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Helen's Babies Movie Review

baby peggy william children

I have yet to see this movie, but not for lack of trying. When I heard that a print had surfaced in a Moscow archive, I sent letter after letter, trying to track it down. I tried asking a film archive if there was any way it could be shown there. No dice! But I WILL see this movie some day. Helen's Babies first surfaced as a very funny children's book by John Habberton, focusing on the trials and tribulations of a Victorian bachelor (circa 1875) who, due to circumstances beyond his control, must temporarily care for his sister's two small children. In the book, Toddie and Budge were little boys, but for the independent film production, the story was redesigned as a vehicle for child star Baby Peggy and co-star Jean Carpenter. Surviving stills suggest that the time frame may have been updated by 40 years, as well. Director William A. Seiter (1892–1964) went on to direct the Shirley Temple classics Dimples, Stowaway, and Susannah of the Mounties. Cinematographer William Daniels (1895–1970) shot such MGM classics as Anna Christie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and How the West Was Won, and won the Oscar for The Naked City. Edward Everett Horton (1886–1976), one of the drollest character actors ever, played Uncle Harry, and lovely Clara Bow (1905–65) appeared as his romantic interest, Alice Mayton. Baby Peggy grew up to be writer Diana Serra Cary, author of such carefully researched and beautifully written books as The Hollywood Posse, Hollywood's Children, and Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy? Helen's Babies may or may not be a comedy classic, but with that cast and that crew, I hope that Grapevine Video or some other kind distributor will put me out of my misery and let us see this one soon!

1925 m/B Baby Peggy, Jean Carpenter, Clara Bow, Edward Everett Horton, Claire Adams, Richard Tucker, George Reed, Mattie Peters; D: William A. Seiter; W: Hope Loring, Louis Leighton; C: William H. Daniels.

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