Cast & Crew
Billy De Wolfe
Miriam Wilkins, the teenage daughter of Senator Harry Wilkins, her boyfriend, Robbie Clark, and friend Clara are the founders and sole members of the Oakmont College Society for the Rehabilitation of Criminals, and have elected Miriam's father, a former judge, their honorary president. Miriam uses her father's name to gain access to files of prisoners she regards as "social unfortunates" and discovers that Harry Baxter, whom her father sentenced to prison for possession of a deadly weapon, intent to kill and kidnapping his own daughter, is about to be paroled. At dinner that evening, Miriam learns that the family needs a new gardener and decides to offer the job to Harry. Miriam is waiting at the prison gate when Harry is released and, declaring that she wants to help him rebuild his life, offers him a job and a home. Harry, who is not allowed to visit his wife and daughter until his parole period is over, wants nothing to do with this earnest young girl, but when she mentions who her father is, he changes his mind. The next day, Ruth, Miriam's older sister, decides to go on a second honeymoon with her husband and leaves their twin babies in the care of her mother Edie. When the senator recognizes the new gardener, he is very angry with Miriam and tells Edie that Harry, who had threatened to kill him if convicted, went berserk when sentenced. Bank manager Albert Kummer, Ruth's former fiancé and the senator's campaign manager, tries unsuccessfully to persuade Harry to leave. Meanwhile, a steadfast Miriam attempts to "blackmail" her father with the suggestion that the newspapers will be happy to feature a story about the honorary president of her society discharging a parolee. Nonetheless, the senator tells Edie to fire Harry, then leaves, but when he returns that evening, he discovers that Harry is still there and moving into the room above the garage. Although Albert has brought a gun from the bank, Edie and Miriam are unconcerned and are convinced that Harry is a good handyman. The senator is about to fire Harry when the society's three college faculty advisers visit and promise him good coverage in the press, forcing him to agree to keep Harry. Miriam then tries to expose Harry to the local art museum, botanical gardens, library and other cultural pursuits. However, Clara informs Miriam that the neighborhood is creating a petition to have Harry removed. The senator is still worried by Harry's presence and is further aggravated when Harry's parole officer, Mr. Creavy, comes to the house to do a routine check on the senator's suitability as an employer. Miriam discovers that Robbie has started the petition because he is jealous of her attention to Harry, and when Robbie tells her parents that he wants to marry Miriam immediately, her parents briefly imagine the worst. However, Miriam breaks up with Robbie, while insisting that she is not involved with Harry, and invents a long romance with Albert, who happens to arrive at that moment and is very surprised and alarmed when Miriam smothers him with kisses. Later, when Albert decides to follow up on his advantage, he finds Miriam reading romantic poetry to Harry. At a community meeting called to criticize the senator, Miriam attends with Harry and, when Robbie's mother questions her relationship with Harry, the senator announces Miriam's engagement to Albert. The next day, Miriam finds Harry's daughter Pauline at the house wanting to talk with her father and tries to get her to leave, knowing that such a meeting would violate Harry's parole. When Albert realizes that he is merely a stooge in Miriam's schemes, he demands an end to their engagement, but Miriam convinces him that she really wants to reconcile Harry with his wife and persuades Albert to go to visit her. After a cleaning lady lets Albert into Mrs. Baxter's apartment and allows him to wait for her, Albert answers her phone when Harry calls. When Mrs. Baxter returns, Albert tells her that Harry is still in love with her, but she tells Albert that she does not want a reconciliation. Meanwhile, Harry thinks that his wife is involved with another man and locks himself in his room. The senator and Edie discover Pauline hidden in their house and decide to take her to her home, leaving Miriam to baby-sit the twins. Mrs. Baxter then changes her mind and goes to Albert's apartment to tell him that she wants to get back together with Harry. However, Harry has found out about Albert and has headed for his apartment armed, apparently, with Albert's gun. Miriam phones Robbie to enlist his help and they go to Albert's apartment, but no one is there. When the senator and Edie return to find the twins gone, they suspect Harry of kidnapping them and phone the police. They are at the police station when Albert, who jumped out of his apartment window to avoid Harry, is brought in. Plainclothes policemen then bring in Miriam and Robbie, and she explains that Ruth returned early and picked up the twins. Edie admits that she was unhappy about having Albert's gun in the house and had hidden it. All is resolved when Harry, his wife and daughter arrive, and he declares that he has learned how to control his temper and discovered the truth about what has been going on. As a result of observing and experiencing the Wilkinses, he says, he has acquired a greater appreciation and understanding of his wife and daughter. The senator's life returns to normal until a few days later, when a huge, tough-looking gardener arrives at the Wilkins home.
Billy De Wolfe
Patty Lou Arden
John F. Seitz
Dear Brat was the third and final installment in Paramount's "Dear Ruth" series. The first two-Dear Ruth (1947) and Dear Wife (1949)-starred Joan Caulfield as "Ruth Wilkins Seacroft" and William Holden as "Bill Seacroft" (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). In Dear Brat, Ruth and Bill are mentioned in the dialogue, but not seen. In addition to Mona Freeman, who plays "Miriam Wilkins," Edward Arnold, Billy De Wolfe and Mary Philips appeared in all three pictures. Although not listed in the onscreen credits, Norman Krasna wrote the play on which Dear Ruth and the series characters were based.
William Regnolds, who later changed his name to Reynolds, made his screen acting debut in the picture. Walter Baldwin and Larry Keating were announced as cast members in Hollywood Reporter news items but did not appear in the final film. Hollywood Reporter news items also announced Roger Creed, Scott Chase, Christopher Chase, Craig Elia and Curtis Elia as cast members, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.