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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
The Egg and I (1947)

The Egg and I (1947)

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Released 6-Dec-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer-Reissue trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1947
Running Time 103:26
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (14:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Chester Erskine

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Claudette Colbert
Fred MacMurray
Marjorie Main
Louise Allbritton
Percy Kilbride
Richard Long
Billy House
Ida Moore
Donald MacBride
Samuel S. Hinds
Esther Dale
Case ?
RPI Box Music Frank Skinner

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Prior to credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis


"The family that made laughter a national pastime."

      It was 1947, just two years after the end of World War II. Audiences were going to the movies for light relief in a world still mending itself, and light relief is exactly what Universal International offered with The Egg and I. Based on the best selling comic biography by Betty MacDonald this modest movie was a huge success for the studio and its two stars. It also introduced two supporting characters who were to endear themselves to audiences for the next ten years - and make many millions for the studio.

    Bob (Fred MacMurray) and Betty (Claudette Colbert) are two newly wed city slickers, Betty having been "finished off" at an exclusive Boston school for girls. After a brief reminiscence of his war experiences, Bob announces to Betty that they are going to move to the country, that he has already bought a farm and that they're "gonna raise chickens". The apprehensive but dutiful Betty goes along with it all and together they face the perils and challenges of life on the farm. There is the ramshackle house with its leaking roof, a stove with a mind of its own, various picturesque locals, a glamorous predatory neighbour (Louise Allbritton), rainstorms and a climactic forest fire. Fred MacMurray was always a very skilled actor, whether in dramas such as the film noir Double Indemnity or in comic befuddlement such as here. However most of the comedy of the film comes from watching petite and sophisticated Claudette Colbert battle with farm life. Whether it's collecting eggs, chopping wood, lopping trees, battling with the huge and threatening stove, falling off a roof into a water filled barrel, or plopping into a muddy pig swill, Miss Colbert is a most adept comedienne. She always plays it straight, and that's what makes it funny.

    The most picturesque of the neighbours are Ma and Pa Kettle. In these roles Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride created comic characters that instantly won audiences. Miss Main, generous of character and bosom, upswept seemingly self-willed hair trampolining on her head, is a joy to behold. Whether she is battling to remember the names of her fifteen children, punctuating conversation with a cooking utensil, sweeping a table clean with one swipe of her arm or absent mindedly scratching her ample endowments - only MM could get away with that in 1947 - Ma Kettle remains a monumental character - in more ways than one. For this performance Marjorie Main received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Percy Kilbride, "the man who put dead into deadpan", is the perfect foil for her. He does so little, laconically drawling through his scenes, yet he is so right and hilariously funny. Despite the excesses of their screen characters these two consummate actors create unforgettable performances.

    Not so real is the look of the film. There is some nice location, or backlot, work when the city couple first drive to the farm and again after the fire has destroyed the barn, but most of the exteriors were shot on a soundstage. This was accepted practice in the 1940's but it fails to make the most of the contrast between Miss Colbert's character and her new rural world. The direction in general, by Chester Erskine, is adequate, but fails to make the most of opportunities such as the fire and the rallying neighbours.

    The Egg and I is extremely light fare and we never have any doubt that the city slickers will lick country life, or that the Kettles' eldest son, Tom (Richard Long), will get to college. This is a simple, funny, warm-hearted movie, and a very pleasant way to spend an hour or two with assured performers at the top of their form.

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Transfer Quality


    This is a very satisfying transfer to disc of a sixty year old movie and it looks great.

    The black and white image is rock solid steady and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The original theatrical ratio was 1.37:1.

    There is, of course, no 16:9 enhancement, except in the menus.

    The picture is very clear and sharp throughout with no evidence of low level noise.

    There is a small amount of grain, but nothing that is distracting.

    Aliasing was extremely slight, generally limited to striped suits and other items of clothing.

    Artefacts were extremely rare.

    The only subtitles are English for the Hearing Impaired.

    This movie is paired on a single sided disc with Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town. The layer change occurs early in the film at 14:00 in a fade to black at the end of a scene. It is undetectable.


Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio is also in good shape, though not up to the standard of the image.

    The original mono is clear and sharp, with totally distinct dialogue.

    There are no sync problems.

    There are no pops, crackles or dropouts.

    There is some background hiss, but this is never distracting.

    There is only one audio track on the disc - English.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    After the Universal trademark there is a menu screen offering the choice between The Egg and I and Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town. This is all presented with 16:9 enhancement.

    After choosing The Egg and I, the next screen is a hand painted publicity shot with the options:


          Scene Selection : 18 scenes, each with a thumbnail, on five screens

          Theatrical Trailer

          Subtitles : English for the Hearing Impaired only.


Theatrical Trailer : (02:07)

    This is not the original theatrical trailer but a reissue trailer, the reissue apparently made after Ma and Pa Kettle had become "the favourite of fifty million".

    The trailer is presented at 1.37:1, not quite filling the height of the "square" frame.

    The picture quality is not up to the standard of the feature itself, having a large number of artefacts and some damage.

    The soundtrack is clear, but quite noisy.

    The trailer is completely intact, with no loss of image or sound, and makes an interesting footnote to the movie.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This release is identical to the Region 1 release except that :

    The Region 1 release has four movies on the one disc - The Egg and I and Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town occupying one side of the disc.

    The Region 1 release has two additional language tracks, Spanish and French.

    The Region 1 release has the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles/captions "placed" on the screen according to the speaker's screen position.

     Except for an individual  concern with language, there is no reason to prefer the Region 1 release.




    Not quite a classic Hollywood comedy of the 40s, but still a highly entertaining movie with two attractive and talented leads giving first rate performances. There is the added bonus of witnessing the birth of a great comic duo, Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride as Ma and Pa Kettle.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Friday, December 21, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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