Cast & Crew
Charles "buddy" Rogers
When Carmelita Lindsey threatens to divorce her husband Dennis on their first wedding anniversary because of his preoccupation with business, uncle Matt Lindsey decides to reconcile the quareling couple by bringing an infant into their lives. Consequently, Matt cables his friend, Lord Basil Epping, to arrange for Dennis and Carmelita to adopt a French war orphan. Lord Epping adopts an orphan from the wrong war, however, and arrives in New York with Fifi, a blonde French bombshell. To keep his new "daughter" secret from Carmelita, Dennis orders Matt to take Fifi out of town, and they hide out at the Bide A While Inn at Lake Cherokee. Soon after, Fifi's fiancée, Lieutenant Pierre Gaston de la Blanc, visits the Lindsey apartment in search of Fifi, leading Aunt Della to think that Carmelita is having an affair with him. After Pierre leaves, Aunt Della hears a radio broadcast from Lake Cherokee announcing that advertising executive Matt Lindsey is dancing with Fifi at the resort, and she insists upon immediately driving to the lake. Meanwhile, at the resort, Miss Pepper, the hotel manager, has become suspicious of Matt and Fifi's relationship and hides under Matt's bed to discover if he is an adulterer. Aunt Della, Carmelita, Dennis and Lord Epping then arrive at the lake, and after accusing Carmelita of adultery, Della bursts into Matt's room, where she finds Miss Pepper hiding under the bed. At that moment, Matt, who has been fixing a leaky faucet in Fifi's room, returns to his roo, and Della instructs Miss Pepper to call the police. When Della refuses to believe the truth about Fifi, Matt says that she is Lord Epping's fiancée, and Carmelita persuades Matt to pose as Epping and tell Della that he plans to divorce Lady Ada Epping. Lady Epping then arrives at the resort in search of her husband, and is greeted by Della who offers her sympathy. Marital woes abound when Carmelita overhears Fifi call Dennis "daddy," and she demands a divorce. Soon after, Pierre arrives at the hotel looking for Fifi, and Miss Pepper informs him that she has registered with Matt. Pierre declares that he intends to duel Matt for his honor, until he overhears Miss Pepper confide to the desk clerk that Lord Epping is divorcing his wife to marry Fifi. Matt, who has disguised himself as Lord Epping to hide from Pierre, is astonished when the Frenchman challenges him to a duel at dawn and Carmelita chooses knives as his weapon. As dawn approaches, Carmelita calls the sheriff to stop the duel. Before the sheriff can put on his jacket, Miss Pepper, who has observed Matt donning his Lord Epping disguise, phones and announces that Lord Epping is an impostor. The duel begins, and as Matt uses his sword as a bat to fend off Pierre's knives, the sheriff arrives. Miss Pepper then unmasks Matt, but when the real Lord Epping enters the hotel lobby, she faints.
Charles "buddy" Rogers
Corson J. Jowett
Van Nest Polglase
Charles E. Roberts
The Mexican Spitfire's Baby
Between 1939 and 1943, the Mexican-born Lupe Velez teamed with rubber-legged one-time Ziegfeld Follies star Leon Errol for a series of eight fast-paced, slapstick comedies about the adventures of a fiery Latin singer (Velez) married to an advertising man. Her efforts to embrace domesticity were aided and just-as-often undermined by her husband's eccentric Uncle Matt (Errol), who bore a striking resemblance to British whiskey baron Lord Basil Epping (also Errol) and, in one installment, Epping's valet. It wasn't exactly Noel Coward, but the series was popular enough with rural audiences to keep RKO studios churning out entries until Velez decided to move on to other projects.
Velez was at a career low-point when RKO studio head George Schaeffer tapped her for the lead role in The Girl from Mexico (1939), in which she starred as a singer brought to the U.S. by ad man Donald Woods. The film did so well, Schaeffer, who also was instrumental in bringing Orson Welles to RKO, signed her to a contract that kept her playing Carmelita and similar roles for four years. For the other seven films, the series capitalized on a nickname that Velez's energetic performances and offscreen behavior had earned her early in her Hollywood career, "The Mexican Spitfire." Made for pennies, these B films provided the second half of double features with more prestigious films, though in many cases, they proved more popular than the films they supported. Other constants in the series were director Leslie Goodwins, who helmed all eight movies, and Elisabeth Risdon, cast as Velez's snobbish aunt by marriage, who spends every Spitfire film trying to break up the relationship so her nephew can find a more suitable wife.
Carmelita's adventures encompassed everything from smuggling (Mexican Spitfire's Elephant, 1942) to seeking a divorce (Mexican Spitfire Out West, 1940). For The Mexican Spitfire's Baby (1941), the studio teased audiences with the possibility of an addition to the family, only to reveal that the war orphan Carmelita and her husband try to adopt is really a full-grown and very seductive Frenchwoman named Fifi (Marion Martin). New to the series is Charles "Buddy" Rogers, who took over the role of Carmelita's husband from Woods and would keep the part for two more films. (Walter Reed would play the husband in the series' final two entries). In addition, ZaSu Pitts joined a string of character comics -- including Cecil Kellaway, Tom Kennedy, Alan Carney and Mantan Moreland -- who graced the series with their work.
Trivia Question #2: Which Mexican Spitfire regular would go on to win an Oscar&;? Answer: Although putting "Mexican Spitfire" and Oscar® in the same sentence seems something of an oxymoron, Rogers would win the Motion Picture Academy's® Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1985. The third (and last) husband of silent-screen legend Mary Pickford, Rogers became extensively involved in charity work in the '60s, often acting on behalf of his wife, who preferred to stay out of the limelight. It was hardly his first brush with Oscar®, however. He was also the star of the first Best Picture winner, Wings, in 1927.
Producer: Cliff Reid
Director: Leslie Goodwins
Screenplay: Charles E. Roberts, Jerry Cady, James Casey
Based on a story by Charles E. Roberts
Cinematography: Jack MacKenzie
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase
Music: C. Bakaleinikoff
Cast: Lupe Velez (Carmelita Lindsay), Leon Errol (Uncle Matt Lindsay/Lord Basil Epping), Charles "Buddy" Rogers (Dennis Lindsay), Elisabeth Risdon (Aunt Della Lindsay), ZaSu Pitts (Miss Pepper), Marion Martin (Fifi).
by Frank Miller
The Mexican Spitfire's Baby
The working title of this film was Lord Epping Sees a Ghost. This was the third in RKO's "Mexican Spitfire" series, which began in 1939 with Mexican Spitfire. The series was sometimes referred to as the "Lord Epping" series. For additional information about the series, see the Series Index and consult the entry for the 1939 film Mexican Spitfire in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.2846.