OK - I have decided - 1938-1941 are the ultimate years for fashion in my eyes, and this film, made in 1939, may be the ultimate film for fashion too.
Bachelor Mother stars an incredibly lovely Ginger Rogers as Polly Parrish, a salesgirl in the toy department of John B Merlin & Son, a large department store in New York City. It is the end of the Christmas season and she finds that she is about to lose her job, so she pops out during her lunch break to sign up at an employment agency. On her way back to the office she spots a woman leaving a baby on the doorstep of the foundling hospital. Concerned for the child she approaches it and when the door of the hospital is opened the staff assume she is the mother, refusing to believe her when she says she is not.
The hospital follow up with her employer, speaking to the young David Merlin (David Niven looking delicious), and saddened by the tale of a young mother unable to support her child he gives her back her job and a raise. Despite her continued protestation no one believes that she is not the mother and so when the baby is returned to her she decides to bring up the child.
David spends an increasing amount of time with Polly and the baby and once New Year's Eve comes around he invites her out for the evening, they have a wonderful time and a rather passionate kiss but David is still reluctant to take on a ready made family.
Eventually David's father J.B Merlin himself (played by the ever wonderful Charles Coburn) finds out about the child and assumes his son is the father. J.B is thrilled, as he has long been waiting for his playboy son to settle down. David realises he really does love Polly and the baby and asks her to marry him, letting everyone believe that the child is his son.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film, Ginger, as usual, was a joy throughout and the building romance between herself and David Niven felt very believable. This is a light comedy movie about a very serious subject and, interestingly for the time, little mention is made of the shame of single motherhood. There are some very funny set pieces including Polly pretending to be Swedish which did make me giggle.
It also looks beautiful, I want all of Polly's wardrobe, not surprisingly as the costumes were by Irene. Here hair was also set in the most perfect pageboy...sigh. Here are some of the best pictures I could find.
I strongly advise watching the film though, to see the costumes to full effect.
I love the cross detail here
and I can always go for a little asymmetry
A lovely jabot
This dress is incredible, the waistband detail and the tiny buttons - swoon.
Here is the original movie trailer. I would have added in a visually excellent fan trailer I found on YouTube but it shows all the best bits of the film and has annoying music so I resisted. Go watch this movie, please.