Cast & Crew
Twenty years after his brilliant college career, Gilbert Jordan Thompson is unable to find employment. While applying for a job as a deck hand, Gilbert sees the desperate figure of a woman about to leap from the pier. Approaching her, Gilbert learns that her name is Marian Edwards, and after convincing her to have a cup of coffee with him, he finds her a job as a waitress. Returning to the waiting room at the docks, Gilbert finds Chum, an abandoned infant with a note from his mother pleading for help. Chum is actually Marian's son, but Gilbert, unaware of this, takes the foundling home.
Soon afterward, Marian returns to the docks and begins a frantic search for her missing baby. Meanwhile, the penniless Gilbert steals a bottle of milk to feed the infant, but he is apprehended for his crime and brought before Judge Joseph M. Williams. Williams, an old college chum of Gilbert, takes pity on him and arranges a job for him as a teacher at an exclusive girls' school. Informed by Madame Granville, the stern head of the school, that families are not permitted, Gilbert turns Chum's care over to Mama Lupini.
Meanwhile, the girls, led by Doris, are irked because Gilbert is unattractive and overly conscientious, and try to get him fired by feigning they are in love with him. When they discover Chum, however, they are touched by the plight of the little foundling and his guardian, and delegate themselves as co-mothers. The girls' attempts at shielding Gilbert from detection fail when Madame Granville discovers Chum in his room and fires him. Just as Gilbert is about to leave the school, Marian, who has been searching for her son, appears and explains the situation to Madame Granville, who then rehires Gilbert.
Ed J. Brady
Daniel B. Cathcart
Edwin B. Willis
This film was Eddie Cantor's only picture for M-G-M and Bonita Granville's first picture with the studio following her departure from Warner Bros., where she had made four popular "Nancy Drew" films in 1938 and 1939. In 1938, National Pictures released the French film on which this picture is based in the United States. The film's U.S. release title for the French film was also Forty Little Mothers. A modern source notes that actress Veronica Lake appeared in this film using the name Constance Keane.