and comical dialog, everyone at Pinewood Hospital shares in Pa's misunderstanding until Ma clears up the confusion. You know, I think Ma could have handled number sixteen.

    For the new parents, things take a down hill turn when Kim Parker Kettle's (Meg Randall) parents arrive and the expected infighting occurs when Grandma Elizabeth Parker (Barbara Brown) takes charge of making decisions for the newborn. Things get so bad that Pa packs up the family and heads back to the old homestead so things can settle down a bit. Fortunately Pa's rocking chair still serves admirably as a radio tuner, and Ma's got this lemonade squeezer you'll just have to check out for yourself.

    There's a side story here involving a potential uranium mine on the Kettle Farm, coming to light when Pa himself turns into a human dynamo. I had to chuckle when the Kettle's do a little Abbott and Costello math to prove that five goes into twenty, fourteen times. They show it can be done three different ways so it's hard to argue the point. At least on the subject of anatomy, Ma could tell the difference between a baby boy and baby girl by checking the plumbing. Obviously this didn't occur to Billy Reed (Emory Parnell) or Pa's Indian buddies (Oliver Blake and Teddy Hart) when they tried to do a good deed by kidnapping Little White Chief out of the hospital.

    Well in her own inimitable style, Ma Kettle unites the family for a happy ending with a helping hand from Grandpa Jonathan Parker (Ray Collins). You can only battle the Kettle's for so long before good old family values get in the way. Anyone know what happened to Nurse Quimby?
  • comment
    • Author: Winn
    I had never actually seen any of the "Ma and Pa Kettle" movies, but I did read "The Egg And I" way back in high school, so I was unprepared for the basically pleasant and humane tone of the movie (based on the book, I was expecting something closer to "God's Little Acre"). The Kettles as described in the book were pretty irritating and shiftless characters...but the filmmakers wisely de-emphasized the shiftless and trashiness of the originals in favor of something more like "The Beverly Hillbillies".

    I was impressed with the two leads and the way they handled themselves in front of the camera, especially Percy Kildredge. He underplayed and understated Pa's essentially lazy nature and made him more more sympathetic and funny than I had expected. Ray Collins also gave the scenes he appeared in a nice shot of energy and optimism.

    As for the actual plot...well, it marks time. You can't really change the basic setup for a series like this (hence the Kettles move back to the farm they moved out of previously) so this time around it's a tempest in a teapot concerning the mother-in-law's snooty ideas about child raising versus the salt-of-the-earth common wisdom of the hill folk, plus a plot MacGuffin about uranium and radioactive overalls to fill in some extra time.There are some pretty decent - if unsurprising -sight gags (various doors and gates and coops etc collapsing of age and neglect while Pa remarks "I'll get around to fixing that")and a reasonably funny pair of sequences at the end involving chasing and fleeing from a train.

    This is product and filler, pure and simple, but not a bad way to spend some time if all you want is cinematic pablum.
  • Complete credited cast:
    Marjorie Main Marjorie Main - Ma Kettle
    Percy Kilbride Percy Kilbride - Pa Kettle
    Richard Long Richard Long - Tom Kettle
    Meg Randall Meg Randall - Kim Parker Kettle
    Ray Collins Ray Collins - Jonathan Parker
    Barbara Brown Barbara Brown - Elizabeth Parker
    Emory Parnell Emory Parnell - Billy Reed
    Peter Leeds Peter Leeds - Manson
    Teddy Hart Teddy Hart - Crowbar
    Oliver Blake Oliver Blake - Geoduck
    Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
    Lucille Barkley Lucille Barkley - (unconfirmed)
    Dee Carroll Dee Carroll - (unconfirmed)
    Verna Kornman Verna Kornman - (unconfirmed)
    Anne P. Kramer Anne P. Kramer - (unconfirmed)
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