The Egg and I (1947) Poster

The Egg and I (1947)

  • Rate: 7.0/10 total 1,247 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Romance
  • Release Date: May 1947 (USA)
  • Runtime: 108 min
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Egg and I movie trailer featuring Betty MacDonald, 1947 

The Egg and I (1947)


The Egg and I 1947tt0039349.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: The Egg and I (1947)
  • Rate: 7.0/10 total 1,247 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Romance
  • Release Date: May 1947 (USA)
  • Runtime: 108 min
  • Filming Location: Santa Clarita, California, USA
  • Director: Chester Erskine
  • Stars: Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray and Marjorie Main|See full cast and crew
  • Original Music By: Frank Skinner   
  • Soundtrack: Let Me Call You Sweetheart
  • Sound Mix: Mono (Western Electric Recording)
  • Plot Keyword: Farm | Chicken | Chicken Farm | Neighbor | Children

Writing Credits By:

  • Betty MacDonald (novel)
  • Chester Erskine (written for the screen by) and
  • Fred F. Finklehoffe (written for the screen by)

Known Trivia

  • This comedy was such a hit with audiences, it spawned the Ma and Pa Kettle film series.
  • On May 5, 1947 Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray starred in radio version of this film that was broadcast on the Lux Radio Theatre.
  • It was the basis for “Green Acres”.
  • First of eight films in which Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride portrayed Ma and Pa Kettle.
  • Sixth of seven movies that paired Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray.
  • “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.
  • The incredibly sloppy pig is named Cleopatra, an obvious reference to Claudette Colbert’s most famous, if not most glamorous, movie role.

Plot: On their wedding night Bob informs his new bride Betty that he has bought a chicken farm. An abandoned chicken farm… See more » |  »

Story: 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.Written by Ron Kerrigan <>  

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Chester Erskine known as producer
  • Fred F. Finklehoffe known as producer
  • Leonard Goldstein known as associate producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Claudette Colbert known as Betty MacDonald
  • Fred MacMurray known as Bob MacDonald
  • Marjorie Main known as Phoebe 'Ma' Kettle
  • Louise Allbritton known as Harriet Putnam
  • Percy Kilbride known as Frank 'Pa' Kettle
  • Richard Long known as Tom Kettle
  • Billy House known as Billy Reed
  • Ida Moore known as Old Lady
  • Donald MacBride known as Mr. Henty
  • Samuel S. Hinds known as Sheriff
  • Esther Dale known as Birdie Hicks
  • Elisabeth Risdon known as Betty's Mother
  • John Berkes known as Geoduck
  • Victor Potel known as Crowbar (as Vic Potel)
  • Fuzzy Knight known as Cab Driver
  • Isabel O'Madigan known as Mrs. Hicks' Mother
  • Dorothy Vaughan known as Maid
  • Colleen Alpaugh known as Kettle Child (uncredited)
  • Polly Bailey known as Reveler at Country Dance (uncredited)
  • William Bailey known as Doctor at Country Dance (uncredited)
  • Jack Baxley known as Judge (uncredited)
  • Vangie Beilby known as Reveler at Country Dance (uncredited)
  • Hank Bell known as Mustached Reveler at Country Dance (uncredited)
  • Carl Bennett known as Attendant (uncredited)
  • Earl Bennett known as Reveler at Country Dance (uncredited)
  • Joseph E. Bernard known as Asa Pettingrew (uncredited)
  • Robert Beyers known as Kettle Child (uncredited)
  • Judith Bryant known as Kettle Child (uncredited)
  • Robert Cherry known as Goon (uncredited)
  • William Desmond known as Spectator at County Fair (uncredited)
  • Banjo the Dog known as Sport (uncredited)
  • Diane Florentine known as Kettle Child (uncredited)
  • Diane Graeff known as Kettle Child (uncredited)
  • Jesse Graves known as Porter (uncredited)
  • Herbert Heywood known as Mailman (uncredited)
  • Joe Hiser known as Goon (uncredited)
  • Teddy Infuhr known as Albert Kettle (uncredited)
  • Ann Kunde known as Reveler at Country Dance (uncredited)
  • Nolan Leary known as Announcer (uncredited)
  • Ralph Littlefield known as Photographer (uncredited)
  • George Lloyd known as Farmhand (uncredited)
  • Kathleen Mackey known as Kettle Child (uncredited)
  • Louis Mason known as Bergheimer (uncredited)
  • Sam McDaniel known as Waiter on Train (uncredited)
  • George McDonald known as Kettle Child (uncredited)
  • Howard M. Mitchell known as Announcer (uncredited)
  • Gloria Moore known as Kettle Child (uncredited)
  • Frank O'Connor known as Reveler at Country Dance (uncredited)
  • Bob Perry known as Reveler at Country Dance (uncredited)
  • Eugene Persson known as Kettle Child (uncredited)
  • Joe Ploski known as Goon (uncredited)
  • Joe Recht known as Goon (uncredited)
  • Beatrice Roberts known as Nurse (uncredited)
  • Hector Sarno known as Burlaga (uncredited)
  • Sammy Schultz known as Goon (uncredited)
  • Nella Spraugh known as Reveler at Country Dance (uncredited)
  • Dorothy Vernon known as Reveler at Country Dance (uncredited)
  • Glen Walters known as Townswoman (uncredited)
  • Robert Winans known as Kettle Child (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:

  • Carmen Dirigo known as hair stylist
  • Jack P. Pierce known as makeup artist




Production Companies:

  • Universal International Pictures (UI)


  • Universal Pictures (1947) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Nova Film (1947) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Universal (1948) (France) (theatrical) (as Universal Films S.A.)
  • Motion Picture Export Association (MPEA) (1948) (Austria) (theatrical)
  • Motion Picture Export Association (MPEA) (1948) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • Universal Pictures (1954) (USA) (theatrical) (re-release)
  • Kartes Video (1987) (USA) (VHS)
  • MCA Home Video (1987) (USA) (VHS)
  • MCA/Universal Home Video (1994) (USA) (VHS)
  • MCA/Universal Home Video (1994) (USA) (video) (laserdisc)
  • Universal Studios Home Entertainment (2011) (USA) (DVD) (Ma & Pa Kettle Complete Comedy Collection)
  • Universal Studios Home Video (2011) (Canada) (DVD) (10 film set)



Other Stuff

Release Date:

  • USA 21 March 1947 (Los Angeles, California) (premiere)
  • USA 24 April 1947 (New York City, New York)
  • USA May 1947
  • Australia 19 June 1947
  • Sweden 13 October 1947
  • Netherlands 26 December 1947
  • Germany 1948
  • France 30 January 1948
  • Portugal 28 May 1948
  • Denmark 3 June 1948
  • Austria 9 July 1948
  • Finland 3 September 1948
  • Japan 4 January 1949
  • USA 3 July 1954 (re-release)



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on November 11, 2012 by Movies DVD New Releases Blu-ray in Movies | Tags: , , .


  1. ronnie from United States
    11 Nov 2012, 8:15 pm

    Having not seen this picture in years, I wondered if it would still beenjoyable. It is. Claudette Colbert is superb as Betty MacDonald, the authorof the best selling book of what this is based upon, uprooting herself fromthe 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 Mainand Percy Kilbride), parents of 15 children, who were a huge hit and spawnedtheir own series of 9 films (2 without Percy). However, my favoritecharacter is Harriet Putnam, deliciously portrayed by Louise Allbritton, aslim, slinky, aristocratic, velvety voiced blonde beauty, with a yen for theburly MacMurray. She owns a very modern farm down the road, replete withfarmhands, technology, conveniences, but "no Man." Her scenes with thejealous Colbert are priceless, and Allbritton shows a great flair for comictiming. This classic can be seen as an inspiration for two popular 1960stelevision comedy series, "Green Acres" and "The Beverly Hillbillies."Enjoy!

  2. Heath McEwan from Stonehaven, Scotland
    11 Nov 2012, 8:15 pm

    The book on which this film was based upon was a phenomenal best-seller inthe mid-forties: readers loved the earthy tang and hilariously funnysituations of Betty Smith’s novel of the same name. Although this filmversion is rather a tame adaptation of the wonderful book, it definitelyprovides enough warmth, charm & chuckles to please viewers who aren’t toodiscriminating. Claudette Colbert – in her last great film role – playsBetty with her particular warmth & charm: she and Fred MacMurray have anundeniable chemistry. Although they weren’t youngsters here, they make youbelieve them youthful (Claudette was 44 & Fred was 39 here). For reasonswhich are unclear, Colbert never cared for this film, but the movie-goingpublic just loved it! The film is perhaps most notable in introducing thecharacters of Ma & Pa Kettle as played by Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbriderespectively. The public howled at the personalities and antics of thisloveable country bumpkins, and they were on the road to a hugely popularseries of their own which spanned from 1949-1957. It is really Main’sAA-nominated performance of Ma which lingers in the memory: she was born toplay the no-nonsense, down-to-earth but loveable Ms Kettle! Note that theKettle’s oldest son, Tom is played by none other than Richard Long, whowould star as Jarrod Barkley in the beloved TV western series THE BIG VALLEYeighteen years later. Birdie Hicks is played to hilarious perfection by theacid- tongued Esther Dale.

  3. Monika-5 from United States
    11 Nov 2012, 8:15 pm

    I found this to be a very cute and charming little movie. Claudette Colbertwas a hoot as the long suffering Betty, and Fred MacMurray was equally asgood as Bob, trying so hard to achieve success but neglecting Betty in theprocess. Ma and Pa Kettle steal the whole film out from under them, so it’sno big surprise they got their own film series after this. A warm and funnymovie all around.

  4. silverscreen888
    11 Nov 2012, 8:15 pm

    This charming, lively and atmospheric sojourn into the country is oneof 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 citydweller and his wife trying to establish a new life form themselves farfrom the city’s amenities. Usually one partner is more enthusiasticabout the relocation than is the other–in this case, a young wifeplayed by Claudette Colbert–while the mate is hell-bent on leaving thecity’s inconveniences behind–in this case Fred MacMurray. The film hasa deceptively simple plot-line. In pursuit of the goal of running anegg-producing farm, MacMurray drags his new wife into the country; theremainder of the film comprises three plot lines: 1. The way they arerooked, helped, charmed and appalled by their bucolic neighbors,especially Ma and pa kettle played for the first time on the screen myMarjorie Main and Percy Kilbride; 2. Involvements with a gorgeousneighbor (Louise Allbritton) whom Colbert thinks is a rival for herhusband’s affections; and 3. Difficulties with a very old and run-downphysical property owing to long-term prior neglect, bad weather, etc.This bare summary of events I suggest captures the essence of thestoryline rather succinctly; but it also omits the hysteria ofColbert’s reactions, her distaste at first for the entire project, andthe genial atmosphere of "what next" that permeates all the couple’sdealings with nature, their neighbors and their own negotiations abouttheir new marriage and the terms on which it is to be lived. Unlikemany incompetent later so-called comedies, this is a truecomedy–something that cannot end badly for the participants if theyphysically persevere; and it is quite realistic, if broadly mounted.How many other films can you the viewer recall which introduces Ma andPa Kettle, a slinky blond egg-ranch owner, a 300 pound ladies man, arun-down chicken ranch, a college-trained hillbilly engineer and asuccession of incompetent workmen? Frank Skinner provided suitablecomedic music; the film was directed by veteran Chester Erskine, from astory and screenplay he adopted from the Macdonald novel along withFred F. Finkelhoffe. The two produced also along with LeonardGoldstein, and they produced an instant classic and a box-office smash.Milton Krasner supplied a consistent cinematography, helped along by avery fine production design by Bernard Herzbrun and inventive setdecorations by Oliver Emert and Russell A. Gausman. The fine cast isheaded by Fred MacMurray as a believable Bob Macdonald, and ClaudetteColbert, very powerful as always and only a bit too old for the part.As the rival egg rancher, Louise Allbritton is cultured, and brilliantas usual. Billy House as the amorous Mr. Reed, Elisabeth Risdon asBetty’s mother, Marjorie Main, Percy Kilbride and Richard Long as theKettles are all very much up to their parts, which in lesser handsmight have turned into caricatures. others in the well-chosen castinclude Samuel S. Hinds as the Sheriff, Ida Moore, Fuzzy Knight, IsabelO’Madigan, Esther Dale, Donald MacBride and John Berkes. It is hard tosay enough nice things about the consistent style of this B/W treasure.What makes it work apart from the straightforward direction and thesincere professional actors I suggest is the categorical theme–Betty(Colbert) finally wanting her marriage to work, rather than herhusband’s equally legitimate desire to make a go of the egg ranchproject he has always wanted to head, even if it means making his wifeuncomfortable for a while. This is a film many admire, myself amongthem, and many more like even better that they admire it. It is a fineautumn film any night you want some genuinely-earned laughter.

  5. bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
    11 Nov 2012, 8:15 pm

    The Egg and I is based on a best selling book by Betty McDonaldconcerning the happenings around an urban city dwelling woman,Claudette Colbert playing Betty McDonald, whose husband, FredMacMurray, gets an agricultural urge after service in World War II.Back to nature so to speak. They both adapt, he a great deal easierthan she did and that's part of the plot.

    Doing a little research on the movie and book, I found that BettyMcDonald was a resident of Seattle and where they moved was notanywhere near hillbilly country, but to a rural part of Washingtonstate. But of course what Universal was doing was giving in tostereotypes. They couldn't make Ma and Pa Kettle and the rest of thecharacters convincing without transferring The Egg and I to anOzark/Appalachian background.

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

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

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

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

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

    Probably the most successful imitator of The Egg and I had to be theCBS classic series Green Acres. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor were evenmore out of place in the Ozarks than Colbert and MacMurray were. Theytoo dealt with a collection of rustics that looked like they steppedfrom the cast of The Egg and I.

    They even made Green Acres a success without the Kettles.

  6. Dan Gagne ( from Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada
    11 Nov 2012, 8:15 pm

    I first watched this movie about 5 years ago, and I enjoyed it then.Iwanted to watch it again, because I’d since seen a few movies withMarjorieMain. I enjoyed her performance, but it was the role played by ClaudetteColbert that blew me away. I thought she was better here than in "ItHappened One Night", when she won an Oscar.Ma and Pa Kettle stole the show the last time I watched it, but thistime around, I was more interested in the lives of Betty and BobMacDonald.Ms. Colbert and Fred MacMurray had such an easy-going, naturalinteraction,which I overlooked on first viewing.Isn’t that the sign of good acting? When you don’t even noticethey’reacting?

  7. Chuck Straub from Mansfield, CT USA
    11 Nov 2012, 8:15 pm

    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 coarsethe Kettles were excellent in this movie. They were such a hit withaudiences viewing ‘The Egg and I’ that it hatched the Ma and Pa Kettlefilm 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 andPa Kettle movie. This is a romantic comedy with Claudette Colbert andFred MacMurray playing a young couple from the city that buy a run downfarm. The entire movie revolves around this couple and theirexperiences. Most likely the ‘Green Acres’ TV series predecessor.Around this couple come a very interesting cast of characters of whichthe Kettles are a part. This movie is a simple, good old fashioned,clean cut, comedy. Sit back and enjoy the great acting and cast ofcharacters. You’ll be glad you did.

  8. Film Dog from Shawnee, KS
    11 Nov 2012, 8:15 pm

    Claudette Colbert & Fred MacMurray star in this screwball comedy; a filmthat 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 isa natural, and because of this, their debut film, The Kettles became ahousehold name.

  9. jcholguin ( from los angeles
    11 Nov 2012, 8:15 pm

    If you loved the TV series Green Acres then you will love this film whichserved as the incubator for the TV series. Betty & Bob MacDonald playedwonderfully by Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray live in the city butBobdesires the laid back country life. They move into a house which lookslikea shack that must be fixed up. Neighbors like Ma & Pa Kettle and theirmanychildren and Billy Reed the Mr. Haney lookalike. Betty hates the country,pigs and chickens. A good comedy and display of just what could happen tocity folk that what to become country folk.

  10. wlandolfi-1 from New York, New York
    11 Nov 2012, 8:15 pm

    This movie was based on a book of the same title. The woman who wrotethe book, Betty MacDonald, wrote it with her experiences as a youngwife living on a chicken farm in the Pacific Northwest. It is worthnoting that in the film, Claudette Colbert’s character’s name is Bettyand Fred MacMurray’s character’s name is Bob (her husband’s name). Asfor the film, we are not told exactly where the characters are supposedto be living although it is safe to say they are far away in thecountry. What we do know is that Fred MacMurray plays a recent warveteran who tells Claudette Colbert, his wife, that he has justpurchased a chicken farm and that he intends for them to live out thereso they can raise chickens. This is the beginning of what is a riotbecause they are both city people trying to get used to life on thefarm. Bob (Fred MacMurray’s character) is overly enthusiastic about thewhole move but one can tell right away that much as Betty (ClaudetteColbert’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 theKettle clan (especially Pa Kettle who is always asking for things butnever returning favors) as well as a seductive woman who has amechanical farm next door and has eyes for Bob.

    The movie is a riot as we see the couple dealing with everything I havementioned. I have watched the movie a number of times and even have thevideo tape of it. I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like ifsomeone said to me one day, "You’re moving on a farm tomorrow. Now goto work!" Well, I guess it would probably not be much different fromthis film!

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