Cast & Crew
[The following plot summary is based on the English-language version of this film, The Bachelor Father ; character names refer to that version.] Sir Basil Winterton, once a dashing young ladies' man, now lives alone at Rooksfold, his enormous Surrey, England estate, with only his servants as company. Occasionally, the tempermental old English aristocrat is visited by his friend, Doctor Frank MacDonald, who tells Basil that what he needs is the love and warmth of a family. To that end, the doctor suggests that Basil look up the addresses of his three illegitimate children, who are now adults and are living in different parts of the world, and then takes charge of bringing them to live at the manor. One of Basil's daughters, the vivacious Tony Flagg, is a dancer who has been living modestly in New York with her guardian, Mrs. Berney, and Mrs. Berney's son Dick. Tony and Mrs. Berney are shocked when Frank offers to take Tony away to live with her estranged father, but Mrs. Berney agrees because she realizes that Basil will be able to provide a better life for her. Though she knows that Basil's real daughter died twenty years ago, Mrs. Berney, believing that she is acting in Tony's best interest, suppresses the information and allows the girl to go. At Rooksfold, Tony meets her two siblings, Maria Credaro, a singer from Florence, Italy, and Geoffrey Trent. To Basil's dismay, his three children immediately engage in wild merriment. Appalled by their behavior, Basil calls them swine and regrets having invited them to stay. In response to Basil's hostile behavior, the three form a protective union and vow to stick together. When Basil tells Tony that she is not behaving in a manner befitting a woman in his social circle, Tony calls Basil hardboiled. The two bicker until Basil learns that Tony's mother is no longer living, whereupon he apologizes for his behavior and they make up. Eventually, Basil takes a liking to his offspring and allows them to stay. However, the three playfully suggest a probation period of one month before they decide if they want to stay. After meeting Basil's friend, John Ashley, Tony immediately falls in love with him and a romance ensues. Meanwhile, back in New York, Mrs. Berney is interrogated by Mr. Creswell, a lawyer intent on proving that Tony Flagg is not Basil's real daughter. When Dick, an aviator, flies his airplane to Surrey to visit Tony, he delivers a note from home that reveals the truth about her relationship to Basil. Tony, who has just accepted an engagement ring from John, is devastated by the news. She prepares to tell Basil the truth about herself, but Mr. Creswell beats her to it, thus making Tony look like an impostor. Embarrassed by the situation, Tony returns John's ring and explains to Basil that she did not tell him about the news right away because she did not want to ruin their lovely relationship. Tony then insists on flying out of England with her brother on a risky transatlantic flight, but when Dick and Basil find out about her plans, Dick is sent to stop her. Dick arrives too late, and while listening to the radio coverage of the aerial event, Basil hears the news that the airplane has crashed. Miraculously, though, Tony escapes with only minor injuries and is taken back to Rooksfold, where Basil and John argue over who will have the privilege of keeping her. Tony settles the matter by suggesting that she be Basil's daughter by day and John's wife by night.
Laurence E. Johnson
Robert Z. Leonard
The onscreen credits for this French-language version of the 1931 release, The Bachelor Father, were taken from a studio cutting continuity. Some sources credit Arthur Robison with direction of the French version. The file for The Bachelor Father in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library contains a series of letters sent between mid-June 1929 and February 1931, which indicate that the Hays Office initially objected to the production of any film based on Edward Childs Carpenter's play, due to the fact that the story concerned illegitimate children. The Hays Office called the play "unsuitable for production in motion pictures," but also stated that it might be all right for filming if "some irresponsible company does not get a hold of it." In addition, the Hays Office insisted that the title of the story be changed and called for the removal of any hint that the children in the story are illegitimate. The Hays Office went on to insist that no connection be made between the film and the play in its publicity or advertising. In February 1931, the foreign manager of the Hays Office noted that while all the English versions of the film had been released with an added scene that was designed to make it clear that the children were legitimate, the French version was released without the scene. He went on to state, however, that "for continental distribution, it is allright without any reference to the marriage status of Sir Basil. In fact, it makes it more spicy of course not to have this...I'm not so sure about England. The picture is so full of broad remarks which I imagine the English speaking world will censor." When Will H. Hays learned of the difference between the two versions, he called it a "very serious matter...to have one version for America and one version for the continent." He also raised an objection to the scene in which "Sir Basil's" lawyer implies that his client made payments to the women from his past. Following its release, The Bachelor Father underwent dialogue deletions by censors in New Zealand, Australia, Alberta, Milwaukee, Massachusetts and Virginia, and was banned in Ireland. Most of the eliminations related to the subject of illegitimate children.