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The Bachelor Father (1931)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 10 January 1931 (USA)
Old man invites three of his illegitimate children to live with him.


Robert Z. Leonard (uncredited)


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Complete credited cast:
Marion Davies ... Antoinette 'Tony' Flagg
Ralph Forbes ... John Ashley
C. Aubrey Smith ... Sir Basil Algernon 'Chief' Winterton
Ray Milland ... Geoffrey Trent
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams ... Richard 'Dick' Berney (as Guinn Williams)
David Torrence ... Dr. Frank 'Mac' MacDonald
Doris Lloyd ... Mrs. Julia Webb
Edgar Norton ... Bolton, the Second Butler
Nina Quartero ... Maria Credaro (as Nena Quartero)
Halliwell Hobbes ... Larkin, the Butler
Elizabeth Murray Elizabeth Murray ... Mrs. 'Aunt Molly' Berney
James Gordon ... Mr. Carson Creswell, a Lawyer


Lonely in his English country estate, Sir Basil decides to gather his grown (albeit illegitimate) children around him in his declining years. He uses a ledger which keeps track of the payments he has been making to ex-lovers to locate 2 of them, and a third is found by a lawyer in New York, her mother was too proud to accept any money. Sir Basil is a curmudgeon, and his three adult children have a hard time with him at first. Toni, the American, is a free spirit who had a budding career in show business. Jeffery is English and a semi-gentleman, and Maria is Italian, with a Latin temperament. They begin to bond, especially Sir Basil and Toni, whose outgoing personality finally wins over the old man. But past lives begin to creep back into the picture and threaten the old man's plans for a life filled with his children. Written by Ron Kerrigan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She was an ambitious hoofer until she found out her bachelor father was a Duke! Then she took her bachelor father on probation!! (Print Ad- Troy Times, ((Troy NY)) 31 January 1931)


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »





English | French

Release Date:

10 January 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Pai Celibatário See more »


Box Office


$502,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Completed and presented to preview audiences in 1930, the film also bears a 1930 copyright statement, but is tagged a 1931 production by IMDb, according to their rule book, because it was not officially released until January 1931. See more »


A man steps out of a room, does some gyrations, and quickly jumps back in. See more »


Sir Basil Algernon 'Chief' Winterton: I am the first man ever to become a father by majority vote.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The French version eliminated the scene inserted to make clear all of Sir Basil's children was legitimate. See more »


Version of The Bachelor Father (1935) See more »

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User Reviews

Disappointing Mix of Comedy and Drama
26 September 2009 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Bachelor Father, The (1931)

** (out of 4)

A mix of drama and comedy in this pre-code from MGM. An aging man, Sir Basil (C. Aubrey Smith) has been a bachelor from day one. Throughout his rich life he traveled the world and ended up having three kids by three different women. He hadn't had any contact with them but now he wants all three to come live with him with one (Marion Davies) who might not be who she thinks she is. It's really amazing to see some early talkies that sound extremely bad and this here is one such example. I'm really not sure what was going on in 1931 but we have a wide range of sound quality in various films but what's here is perhaps the worst I've heard. There isn't much hiss in the soundtrack but at times it appears the dialogue and sound completely drop off. Just take a look at an early scene where the three kids and their father are getting to know one another. As one character moves away, while talking, the dialogue gets lower and lower until you can't hear what's being said. I'm not sure if this was because of her walking away from the mic or what but it's very distracting. Like many early talkies, this one here is based on a famous play and the film just contains way too much talk. The pre-code nature of a man having kids all over the world is something mildly amusing and we get a couple naughty jokes out of it. The drama in the "twist" isn't really anything special and adds very little to the film. Davies turns in a pretty good performance even though the screenplay really doesn't give her too much to work with. We have Ray Milland in a minor role as well as Ralph Forbes. The main reason to watch this film is the performance by C. Aubrey Smith who really seems to be having a good time in the role. He manages to be quite touching and funny. In the end however, there's just not enough here to make the film work as well as it could have. Fans of the actors are the only ones who will want to check this one out.

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