3 May 2013 | blanche-2
early Glenn Ford
"Babies for Sale" is a B movie, a very early Glenn Ford film, from 1940, produced by Columbia. This type of movie was often used to train up and coming stars and to see if they caught on with the public.
Ford plays investigative reporter Steve Burton who wants to write about the illegal baby racket, where unscrupulous "charities" sell babies for cash. His editor gets a lot of pressure when the story is published because adoption agencies think it's a bad reflection on them. When asked to print a retraction, Burton quits.
He eventually gets onto an illegal baby racket headed up by a unscrupulous doctor (Miles Mander). A young widow, Ruth Williams (Rochelle Hudson), has gone to his agency for a place to stay until her baby is born, not realizing her chances of getting out of there with her baby are next to nothing. They pressure her to sign a release, but she refuses. After her baby is born, she is told her baby died. With the help of another woman, she gets away and is approached by Burton. A recently-released woman (the one who helped her initially) joins in the investigation with Ruth and Burton.
These exposes were often over the top, and this one is no exception. However, it tells a human story with sympathetic characters. Ford is 24 years old and darkly handsome, with that beautiful smile, and despite some personal difficulties -- and interrupting his career for World War II -- he went on to a long career until his retirement in 1991. Rochelle Hudson is very sympathetic as a young mother who is certain her baby is not dead.
As a couple of reviews pointed out, apparently there were no illegitimate babies born in the United States at that time. If there had been unwed mothers in the film, I suppose they would have been depicted as sluts, otherwise the Hayes office wouldn't have allowed it.
Still, it's a good, well-acted film.