Cast & Crew
After William Watts is fired from his job as a clerk in the city marriage bureau, he is encouraged by his loving neighbor, Cynthia Douglas, to start his own "matrimonial" business by advertising his matchmaking skills in the newspaper. Flooded with responses, William's business soon blossoms into a prosperous enterprise, which is aided by the legal expertise of sometime taxicab driver Bramwell Van Dusen. William's ability at matchmaking attracts the attention of "Big" Barney Nolan, the crooked president of the Civil Betterment Bureau, who tries unsuccessfully to buy out the company. While a frustrated Nolan orders Clem, the district attorney, to "investigate" William, Van Dusen's ex-wife, Allie Summers, threatens to expose their divorce to the straightlaced William unless she is introduced to a millionaire Oklahoma bachelor named Don Beldon. Although William decides that Cynthia, who is now working as his receptionist, should be the "unsullied" match for Don, Allie forces herself on the innocent oilman. To divert Allie, William tricks her into taking an overnight boat cruise with him, and consequently, Cynthia, believing that William is Allie's lover, agrees to marry Don. After Allie accuses Don of seducing her during a drunken date, however, William insists that Don marry Allie instead of Cynthia. Don then reveals that his real name is Diker and telephones the district attorney to tell him of the apparent fraud. Unaware that the police are raiding his business, a disillusioned William goes to see Nolan with an offer to sell. Nolan, also uninformed, hands William a $25,000 check, only to learn later that his purchase is worthless. With the office in ruins, Van Dusen asks Allie to remarry him, and William finally proposes to Cynthia.
Clarence H. Wilson
Pandro S. Berman
James B. Morley
Van Nest Polglase
Bachelor Bait came very early in the career of Oscar®-winning director George Stevens (A Place in the Sun , Giant ). Stevens had recently joined the RKO family following a promising start at Universal where he had directed several shorts as well as his first feature film called The Cohens and Kellys in Trouble (1933).
Stevens started out at RKO directing comic shorts, but his contract there promised him that he would get the chance to make at least one feature film. After being loaned out to MGM to direct a Laurel and Hardy segment in the 1934 revue Hollywood Party, Stevens finally got his chance when RKO assigned him to direct the feature Bachelor Bait.
Stevens handled the breezy comedy of Bachelor Bait with ease, and the film was well-received. Its success helped Stevens hone his directing skills and prime him for the long list of distinguished films that followed.
Bachelor Bait features some charming performances and entertaining comic situations that remind audiences of how little has changed over the years in the matchmaking business. Richard "Skeets" Gallagher and Pert Kelton are hilarious as Watts' scene-stealing business partner and his brassy ex-wife.
Director: George Stevens
Screenplay: Glenn Tryon; Edward Halperin, Victor Halperin (story)
Cinematography: David Abel
Art Direction: Carroll Clark, Van Nest Polglase
Film Editing: James B. Morley
Cast: Stuart Erwin (Mr. William Watts), Rochelle Hudson (Cynthia Douglas), Pert Kelton (Allie Summers), Skeets Gallagher (Bramwell Van Dusen, a Lawyer), Burton Churchill ('Big' Barney Nolan), Grady Sutton (Don Belden/Diker), Clarence H. Wilson (District Attorney Clement Graftsman).
by Andrea Passafiume
The working title of this film was The Great American Harem. Bachelor Bait was the first feature that George Stevens made for RKO. In a February 1934 Film Daily news item, Ginger Rogers and William Gargan were announced as the stars of the picture, and William Seiter was listed as director. Chick Chandler and Edgar Kennedy were included as cast members in Motion Picture Herald's "In the Cutting Room," but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed.