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Bundle of Joy

Bundle of Joy(1956)

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Just before Christmas at the Merlin and Son department store, millinery saleslady Polly Parrish expects a raise in honor of her high sales record. Instead, however, her bosses, Mr. Creely and Mr. Hargraves, plan to fire her for her overzealous selling techniques, which result in numerous returns. Meanwhile, store owner John B. Merlin sees to every detail of the store's administration, and worries that his son Dan will resent giving up his interest in music in order to join his father in business. After assuring his father that he is happy to run the store, Dan secretly sings in the employee lounge. After Polly turns down supply clerk Freddie Miller's invitation to a dance contest that night, she is called into Merlin's office and fired. Shocked and upset, Polly is forced to accept Freddie's invitation in order to compete for the $100 prize money. On her lunch break she searches for a new job, but finds none. Next to the employment office is an orphanage, outside which Polly spots a baby and picks him up. Orphanage manager Mr. Appleby immediately assumes she is the mother, and attempts to convince her to keep the child, but Polly flees. Appleby discovers her work address, however, and goes there to urge Dan to re-hire Polly so she can afford to care for her child. Dan calls Polly in and announces that she is getting a raise and a gift that will be delivered to her that night. Confused, Polly goes home to find Mr. Appleby and the baby, and although she tries to return the child, Appleby refuses to take him back. Freddie then arrives to pick Polly up for the dance, and upon seeing the baby, assumes with glee that Polly's morals are more lax than she has previously indicated. When they see the Merlins on television receiving an award, Polly decides to drop off the baby at their house. She leaves the child with Adams, the Merlins' butler, and when Dan learns of the ruse, he jumps into his car and follows Polly and Freddie to the dance contest. There, Dan is forced to take a partner on the floor in order to talk to Polly, but is disqualified before he can reach her. Freddie and Polly, to their disappointment, win a trophy instead of cash, and later, Polly finds Dan waiting in her apartment with the baby. Furious and disbelieving of her story that she found the baby, Dan fires Polly again. To gain his sympathy, she lies that her husband beat her and she cannot afford to keep the child, prompting Dan to once again offer her a raise. After he leaves, Polly's landlady, Mrs. Dugan, helps her to care for the baby. When Polly, who knows so little about children that she thinks the baby is a girl, names him Jean, Mrs. Dugan agrees that "John" is a good name. At work the next day, Polly is exhausted, but is pleased by Dan's continuing attention. Freddie, who assumes that Dan is the baby's father, urges Polly to "put in a good word" for him, and when he is coincidentally promoted soon after, believes she influenced Dan. Later, Dan visits Polly with gifts for John, and clumsily helps her sing the baby to sleep. On New Year's Eve, Polly is content to stay home with John, whom she has grown to love. However, Dan, whose date has cancelled on him for not calling her sooner, shows up at her door and announces that Mrs. Dugan will baby-sit while they attend a dance. Because Polly has no appropriate clothes, Dan brings her to the store and outfits her in sequins and furs. Her beauty stuns the other men at the dance, who monopolize her all evening, despite Dan's pretense that she is Swedish and knows no English. Just before midnight, Dan insists that they leave, and they are swept into the raucous revelry in the city streets. They are separated in the crowd but meet back at Polly's apartment, where Dan fires her in order to kiss her without breaking company rules. After a passionate embrace, he re-hires her. The next day, Polly is forced to turn down Dan's offer of a date because she has no one to watch John, and although she fears that he is losing interest, in reality he is arranging for her to receive another raise so she can hire a sitter. Meanwhile, Freddie is demoted for his incompetence, and extracts revenge by sending a note to Merlin stating that Dan has a son. Merlin receives the note while Dan and Polly are meeting in the park, and pursues them there. When Merlin sees John, he is overjoyed, and orders Dan to marry Polly and move the boy onto their estate. Dan tries to explain that he is not the father but Merlin, desperate for a grandchild, declares that he will get John one way or another. Dan races to Polly's to warn her that his father is summoning his lawyers, and Polly, who is determined to keep John, feels insulted by Dan's insistence that he will not allow his father to force him to marry her. She throws Dan out, then persuades Mrs. Dugan's college-aged nephew, Mike Clancy, to pose as her long-lost husband. She brings Mike to Merlin's, where the old man sadly accepts her tale that the child is theirs. Just then, however, Dan, who has had the same idea, brings in Freddie, claiming that he is the baby's father. Assuming that Mike is Polly's abusive ex-husband, Dan punches the young man, and in the ensuing chaos Polly runs home. She is packing her bags when Dan bursts in. Polly declares that she is leaving with the baby, but Dan declares that he is John's new father, and Polly realizes that he trying to propose. Together, they admire their "bundle of joy."