Watching 1939: Yes, My Darling Daughter (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film:  Yes, My Darling Daughter

Release date: 
Feb. 25, 1939

Cast: 
Priscilla Lane, Jeffrey Lynn, Roland Young, Fay Bainter, May Robson, Genevieve Tobin, Ian Hunter, Robert Homans

Studio: 
Warner Brothers Studios

Director: 
William Keighley

Plot:
Trying to follow in her mother’s feminist footsteps, Ellen (Lane) decides that she and her boyfriend Doug (Lynn) will spend a weekend alone in a cabin before he goes to Belgium for two years for a job. Though her mother Ann (Bainter) lived a single life in Greenwich Village, she isn’t thrilled at the prospect of her unmarried daughter staying the weekend with a man.

1939 Notes:
• Priscilla Lane was in five movies released in 1939 and she co-starred with Jeffrey Lynn in four of them: Four Wives, Yes, My Darling Daughter, Daughters Courageous and Roaring Twenties. Jeffrey Lynn was in six films in 1939.
• Fay Bainter was in four films released in 1939.

Other trivia: 
• The film was banned by New York State censors and the City Welfare Board of Nebraska because it discusses a couple living together before they are married.
• Based on a 1937 play

Fay Bainter, Jeffrey Lynn and Priscilla Lane in “Yes, My Darling Daughter” (1939)

My review: Searching for the “1939 feature”:
For a B movie made by Warner Brothers, this film is deceptively and surprisingly saucy. The title “Yes, Darling Daughter” doesn’t depict much in the storyline.

As it turns out, the darling daughter, Priscilla Lane, realizes she is in love with her boyfriend, played with Jeffrey Lynn, before he’s about to go away to Belgium for a job. Wanting to spend their last moments together, Lane suggests that they spend a weekend alone at a cabin together. Now by today’s standards, an unmarried couple going off for a weekend isn’t all that surprising, but for 1939, this was not proper and would be the source of scandal.

Lane’s mother, played by Fay Bainter, was a free-spirited and open-minded in her youth and behaved in a similar manner as her daughter. However, though Bainter was forward thinking about her own life, she isn’t too thrilled when it’s the life her daughter has selected.

While the plot sounds serious, this movie is quite funny with quips from May Robson and Roland Young.

Priscilla Lane and Jeffrey Lynn are a forgotten and underrated screen couple and they made several of their films together in 1939, including this one. They fit well and Lynn was handsome and charming. Lane underrated as a leading lady and is energetic in this role but also firm in her beliefs.

“Yes, My Darling Daughter” isn’t the top film of anyone in the cast but a fun comedic romp on morality.

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