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Miracle of Morgan's Creek/Pregnancy in the movies


skimpole
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"The Miracle of Morgan's Creek," was on TCM earlier today, and viewers will have noted that we did not have a clear shot of Betty Hutton visibly pregnant with six (!) children. This leads me to ask when did Hollywood movies show women who were visibly pregnant, and not simply pregnant as a matter of the storyline? When did Hollywood movies actually start using the word "pregnant"? Did movies from other countries do it earlier (almost certainly yes, but when?)

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This doesn't answer your question, since it relates to an Italian movie, but the most hilarious use of pregnancy in the movies is in "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow," with Sophia Loren. In the first of the three stories, "Adelina of Naples," Adelina (Sophia) is arrested for selling black market cigarettes. When she's taken to the magistrate, he says, "You can't arrest her, she's got the belly!" The whole town resounds with the cry, "She's got the belly!" Evidently in that town pregnant women cannot be put into prison. So, Adelina spends most of the story trying to remain pregnant, much to her exhausted husband's, Marcello M's, chagrin.

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If I'm not mistaken, the word "pregnant" was first used in the 1953 film "The Moon Is Blue". It caused quite a lot of talk, which I'm sure made it a bigger hit than it might have been, otherwise.

As for showing a woman actually pregnant, it was probably in the '60's.

I thought they didn't show Betty's pregnancy quite well. That and Diana Lynn's performance were the only positives I can find for this film. Take out all the pratfalls, dropped merchandise, stuttering, double-talk and Betty's tears, and you have not too much left. I've tried watching the film several times, and can't even come up with a smirk, much less a laugh. Did audiences find this repetetive nonsense funny sixty-four years ago?

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Could they use the word "pregnant" before the Code enforcement really took off?

 

I don't have a recording of Life Begins, but that would be a good movie to look for use of the word. (Obviously, they'd never heard of fetal alcohol syndrome back in 1931....)

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In Lou Costello's last film, "The 30-Foot Bride Of Candy Rock" (1959), after a weird exposure of gases and electric charges turns Dorothy Provine's character into the titular giantess, he rushes into town to tell her uncle (Gale Gordon) that she's now "big." Gordon's character, who dominates the town and is seeking to run for governor, miscontrues it as news that she's pregnant and hurriedly orders Costello's character to marry her!

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In response to skimpole's original question about when pregnancy was made apparent in movies, I believe it was actually AFTER Lucy showed her pregnancy on TV, supposedly with Little Ricky, which was really Lucy Arnaz. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Lucy is the one who allowed pregnancy to become common place.

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From 1953's "From Here to Eternity"

 

Karen Holmes (Deborah Kerr): Come back here, Sergeant. I'll tell you the story; you can take it back to the barracks with you. I'd only been married to Dana two years when I found out he was cheating. And by that time I was pregnant. I thought I had something to hope for. I was almost happy the night the pains began. I remember Dana was going to an officers' conference. I told him to get home early, to bring the doctor with him. And maybe he would have... if his "conference" hadn't been with a hat-check girl! He was drunk when he came in at 5 AM. I was lying on the floor. I begged him to go for the doctor, but he fell on the couch and passed out. The baby was born about an hour later. Of course it was dead. It was a boy. But they worked over me at the hospital, they fixed me up fine, they even took my appendix out - they threw that in free.

Sergeant Milton Warden(Burt Lancaster): Karen...

Karen Holmes: And one more thing: no more children. Sure I went out with men after that. And if I'd ever found one that...

Sergeant Milton Warden: Karen, listen to me, listen.

Karen Holmes: I know. Until I met you I didn't think it was possible either.

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In the movie All About Eve 1950 Bette Davis says "A situation pregnant with possibilities,and you suggest everyone go to bed--it won't play "! there was a line spoken by Diana Lynn to her father

William Demerest [ his best role ] "You have a mind like a swamp" and I loved there last name 'Kockinlocker' this fim was remade years later by Jerry Lewis and called Rock-a-bye-baby.

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I can't remember whether the word "pregnant" is used, but the 1956 film "Full of Life" frankly depicts Judy Holliday as a mom-to-be:

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049240/

 

Same for Janet Leigh in "Confidentially Connie" (1953):

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045644/

 

and isn't Jeanne Crain visibly expecting in "Apartment for Peggy" (1948)?

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Wow, this is why I love the TCM Boards --- I am learning a lot from the discussion!

 

Fedya -- your reference to "Life Begins" makes me love you all the more. "Life Begins," for those who don't know, is an early-talkies exploitation movie that was pretty explicit, to say the least, and was rereleased under a lot of titles, though not by the likes of MGM, Columbia, or Paramount. Not even by Fox,

 

I admit I don't know that much about the way pregnancy was seen in the classic days. I've obviously seen lots of the classics --- most of that failure is, no doubt, my own lack of paying attention.

 

That said, I don't think anyone has ever pulled together all references to and portrayals of pregnancy in film. Maybe it's up to us!

 

I watched "Miracle in Morgan's Creek" this weekend too, and every time I see it I am amazed that it was a hit back in the day. That (brilliant) movie would be both controversial and successful today.

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i had just watched life begins when it came on TCM awhile ago, and i actually was surprised at the whole plot. i didnt even know they did any movies just about pregnancy back in the early thirties. you cn clearly see that loretta is pregnant though. although you cant see at all that the drunk chic is even close to being pregnant. i didnt even know she was pregnant until it was made a point of in them movie. i was like," what is she doing in a maternity ward...all drunk too.?"

 

in Adventure i found it rather interesting that they showed greer in bed before her baby was born. she was covering her stomach with the sheets in it, but you could see it.

 

i like miracle at morgan's creek a lot, and thought it was great. there is another jeanne crain movie where they say pregnant, in People Will Talk with cary grant. he is her doctor and he says something like, "she is just as pregnant as when she first walked in here", or something to that sort.

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