Cary Grant and Betsy Drake Make Room for One More

Cary Grant and Betsy Drake Make Room for One More
Of the many films made by Cary Grant, Room For One More is rarely on a film lover’s top ten list. Not as popular as Bringing Up Baby, Affair to Remember, or the many films he made with Alfred Hitchcock, Room for One More lacks the laughs of a screwball comedy or the thrills of being divebombed by a malevolent crop duster.

Instead, Room for One More is a quiet, family-oriented film based on the true story by Anna Perrott Rose. The film follows the journey of Anna Rose (Betsy Drake), her husband, Poppy (Cary Grant), and their three natural children (Malcolm Cassell, Gay Gordon, George Winslow) as they increase their family by adopting two troubled and unwanted preteens.

Anna Rose is known for taking in stray dogs, cats, and rabbits. Anything in need of a loving home and some mothering knows that the Rose home will provide love, food and necessities. The problem is that, although the Roses have big hearts, they have small pocketbooks. They have enough to pay the bills, but little money for anything extra.

While Poppy is concerned about the added expense two more children will incur, he is resigned to the fact that Anna’s strong maternal instincts will win the day.

Both of the fostered children come to the Rose household under their own, unique circumstances.

Jane (Iris Mann) has been beaten, abused, and ultimately abandoned by her mother. Iris is angry and untrusting of adults as a result. She has no difficulty in lashing out verbally as she pretends to be strong and independent. Inside, she is just a frightened little girl.

Jimmy John (Clifford Tatum Jr.) is sickly. He has braces on both legs and has endured endless teasing by his classmates because of his affliction. After spending more time in hospitals than in classrooms, twelve-year-old Jimmy John cannot yet read. He deals with his frustrations by lashing out with his fists.

The film is, however, quite engaging. You will find yourself pulling for Jimmy John as he struggles to ride a bike.

You will feel a tug in your heart when Jane’s prom date dumps her at the last minute, simply because she is adopted.

At the heart of it, Drake and Grant are convincingly parental, even though – in reality – neither had any children at the time. The couple married in 1950, two years before the filming of this picture. They never had children of their own during their thirteen-year marriage, and ironically made just two films together; both focused on couples having children and raising a family.

Whether or not you are a fan of its stars, Room for One More is a fine film that illuminates some of the obstacles faced by families when adopting older children. In the end, it is triumphant proving that even the most difficult circumstances can be conquered with understanding and love.

NOTE: I screened this film at my own expense and not at the request of any outside company or service. Free-to-view versions might be available digitally. This film may also be available for purchase or through subscription-based services.

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