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Life with Father (1947)

 -  Comedy  -  13 September 1947 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,968 users  
Reviews: 40 user | 14 critic

A financier from New York rules his numerous family, consisting of his wife and his four sons, with the meticulousity of a bookkeeper.

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(memoir "Life with Father"), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Title: Life with Father (1947)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Vinnie
...
...
Rev. Dr. Lloyd
...
Cora
Jimmy Lydon ...
Clarence
Emma Dunn ...
Margaret
Moroni Olsen ...
Dr. Humphries
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Mrs. Whitehead
Derek Scott ...
Harlan
Johnny Calkins ...
Whitney
...
John
Heather Wilde ...
Annie
Monte Blue ...
The Policeman
Mary Field ...
Nora
Edit

Storyline

In late nineteenth century New York a Wall Street broker likes to think his house runs his way, but finds himself constantly bemused at how much of what happens is down to his wife. His children are also stretching their wings, discovering girls and making money out of patent medicine selling. When it comes to light he has never been baptized and everyone starts insisting he must do so, it all starts to get a bit too much. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Here for all!! All the happiness of the play that ran longer, the laughs that were louder than any known before!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 September 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vivir con papá  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mary Pickford made several tests for the role of Vinnie, but the studio worried about her box office popularity after a 13-year absence from the screen. In the end, director Michael Curtiz vetoed her, as he preferred Irene Dunne. See more »

Goofs

The opening scene shows a carriage block with "Clarence Day" engraved on it. A few seconds later after the police man passes by, the carriage block has no engraving. See more »

Quotes

Father: I'm going to be baptized!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are superimposed on scenes of old New York, viewed as if through an old-fashioned stereopticon. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Strife with Father (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Genevieve
(1869) (uncredited)
Music by Henry Tucker
Lyrics by George Cooper
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Magnificent Film--But In Dire Need Of Restoration
11 June 2007 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

As an adult, Clarence Day Jr. (1874-1935) joined his well-known father on Wall Street--but developed a form of arthritis that left him a semi-invalid. Shortly before his death he published LIFE WITH FATHER, a humorous memoir of his Victorian childhood; sadly, he did not live to see its great success. A best seller, the novel was adapted to the stage in 1939 by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse. Warner Bro.s bought the film rights, agreeing to wait until the show finished its Broadway run; as it happened the studio had a long wait, for the play went on to become one of Broadway's longest running shows, playing almost eight years.

In acquiring the rights, Warner Bro.s also gave Clarence Day's widow and playwrights Lindsay and Crouse substantial power over the film version. Censorship issues of the day prevented an absolute translation of the script to the screen, but on the whole the script survived the transformation extremely well, and fueled by a host of flawless performances and remarkably fine production values LIFE WITH FATHER became as memorable on screen as it was on stage.

Clarence Day is an eccentric man, absolutely certain that he alone is correct in all decisions, and eternally running afoul of wife Vinnie's scatterbrained logic, his four sons, visiting relatives, and terrified servants. When a conversation reveals that he has never been baptized, Mr. Day laughs the matter off--but Vinnie is determined that he will be baptized whether he likes it or not. Comic battle-lines are drawn, and the result is a hilariously amusing portrait of Victorian manners and attitudes about everything from religion to the place of women in the world.

The performances are superlative. This would prove to be among the last great roles for both William Powell and Irene Dunne, who play Clarence and Vinnie Day, and to describe their work as flawless is actually an understatement: we completely believe in them from start to finish. The same is true of the cast in general, which includes a remarkably beautiful Elizabeth Taylor; legendary comic ZaSu Pitt; and even a very young Martin Milner. The costuming and sets also capture the look and feel of the era in remarkable fashion. The film is perfectly executed from start to finish.

But you might as well throw your money away than buy any of the releases presently available on VHS and DVD. There is not a one of them worth a dime: the color is atrocious, the sound is horrific, and the picture so blurry that the only thing you'll get for your money is a headache--and this has been true of every factory release I've seen to date.

It is a terrible shame that such a fine, indeed such a great film has been so incredibly neglected. Fortunately for all concerned, LIFE WITH FATHER continues to turn up on television fairly often. Until there is a restored release, don't buy a VHS or a DVD: tape it from television instead, for I can almost guarantee that the version you find there will be superior.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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