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Mama Steps Out (1937)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 5 February 1937 (USA)
Madcap comedy depicts a rich housewife dragging her family to France to absorb culture.


George B. Seitz


John Alexander Kirkpatrick (play) (as John Kirkpatrick), Anita Loos


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A 100-year-old pioneer woman tells her story in flashbacks.

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Complete credited cast:
Guy Kibbee ... Leonard 'Len' Cuppy
Alice Brady ... Ada Cuppy
Betty Furness ... Leila Cuppy
Dennis Morgan ... Chuck Thompson (as Stanley Morner)
Gene Lockhart ... Mr. Sims
Edward Norris ... Ferdie Fisher - the Bandleader
Gregory Gaye ... Dmitri 'Didi' Shekoladnikoff, the Pianist
Ivan Lebedeff ... Coco Duval - the Painter
Heather Thatcher ... Nadine Wentworth - the Poet
Frank Puglia ... Robert Dalderder - the Priest
Adrienne D'Ambricourt ... Jeanne - the Maid
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fred Malatesta ... French Guard (scenes deleted)


Madcap comedy depicts a rich housewife dragging her family to France to absorb culture.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Romance








Release Date:

5 February 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Burnt Fingers See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film's television premiere took place in Los Angeles Tuesday 18 June 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11); it first aired in Omaha 11 September 1957 on WOW (Channel 6), in Chicago 4 October 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), in Norfolk VA 11 October 1957 on WTAR (Channel 3), in Fresno CA 12 December 1957 on KMJ (Channel 24), in Honolulu 11 February 1958 on KHVH (Channel 13), in Philadelphia 26 February 1958 on WFIL (Channel 6), in Cincinnati 25 March 1958 on WLW-T (Channel 5), and in Spokane 9 July 1958 on KHQ (Channel 6). It finally found its way to San Francisco 20 January 1960 on KGO (Channel 7) & to New York City 19 August 1963 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »


Be Careful of My Heart
Music and Lyrics by Chet Forrest and Bob Wright
Sung by Dennis Morgan and The Three Dots
Reprised By Dennis Morgan
Played on a trombone by Dennis Morgan
Played as background music often
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User Reviews

A reworking of "Dodsworth" without the edge.
7 July 2013 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

reworking of "Dodsworth" but with comedy and less impact once again, a flighty woman wants to be accepted by the smart set in Europe

One of the very best (and underrated) films of the 1930s was "Dodsworth". It was a sad tale written by Sinclair Lewis in 1929 about an industrialist who has sold his company and did what his wife always wanted--move the family to Europe to soak up the culture. Unfortunately, instead of bringing the family together, this trip ended up exposing the truth about the marriage--that Mrs. Dodsworth was a selfish and shallow jerk. "Mama Steps Out" is a very, very similar story and is based on a play that debuted in 1930 and was filmed here in 1937 (a year after "Dodsworth"). The plot is essentially the same in many ways but instead of a drama, the film is played for laughs--and thereby loses so much of the impact of "Dodsworth". Now this doesn't mean it's a bad film but it's as if this reworking of the plot only produced a much more shallow and forgettable film.

Ada (Alice Brady) is sad because so far during their European trip, they've met no one and she desperately wants to fit into society. So, she instructs her boob of a husband, Len (Guy Kibbee) to bring home interesting people--with little success. Ultimately, Ada finds a bunch of folks--folks who are phonies and leeches. Not surprisingly, Len soon gets sick of them and throws the out--announcing that they're going home to America. Ada vows to stay in Europe. What's next?

If I had never heard of "Dodsworth", I would have probably enjoyed "Mama Steps Out" much more. But the problem is that "Dodsworth" is such a great story that the other can't help but seem like a very pale imitation. The edge and depth of "Dodsworth" is missing and instead "Mama Steps Out" is a light comedy--and loses much of the social commentary and depth in the process. It also provides a kooky ending--one that is rather bland. Now I am NOT saying "Mama Steps Out" is bad--it is still a nice and inoffensive time-passer.

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