Apartment for Peggy

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Apartment for Peggy
Apartment for Peggy VideoCover.png
Directed by George Seaton
Produced by William Perlberg
Written by Faith Baldwin (story)
George Seaton
Starring Jeanne Crain
William Holden
Edmund Gwenn
Edited by Robert L. Simpson
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox
Release date(s) October 15, 1948
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Apartment for Peggy is a 1948 film about a depressed professor whose spirits are lifted when he rents part of his home to a young couple. It was based on the novelette An Apartment for Jenny by Faith Baldwin. Campus exteriors were filmed at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Plot[edit]

Jason Taylor (Holden) is a World War II veteran of the United States Navy. A survivor of the sinking of the USS Vincennes, he aspires to become a chemistry teacher and is attending college on the G.I. Bill. His wife Peggy (Crain) is a vibrant, energetic, and pregnant young woman seeking a suitable residence where Jason can concentrate on his studies without anxiety. She becomes acquainted with widower and retired philosophy professor Henry Barnes (Gwenn), who is planning to commit suicide soon.

Barnes' friend Professor Edward Bell (Lockhart) is the director of housing for the Veterans Administration at the university and arranges for the Taylors to room with Barnes to give him a reason to live.

The story opens with a chamber-music session where Henry acts strangely. At the drug store, Henry calls his friend, Professor Edward Bell, and tells him he intends to commit suicide. When they meet Henry discusses his plan to finish his last bit of work then end it all. Edward contacts Henry's doctor, Dr. Philip Conway, who gives Henry a physical and finds him in very good health even though most men his age "have been dead for 10 years". Henry asks for and gets some sleeping pills, but only two at a time. Henry says he won't sleep that well with only two, but Dr Philip says that "he will sleep better".

Peggy finds Henry on a park bench, where he is fascinated by her 19-yearold slang and vitality. She overloads Henry with her discussion of Jason, her husband and student veteran. Homeless due to being bumped by a mother and not just expectant, Peggy confides that the "creep" housing administrator is not responsive. Henry responds that Edward, the housing administrator is a good friend and capable. Henry lays out his case as being a useless old professor. Peggy tells him to start living with a capital "L". Off she goes, Henry is in a fog, and gets a call later from Edward with Peggy in his office.

Henry discusses Peggy with Edward; he becomes political and can’t change the rules. Peggy makes up a bunch of statistics (one of her favorite wiles) and overwhelms Edward's sensibilities. He finds Henry's name in his card file and discovers that he has a spare attic. Edward tells Peggy to go over to Henry's house and check the place out.

Peggy and Jason meet back in their trailer home, which is just a small, cramped camper. Jason is very pleased with his first report card: all above 90's except his nemesis, Chemistry, in which he got only an 86. Dinner is money talk, more money talk. Jason tells her that he's being offered a TA job for next term, and Peggy is very excited at this. Jason, however, has had a letter from a friend of his who has a job in Chicago as a car salesman, and that he could get Jason a job there too. Jason observes that a teaching assistant's pay is much less than a used car salesman's $150 per week. Peggy generates more spontaneous statistics, but Jason is wise to her ruse.

Next day, Peggy shows up at Professor Henry's home to discuss his spare rooms. The attic, currently a storage space for old stuff is just perfect for Peggy, old stuff or not. The stairs are menacing, and the place is huge with a tall ceiling and only needs a woman's touch. Henry says he's leaving on March 1. She digs into the place, measures for curtains, starts banging and moving the 'stuff' around with a lot of racket. Henry is ready to jump ship but settles for a remote library in a more remote part of the home. He shows his mental blocking technique by reciting the books of the bible. Later Jason is there to witness the lights blow on the overloading of one electric outlet.

Jason goes off to the drug store to find a fuse and returns with not only a fuse, but a stray dog in tow as well. Peggy plays around with moving a couch in Henry's favorite room. He reads her the riot act about his deceased wife having decorated this room decades ago and it's 'Hands Off!' Peggy soothes the moment by playing the piano. Peggy's dog and the cat create more havoc, both noisy and messy, or so Henry thinks. Professor Henry has found his more-than-robust voice which he seems to use frequently. Peggy on the other hand has started to call Henry "Pop". Henry calls Philip to request more sleeping pills, and there is now a hidden plot developing between Henry, Dr Philip and the drug store.

The attic is transformed into a one room suite with the junk made useful. Though the whole creation was accomplished without dignity, planning, nor outside assistance according to Henry. Jason wants to become a teacher, preferably Chemistry and is somewhat upset that in America more money is spent on alcohol than education. Peggy goes off on a discourse on teaching children by starting in the womb and continuing with bombardment from then on to prevent the little ones from becoming "little heels". Henry is exhausted by just listening to Peggy, but he is enjoying the company.

The attic is a success, but it's still an attic and not very elegant to Jason. Henry's two new pills arrive and he stores them in his desk with his first batch, ah ha! Henry goes into his study and moves the couch into the spot recommended by Peggy; apparently he's softening up, a little. The next day, Peggy decides to serve Henry his breakfast in bed. Her energy is contagious. Peggy is off to the laundry and discusses a lipstick stain with one of the expectant wives. The wives feel uneducated, inadequate, and Peggy senses their fear of being left behind by their student husbands. Peggy and Henry discuss the fact that education is driving the couples apart instead of together. Henry and Peggy hatch a plan to hold a class for the wives, starting with philosophy. Pop gets the job to start the ball rolling. They source a meeting place, and the first introductory class is scheduled for an hour. Henry lays an egg with his old "man" jokes, but bounces back with a crack that at least the joke brought on "complete silence", the audience roars. Socrates didn't believe in democracy, the crowd is really into it, and the women participate wonderfully. Books are recommended, notes taken and the wives are great students. Pop at the end tells the class that he had come there to teach and ended up learning also and thanks them. He also tells them that this is the first time that he had to remind a class that it had ended 20 minutes earlier. He is a great success and he did it from the other side of a pool table and behind the "8 ball".

Henry comes home, plays with the dog and hears a baby crying in the attic. Running up in a panic, he finds Peggy baby-sitting and Peggy says they've decided if the baby is a boy they will name him "Henry Barnes Taylor". Jason is a big help, with the furnace and cooking; Peggy is doing the laundry and cleaning and Henry now has an impromptu family. Henry stashes away a few more pills—he hasn't completely given up on his original plan. Jason and Henry try to assemble a tiny tot bath, but the directions may as well be in Sanskrit. The exercise is maddening. They endure several do-overs and ask Nicky the dog for help. Under weight testing it fails and the discussion switches to Jason's difficulty in Chemistry. Henry gets a blanket instead.

Jason just doesn't think he's doing the right thing as a husband. Month to month there is always something that can't be taken care of. Jason feels that it will never work.

The shower is a success, and Peggy feels that the baby is having a problem. Jason is telling his Chem teacher that he's going to quit. Right in the middle of this, Peggy has a miscarriage. All are despondent with words very hard to find. Henry and Jason walk home and there is but a simple "Why?" Peggy the next day puts on an amazing false front for Prof. Barnes. Henry tells Peggy that though she lost a child, that it was an "exchange"—the baby's life for his, and that he has cancelled his plan to kill himself (for now). Jason now plans to move to Chicago to sell cars, and Pop wants to move his room into the library and Peggy into his bedroom.

Dr. Philip tells Henry that Peggy's funk is not health-related but her disappointment from Jason having given up on his dream to become a teacher. Henry is off to address the circumstances with Jason. Communications are difficult, and guilt has taken the driver's seat. The Chicago sales job isn't teaching. Henry had a word with the Dean and Jason can come back and still take his exams. Jason talks money and fear of his Chemistry class. Jason learns the shortcomings of being a teacher versus the happiness that comes from being a real contributor in life. Henry returns and tries to tell a tall tale to Peggy. She sees right through it, but Henry tells her that his house is her home. Professor Henry slips further into his depression.

Jason sneaks back to take a shot at passing his exams. The professors are all excited and really think Jason can make it. He sails through his first groups of exams, but Chemistry is a bear. He blows his first attempt and throws the whole experiment to the floor. His Chem Prof, also a veteran, discusses Jason's Navy career and his own on the Wasp. He gives Jason a whole new setup and they reach common ground. Anything worth something has a price.

Henry is at home and decides to take his saved-up stash of pills. Peggy calls his colleagues and Dr. Philip tells the bunch that the pills aren't sleeping pills, but something that would not kill him. Jason shows up and they give Henry coffee and walk him until he drops. Jason tells Henry that he knew lots of guys who died during the war—perhaps even Henry's son—who would love to have the Professor’s options to continue to live.

The final scene has the orchestra together, Peggy announcing she's pregnant, and Henry scowling at his doctor for giving him the phony pills. Jason grabs Peggy during one of her statistical moments and pulls her into the kitchen. All's well that ends well.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]