Tag Archives: Betsy Drake

Room For One More

1952

directed by: Norman Taurog

Cary Grant movie #59 of 74.  This marks the 2nd and final film with his then-wife Betsy Drake.  Oh man this was a great film.  Whereas Every Girl Should Be Married was a bit dull and forced, Room For One More exhibited the best qualities in both Grant and Drake and they worked seamlessly together.

Room For One More centers around the Rose family, with Grant and Drake playing the parents and 3 children (Teenie, Tom, and Trot; 2 boys and a girl, all between like 6-10).  Drake is part of the PTA and the wives take a trip to an orphanage/placement center.  After little deliberation, she agrees to take on an abused and neglected 13-year old girl, Jane. Though Jane is cold and angry at first, she soon warms to the family (I mean with Cary Grant as your dad, how could you not?); later she goes to a junior prom with an upstanding boy.  Drake then brings home a 12-year old boy, Jimmy John (an excellent name)  who has leg braces and at first is mute (Think young Forrest Gump).  After a trip to the beach, he soon warms to the family and learns to ride a bike, learns to read, and joins the Boy Scouts (ultimately becoming an Eagle Scout).  So not too complex on the plot side, the movie is more an emotional exercise in patience, empathy, and doing the right thing.   I lost count of the amount of scenes where tears were getting in my eyes.  I’m not a robot, people.

Let’s see, other great things about the movie. Grant plays a City Engineer, awesome. Oh, probably the best scene is where the family is sitting around opening presents at Christmas.  Jane had her heart set on going to the junior prom, but doesn’t own a dress, and is distraught (so obviously a Cinderella reference).  Now Drake gives her an old dress which she hems and cuts down a bit.  Jane is ecstatic and quickly leaves to try it on.  When she comes back down to model for the family everyone is appreciative except Teenie (the youngest boy) who laconically remarks, “It stinks”.  This immediately shuts everyone up, and Drake starts backtracking that she’ll cut it up even more, to which he replies, “Yeah, but it still stinks”.   He’s got really great lines throughout the movie, sometimes with someone delivering a line, then turning to him and waiting a second or two for him to spit out his next zinger.  You always know he’ll have something great to say. And oh yeah, he’s 6.

Underrated Actors: George “Foghorn” Winslow as Teenie, Grant and Drake’s 6 year old son.   Kudos to Iris Mann and Clifford Tatum, Jr. for playing the foster kids real well.


Every Girl Should Be Married

1948

directed by: Don Hartman

Cary Grant movie #55 of 74.    So Betsy Drake is in this one, who would go on to marry Grant a year after this came out.  You really can’t see it when watching this film, but you really couldn’t see it either in Bundle of Joy with Eddie Fisher + Debbie Reynolds, but that’s another post.  But coincidentally Drake also plays a department store girl in this picture. I’m beginning to think that before 1970, women only played department store girls, were funemployed, actresses/theater/dancers,  or lived on a farm.  It’s kind of surreal.  Anyways, Grant plays a doctor, rather a pediatrician, who catches the eye and claws of Drake from the get go.  Again he’s the bachelor type that needs convincing that he in fact needs to marry Drake.  Don’t worry it all works out in the end.  But I knew you weren’t worried about that.

This movie is kind of hilarious, aside from the career aspect, of the Facebook-esque information stalking that goes on.  She finds out his favorite meals, champagne, where he went to school, about his past relationships, his favorite reading material, reads his book, etc. just by talking to everyone he comes in contact with.  So she basically stalks him.  And he calls her on it really early on, so it’s kind of an innocent running joke the rest of the movie. Grant’s humor was respectable in this and he honestly, I thought, did much better than Drake.   The end scene was the best part of the movie, as the rest is just pining for the most part.  Another random thought I had while watching was that if it was recast, you could put the starring cast of Pushing Daisies into it and it would work.  Ned as Cary Grant, Chuck as Betsy Drake, and Olive as Betsy Drake’s best friend.  They all look and act eerily similar.  Madison Brown (Grant)’s favorite soup is Turtle Soup, which I had to look up, and it does in fact contain Turtles, and also is the real life favorite meal of former President William Howard Taft.  Oh, final note, Betsy Drake uses “fetching” to describe what she’s wearing.  So there, Tina Fey.

Underrated Actors: Franchot Tone as Roger Sanford, Drake’s boss and Love-Triangle addition to get Cary jealous. Great voice and dude was married to Joan Crawford.