In this picturization of Betty MacDonald’s best-selling book Chester Erskine and Fred Finklehoffe tamper very little with the load of amusing situations MacDonald gets herself into when her husband snaps her out of a Boston finishing school and takes her off to the modern-day frontier of the Pacific Northwest to embark on chicken farming.
Shortcoming is in an evenness of treatment – partially in the writing but more importantly in Erskine’s direction – that fails to suck the drama out of the situations presented in the book. Even the supposedly big scene where a forest fire licks down at all that the chicken-raising couple have in the world – their home, barn and henhouses – fails to achieve suspense Claudette Colbert is appealing but not entirely believable as the city gal who accepts so willingly out of wifely love the rugged life husband Fred MacMurray lays out for her. MacMurray runs through his role in his routine, superficial fashion – which is unfortunately accentuated by the impassive manner of the telling of the story itself. Percy Kilbride and Marjorie Main, as the Kettles, the tobacco-road-like neighbors of Colbert and MacMurray, are literally tops as character players, accounting, by their feeling and understanding of their roles, for high points in the film every time they’re on the screen.
1947: Nomination: Best Supp. Actree (Marjorie Main)