Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm (1951)

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Released 6-Dec-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1951
Running Time 077:20
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (72:32) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Edward Sedgwick

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Marjorie Main
Percy Kilbride
Richard Long
Meg Randall
Ray Collins
Barbara Brown
Emory Parnell
Teddy Hart
Oliver Blake
Case ?
RPI Box Music Joseph Gershenson

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 No

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

Plot Synopsis


"The family that made laughter a national pastime."

    An eager public was given a third annual instalment of the Kettle saga in 1951 with Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm. Critics never praised this series but moviegoers in their millions were still flocking to see their favourite rustics. Universal was making more millions, even if the Kettle sometimes does go off the boil in this patchy entry.

    We pick up with Ma (Marjorie Main), Pa (Percy Kilbride) and their kids living in their "house of tomorrow", which Pa had won in a slogan contest in Ma and Pa Kettle. Tom (Richard Long) and Kim (Meg Randall) are about to have their first child. With the birth comes the arrival of Kim's parents, Jonathan and Elizabeth Parker (Ray Collins and Barbara Brown). The two sets of grandparents naturally clash over what is best for the new addition to the family and, despite some spirited playing by Collins and Brown, it is all pretty dull. The eventual upshot is that Ma and Pa, with their fourteen kids, move out of the new house and return to the farm, leaving Tom, Kim and the Parkers to themselves.

     Back on the farm the movie picks up. Ma and Pa revert to their original "look", Ma all dishevelled and Pa in his underwear, and some of the original Kettle humour returns.

Ma : Pa, yer lazier 'n that houn' dawg we useter have .

Pa : Which one?

Ma : The one useter lean against the wall when she barked .

Pa : Oooooooooh, that one .

    Pa's Indian sidekicks, Crowbar (Teddy Hart) and Geoduck (Oliver Blake), help Pa dig and blast a new well, Pa becomes "radioactive", some city slickers try to swindle the Kettles out of their radium rich farm and, best of all, Pa, with a little assistance from Ma, gives Billy Reed (Emory Parnell) a lesson in basic maths. As long as the script focuses on the characters of the central duo, and the talents of these veteran actors, things are fine, regardless of how silly it might become.

    After some extraneous plot nonsense about kidnapping babies from the hospital, all is resolved in a humorously staged chase between a car, driven by Pa, and the train carrying Kim away from Tom. The Universal backlot features strongly here, intercut with some nicely photographed footage of an extremely handsome passenger train. Stunt doubles are very obvious but there is some good rear projection work with Ma and Pa in the car and Kilbride has some wonderful moments when he finally stops the car across the railroad tracks, blocking the train,  and is confronted by the train's irate engineer. "Thunder!"

    Not up to the standard of the previous offering, Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town , but when it's good it's VERY good.

     Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm is included in the Universal two disc/four title set The Adventures of Ma and Pa Kettle Volume 1. 

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Transfer Quality


    Once again Universal has delivered an extremely handsome transfer of a title from this series.

    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 image is extremely sharp and clear, with no low level noise.

    The black and white reproduction is extremely good, and in some of the exterior scenes "back on the farm" it is magnificent.

    The grey scale is most comprehensive with  great shadow detail. Blacks are strong and solid.

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

    I was more aware of aliasing with this title, particularly in one kitchen scene on Ma's apron (14:30) and on the edge of the table (17:10).    

    Other artefacts were almost non existent.

    The only subtitles are English for the Hearing Impaired.

    Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm shares a dual layered, single sided disc with the first title in the series, Ma and Pa Kettle .

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


    The audio is in excellent condition, considering the source is almost sixty years old.

    The original mono is clear and sharp.

    Dialogue is totally distinct and there are no sync problems.

    There are no pops, crackles or dropouts.

    Background hiss is inaudible at room filling volume.

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

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    There are no extras with this title.



    After the Universal trademark there is a menu screen offering the choice between this feature and Ma and Pa Kettle .

    After choosing Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm, the next screen is a hand painted publicity shot with the options:


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

          Subtitles : English for the Hearing Impaired only.

    All of these menu items are presented with 16:9 enhancement.

    There is no sound or animation.

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 - Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm sharing one side with Ma and Pa Kettle.

    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.




     An outstandingly good transfer of a so-so entry from the series. (Would that many genuine classic titles looked this good on DVD!) There are enough high spots to compensate for the lows, thanks to Main and Kilbride. They are always a pleasure to watch, with Pa, in particular, having some moments that are hilariously wonderful.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Thursday, December 27, 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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