The Egg and I is the first in the Ma & Pa Kettle movie series, or rather, it was seeing the Kettles in this movie that began the highly successful Ma & Pa Kettle movie series. This theatrical film starred Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert as a city couple who buy a farm. Think Green Acres, and you have a fairly good idea of the basic plot, except Colbert is much more willing to be a farm wife than Eva Gabor was in the TV series. In fact, I read that the movie was the inspiration for the hit TV series.
MacMurray and Colbert made a great on screen couple and appeared in many motion pictures together. I love all of them. This one was fun because it put them in this odd setting and depicted how they came to terms with life on the farm.
There are several colorful neighbors for the couple to deal with, including the Kettles. Marjorie Main played Ma with Percy Kilbride as Pa. They have 15 kids who range in age from a little baby to the oldest, high school graduate Tom who wants to go college. Playing Tom is Richard Long, who is probably best known as Jarrod Barkley on The Big Valley. To be honest, you end up wondering how Tom grew up as he did when you watch his parents. He looks more like The Big Valley lawyer he later played than the product of a small town farming couple.
Overall, I do like the movie, but the crucial last part is something I have never been pleased about. It concerns the couple’s separation and the birth of their child. I suppose it is good humor, and certainly the movie plot flows nicely, but I just do not agree with Colbert’s character essentially taking off and having a baby without even telling her husband.
Colbert is very believable as the city gal who has to learn how to feed the pigs and gather the eggs, while MacMurray fits in perfectly as the well intentioned man living his dream. If you have not seen The Egg and I yet, take time to watch it when you can.