|TEST TUBE BABIES
|Copyright 1948 Screen Classics Inc.
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 26 March 2006
- Cathy - The kind of gal you would marry if you did not have time for a wife.
- George - Works long hours and is interested in a family if it will save his marriage. Sounds like Cathy's perfect husband.
- Dr. Wright - I am a little worried about what this man considers "artificial insemination."
- Frank - Has a hard time keeping his hands and lips off of other men's wives.
- Don - What movie would be complete without a drunk who knows card tricks?
- Cathy's Mother - Is that a dead butterfly on her head?
- George and Cathy's Children - Well, half of that description is accurate...
|This is a fun movie for all the wrong reasons. Let me explain that statement. You have to take some joy in poking fun at movies with outdated concepts. Of course, the acting displayed here as third rate by even 1940 standards, but there are other amusements to be had. Not the least of which is the "fact" that some marriages cannot be saved unless those involved have children. I will easily admit that children are a common miracle. However, I would hope that something besides paying 16% child support (actually, 25% for two) is what keeps my marriage together.
I mean, after you go through all the work of finding the right woman, why not invest some time into making things work? Who wants to go through the hours of looking at pictures and profiles on www.easterneuropeanwives.com? Not the least of which is the frustration of locating one who speaks fluent English. Then you get into the mess of paying the website's fee, scheduling her shots, and buying the plane ticket. It all comes together when you see her for the first time at the airport, wearing a cloak of rabbit fur made by the women of her village. What could be better than that?
I am kidding. My wife did not come from Eastern Europe, but I did pay her father two cows and a pig for her hand in marriage.
The opening features text that lays out the argument about needing children to save a marriage. From there it just rolls into the main event. It takes all of five minutes for George to propose and the pair to montage through their honeymoon. A good thing too, because the whole montage makes the couple look deliriously happy. Nothing is less entertaining than a solid marriage.
Following the happiness (now secured), we catch up with husband and wife at the breakfast table. Cathy serves George his favorite, strawberries and cream. They then get into a prolonged conversation about their social life. Boozing it up with a bunch of middle aged socialites does not appear to be fulfilling for them, but what else is there to do? George quickly ends the discussion when Frank arrives, leaving the strawberries and cream untouched.
The interesting thing about George is that he is friends with Frank, despite knowing that the cad is a smooth talking womanizer who knows no bounds. He tells Cathy about his concerns and seems genuinely upset. (At least, I thought I detected some sort of emotion in his voice. I could have been mistaken.) Thus, it is surprising when Cathy, wearing a skimpy nightie, joins the men in the sitting room. She caps this off by agreeing to go to a dance with Frank, because George will be working late that night. There is little wonder that the concerned husband transitions into the "What the Hell are you doing?" husband.
Not long after that, Cathy entertains a number of their friends at the house. This quickly gets out of hand as Frank starts smooching with Don's wife and inspires the ire of his original date. That woman, a quite bleached blonde, is so stuffy that you might think her a parody of a feminist. Everyone else at the party appears to engage in nothing more than necking and heavy drinking. It is the jealous triangle between Frank, his date, and Don's wife that finally melts down into a clothes-ripping catfight. Cathy runs into the bedroom and calls George at work, begging him to come home. Their heated conversation after he runs everybody out is what seals the deal. Practice is over; it is time to have the baby that will make their lives complete.
Not to get on a tangent, but there is something quaint about all these people delivering their lines like they are reading a board just offscreen. You will chuckle if it does not drive you stark, raving mad.
Once George has agreed to have a baby, Cathy wants one NOW! After an indeterminate period of trying (I am guessing less than a month), she gets antsy about not being knocked up yet. To satisfy her worry, she goes to see Dr. Wright. That gentleman takes all of fifteen minutes to determine that Cathy is one fertile pup. I imagine that Dr. Wright has some sort of "thermometer" that he uses to measure a woman's ability to procreate. Since Cathy is not the problem, the doctor refers George to a specialist who can make a determination of his fertility.
Yup, you guessed it, the inside of George's testicles look like the streets of Tokyo in the movie "Virus." Little dudes lying motionless all over the place. In the universe of George and Cathy's marriage, his balls are a dead planet.
Here we finally get to the title of the movie, obviously misnamed. The problem is that "Artificial Insemination Kids" does not have the same ring to it. Dr. Wright informs the couple that there does exist a way for them to have children, who would at least trace their biological lineage to Cathy. Check this out, because here is the gist: some random guy walks in off the street, says "yes" to all the right questions, squeezes a fresh batch of baby batter, then the doctor fills a turkey baster and makes Cathy pregnant. Presto! The perfect family!
What I want to know is just how many random men are able to fill a turkey baster? Were those the days when women were real women and men were all Peter North?
Despite some misgivings, George does agree that artificial insemination appears to be the way to go (instead of, say, not wearing tight pants for a month). The procedure is accomplished with little fanfare. Cathy and the doctor go in the back room, then half an hour later he comes out and lights up a cigarette. Um, does anyone else have reservations that this might not be quite as artificial as was indicated? Was Cathy awake or was she "lightly sedated" for the procedure? Heck, I bet the doc takes a nap next...
This is an enjoyable movie for those who like to poke fun at the old instructional films, because it has the same feel. It also helps that, for the most part, many people are more knowledgeable about the subject matter now. We can get a laugh out of the quirky medical facts.
I still want to know what caused George to have a 100% sperm death rate. It sounds like the testicular equivalent of Jonestown and is just as inexplicable to a rational person.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- People get married to avoid the long commute required for booty calls.
- In the old days men wore their pants up to their nipples.
- If your wife says that she can take care of your gigolo friend you should be relieved.
- Burlesque was a lost art in the 40's too.
- The correct pronunciation is "Gin-and-col-o-jist."
- Doctors can tell if a woman is barren just by looking at her.
- The definition of artificial insemination is "getting pregnant by someone other than your husband."
- Beware asking your mother-in-law if your wife should have sex with someone else.
- Doctors used to recommend smoking as a cure for stress.
- Opening credits - The "taint of heredity?"
- 4 mins - Obviously put on the market after the previous owner, an old widower, walked into traffic.
- 14 mins - He did try! Cathy is in denial or something.
- 27 mins - If that was straight gin she should be screaming and begging for water to flush her eyes.
- 28 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS CAT FIGHT (WITH BREASTS)!
- 45 mins - Did Dr. Wright just hint that he condones bestiality?
- 51 mins - George "the Animal" Steele as a baby, ladies and gentlemen.
- George: "You've already decided we're going to have a he."
Cathy: "Well, I thought we could have a boy now. Then, after a while, we could give him a little sister to play with."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||George: "Honestly, Cathy, do you really enjoy these parties we've been going to?" |
Cathy: "Not especially, George, but we have to have some recreation."
George: "I agree, but they do so much drinking lately."
||Girl at party: "I am not yours and I am most certainly not a babe. If you must be entirely flippant, kindly direct your attention elsewhere." |
Don: "Okay, babe, no offense."
||George: "I guess we were willing to settle for these parties as long as they were fun, but they're not fun anymore. I guess we need a family." |
Cathy: "George, I think I'll go to a doctor in the next few days."
George: "What for darling?"
Cathy: "Well, we've been married long enough now that something should have happened."
||Dr. Wright talks to George about the couple's problem.
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|The doctor just finished, um, working on Cathy. If you can get past the stilted acting, doesn't this strike you as an odd exchange?
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