Tammy and the Bachelor (1957): A Classic Movie Review

Tammy and the Bachelor Starring Debbie Reynolds

This review of Tammy and the Bachelor was chosen in honor of the late Leslie Nielsen, the film’s leading man.

I’d never seen the film before, and for the first 15 minutes or so, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. It started out on a fairly hokey note, with Debbie Reynolds‘ backwoods girl Tammy rescuing Peter (Nielsen) when his plane crashes near the houseboat where she lives with her moonshiner Grandpa (Walter Brennan).

Once Tammy found herself a visitor in Peter’s ancestral Southern mansion, the movie quickly won me over. Innocent, direct Tammy’s honest opinions lead to some amusing moments and help Peter’s parents (Sidney Blackmer and Fay Wray) and his aunt (Mildred Natwick) discover what they truly want in life.

Reynolds and Nielsen are a charming pair in what turns out to be a gradual, tender romance. I liked that there was never any awful misunderstanding or other clichéd romantic problem. The fadeout set to the classic theme music brought a happy tear to my eye. Plain and simple, it’s a feel-good movie.

The title song by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans is sung by The Ames Brothers over the opening credits. Reynolds’ gentle, heartfelt performance of the song, sitting on a window seat late at night, is the loveliest scene in the film. Indeed, it’s a quintessential ’50s movie moment which lingers in the memory.

Nielsen’s obituaries have largely focused on the comedy roles for which he became so well known in the last part of his career. When I think of him, first and foremost I think of his roles as a handsome leading man of the ’50s and early ’60s. This movie was released the year after Nielsen appeared in the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet. He’s quite good in a sincere performance as a nice guy who gradually realizes Tammy’s all grown up and the woman he’s meant to be with.

The cast also includes Mala Powers, Louise Beavers, Philip Ober and Craig Hill. It was directed by Joseph Pevney (The Crowded Sky) and was filmed in Technicolor and CinemaScope. The movie runs 89 minutes and is available in a nice print on DVD along with Tammy Tell me True and Tammy and the Doctor.

Laura G. is a proofreader and homeschooling parent who is a lifelong film enthusiast.  Laura’s thoughts on classic films, Disney, and other topics can be found at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings, established in 2005.  Visit her website at http://www.laurasmiscmusings.blogspot.com.

  • JUanita Curtis

    One of my all time favourite theme songs and really loved Debbie Reynolds as Tammy.

  • John STaggs

    One of the all time great films of the 50′s I remember the day I first saw it at the Fox Tower in Kansas City, mo. as a young boy. I fell in love with this film.

  • Marjorie

    The best part of the movie is when she’s dresses up as his great great grandmother and tells the story of how she came to live in the big house. Very cool.

  • Sandy Roerish

    This is one of my all time favorite movies…

  • Gail

    Debbie Reynolds was by far the best of the Tammys. I just purchased the 3 Tammy DVD collection and love the movie

  • Philip Mealey

    One of the great movie memories of my childhood was watching Debby sing on the windowsill. A not to be forgotten moment in movie history!

  • xDJ@V.YouBraveWorld.Tube

    It’s bearable because of Leslie Nielsen compared to Susan Slept Here. Yuck.

  • Mary

    Very sweet movie. Love the scenes with Mildred Natwick. The song was very popular. My sisters and I wore out the record.

  • Joyce B

    An absolute delight from start to finish.

  • Leslie

    I loved the song as a little girl but have never seen the movie. I best remember Mildred Natwick as the waiting woman/witch in The Court Jester. She’s the messenger trying to impress on Danny Kaye that “the pellet with the poison is in the vessel with the pestle but the chalice with the palace has the brew that is true” and so on. Best scene in the movie, IMO!

  • Tammy B.

    I absolutely loved all three and i grew up watching these wonderful movies especially when my momma told me that she named me after the main character cause she loved the movie so much and it was fiitin all the same cause she was a down home southern country girl too from KY. It will always be one of my favorites

  • SLH

    A lovely movie…….wish they still made them like this…sigh