The Egg and I

Overview

Based on the humorous autobiographical book by Betty McDonald, The Egg & I casts Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray as Manhattan-dwelling newlyweds. When MacMurray enthusiastically purchases an upstate farm in the hopes of cleaning up in the egg business, Colbert cautiously goes along. The film's humor is derived from the efforts of these two hopelessly citified slickers to adapt themselves to the rigors of rural life. In a plot complication added to the film, pretty neighbor Louise Allbritton upsets the ...
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DVD (Subtitled / Pan & Scan)
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Overview

Based on the humorous autobiographical book by Betty McDonald, The Egg & I casts Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray as Manhattan-dwelling newlyweds. When MacMurray enthusiastically purchases an upstate farm in the hopes of cleaning up in the egg business, Colbert cautiously goes along. The film's humor is derived from the efforts of these two hopelessly citified slickers to adapt themselves to the rigors of rural life. In a plot complication added to the film, pretty neighbor Louise Allbritton upsets the equilibrium of MacMurray and Colbert's union, but both husband and wife are happily reunited at the finale in real life, Betty McDonald and her husband were splitsville before the book even hit the stands. Retained from the novel, though heavily laundered, were the earthy characters of farmers Ma and Pa Kettle and their huge brood of children. Marjorie Main as Ma and Percy Kilbride as Pa struck so responsive a chord with filmgoers that Universal headlined them in their own "Kettle" series of B pictures, which endured until 1956. The Egg & I would be adapted into a live TV comedy serial in 1952, with Pat Kirkland and John Craven in the leading roles.
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Special Features

Claudette Colbert: Queen of the Silver Screen; 100 Years of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era; 100 Years of Universal: The Lew Wasserman Era; Theatrical Trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Though it's largely overlooked today, The Egg and I helped spawn two separate pop-culture phenomena a decade and a half apart. Its most obvious direction offshoot manifestation is the Ma and Pa Kettle movies, which were built around two characters (played by Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride) from the movie and the original book by Betty MacDonald. It was also the distant precursor to the 1960s television series Green Acres, if not its direct inspiration. The whole notion of transplanting otherwise level-headed city-dweller Fred MacMurray and his genteel, sophisticated (and quietly skeptical) wife Claudette Colbert to a broken-down farm is close enough, but the entire scene in which the pair examine their newly acquired home -- all she sees is a wreck, while he enthuses, goofily smiling and eagerly anticipating the country life ahead of them -- are practically the storyboard for the first half of the first season of Green Acres. Indeed, most of the cast of supporting characters from that series are here in embryonic form, along with the essentials of the marriage: the serious husband with that one nutsy flaw -- he wants to be a farmer -- and the overly dignified, ladylike wife, both learning to cope with rustic neighbors. MacMurray is especially fascinating to watch here, playing a role that's a complete reversal of the part he played in Murder, He Says (1945), a rural comedy in which he is the big-city fellow who is totally flabbergasted at the habits of the country folks he encounters. Here, he's the calm, dopily enthusiastic visitor and Colbert is the one who is bewildered by all she finds around her. She also shows a knack for style that anticipates Lucille Ball's comedic art, and the setup of the would-be macho husband and the sophisticated, sharp-tongued, slightly goofy wife prefigures any number of I Love Lucy episodes, as well as her role in Vincente Minnelli's 1954 feature The Long, Long Trailer.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/6/2012
  • UPC: 025192118517
  • Original Release: 1947
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Subtitled / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:48:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 4,555

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Claudette Colbert Betty MacDonald
Fred MacMurray Bob MacDonald
Marjorie Main Ma Kettle
Percy Kilbride Pa Kettle
Louise Allbritton Harriet Putnam
Richard Long Tom Kettle
Billy House Billy Reed
Ida Moore Old Lady
Donald MacBride Mr. Henty
Samuel S. Hinds Sheriff
Esther Dale Birdie Hicks
Elizabeth Risdon Betty's Mother
John Berkes Geoduck
Victor Potel Crowbar
Isabel O'Madigan Mrs. Hick's Mother
Dorothy Vaughan Maid
William Norton Bailey
Jack Baxley Judge
Vangie Beilby
Earl Bennett
Joe Bernard Pettingrew
Robert Cherry Goon
Diane Florentine Kettle Child
Jesse Graves Porter
Herbert Heywood Mailman
Joe Hiser
Taylor Holmes
Teddy Infuhr Kettle Child
Fuzzy Knight Cab Driver
Nolan Leary Announcer
Ralph Littlefield Photographer
George Lloyd Farm Hand
Louis Mason Bergheimer
Sam McDaniel Waiter
George McDonald
Howard Mitchell Announcer
Gloria Moore
Bob Perry
Gene Persson
Joe Ploski Goon
Joe Recht Goon
Beatrice Roberts Nurse
Hector V. Sarno Burlaga
Robert Winans
Technical Credits
Chester Erskine Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Fred F. Finklehoffe Co-producer, Producer, Screenwriter
Leonard Goldstein Associate Producer
Bernard Herzbrun Production Designer
Milton Krasner Cinematographer
Russell Schoengarth Editor
Frank Shaw Asst. Director
Frank Skinner Score Composer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Egg and I
1. Breaking New Roads (Main Titles) [6:28]
2. Get Ready Betty [5:25]
3. Good Clean Air [5:22]
4. Being Neighborly [7:36]
5. Bright Young Man [5:01]
6. Talking With Ma [5:21]
7. Lunch with Miss Putnam [7:15]
8. The Outdoorsman [5:45]
9. Dinner for Two [8:40]
10. A Man's Job [4:34]
11. Quaint Meeting [7:17]
12. Barnyard Glamour [4:07]
13. Fire! [4:01]
14. Never Quit [4:53]
15. The Best Men Are Taken [7:13]
16. Tonight's the Night [6:19]
17. "I'm Through!" [4:25]
18. Back to Bob (End Titles) [7:56]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Egg and I
   Play
   Scenes
   Bonus
      Claudette Colbert: Queen of the Silver Screen
      Theatrical Trailer
      100 Years of Universal: The Carl Laemmle Era
      100 Years of Universal: The Lew Wasserman Era
   Setup
      Subtitles
         English SDH*
         Español
         Français
         Subtitles: Off
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2003

    The Movie That Gave Birth to the Kettles

    Ma and Pa Kettle were hilarious, but the film that gave birth to those characters was not only funny, but charming, nostalgic and surprisingly true to life. What's a young bride's reaction to a drastic change of lifestyle and culture...an attractive piranha of a neighbor? The answer is the same whatever decade you are in. Check out the brilliant character portrayal of the little old lady riding the train with her husband. Her role is resurrected in the Kettle sequels.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews