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Life with Father (1947)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 13 September 1947 (USA)
A financier from New York rules his numerous family, consisting of his wife and his four sons, with the meticulousness of a bookkeeper.



(memoir "Life with Father"), (screen play) | 2 more credits »

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Free at Internet Archive

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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rev. Dr. Lloyd
Clarence Jr.
Margaret (cook)
Dr. Humphries
Elisabeth Risdon ...
Mrs. Whitehead
Derek Scott ...
Harlan Day
Whitney Day
John Day
Heather Wilde ...
Annie (maid)
The Policeman
Mary Field ...


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


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




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

13 September 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vivir con papá  »

Box Office


$4,700,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Before filming began, the cast was taken to Perc Westmore's salon on a Sunday morning to have their hair dyed red. When it was time to rinse the dye, the beauticians discovered that the water had been turned off for the entire block because the street was being repaired. Because dyes were so strong then, leaving them on could have caused the cast to lose their hair. Luckily, someone suggested diluting the dye with cold cream. See more »


When Mr. Day is carrying his wife up the stairs after she faints, the way her head stiffly shakes, it is obvious that he is actually carrying a mannequin and not a person. See more »


Father: What did you pay for it?
[speaking of the pug dog figurine]
Vinnie: I didn't pay anything. I charged it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Although 'William Powell' is listed first and Irene Dunne is listed second in the viewed print on AMC, half of the actual prints listed Dunne first and Powell second. Not only did each version alternate daily in theaters, but so did the advertisements of the movie in newspapers. See more »


Referenced in Strife with Father (1950) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Definitely Worth Watching!
25 January 2004 | by (North Carolina) – See all my reviews

I was a bit skeptical about this film at first. In general, Hollywood period pieces from the 40's and 50's can be a bit too cornball for my tastes (not that that's a BAD thing, it just depends on what kind of mood you're in). But I gave this film a shot and I was pleasantly surprised. There are some genuinely hysterical moments here. And while the introductory storyline tends to drag just a bit, the true comedy soon emerges from the intermingled sub-plots. I think that the reviewers who have panned the film may have missed the point of it entirely. The character portrayals of the parents are cartoonish for a reason. Did you notice how the children are drawn in a slightly more three-dimensional light? It's because this film is, essentially, a satire. The reason the "folks" are so nutty is because the story is being told from the perspective of Clarence Day Jr. (at least, that's how it was originally written). What this movie attempts to do, and accomplishes in spades, is to poke a bit of fun at the uptight, button-down aristocracy of 19th century America. We have the excitable, self-absorbed, and completely delusional patriarch, and the neurotic, long-suffering, and religiously impressionable mother. This film rips the facade right from its hinges, and shows us what people were really like. The firm and omnipotent father is actually a stubborn but hen-pecked hypocrite. And his wife is no better! She schemes, plots, and manipulates to constantly gain control of her heel of a husband. And, quite admittedly, she usually succeeds. The kids are the only *normal* ones (except for an EXTREMELY annoying Liz Taylor, who plays her role like she's in a High School production of Guys & Dolls). Overall, a very funny film. Some of the dialogue is sparkling and hysterically clever, a model that modern-day Hollywood would do well to study and live up to. There were several laugh-out-loud moments here, and I wasn't even in a good mood! If you like the old obscure Hollywood gems, check this one out! Just make sure you're looking at this film family through the right size lens. If it could make a believer out of me, it will hook anyone!

23 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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