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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.

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Writers:

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

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 September 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vivir con papá  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,700,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There are two adjoining parlors in the Day town house. One is the main parlor while the other has a fireplace. They can be separated from each other by closing a mutually shared pocket door. However, their two adjacent pocket door entrances in the vestibule are so close, their space of separation cannot account for both pocket doors bring retracted at the same time. In a scene with Clarence Day Jr. talking to his mother about buying a new suit, both entrance pocket doors are shown retracted. The dark fireplace parlor pocket doors must be false since the main parlor white ones were opened & closed repeatedly in the film. This is a movie set design anomaly. See more »

Goofs

The movie opens "NEW YORK 1883". Later, Father rails at Mayor "Honest" Hugh Grant. Grant was NYC mayor from 1889-1892. Franklin Edson was mayor in 1883. See more »

Quotes

Clarence Day: Jiminy, another wreck on the New Haven. That always disturbs the stock market. Father won't like that.
Vinnie: I do wish the New Haven would stop having wrecks. If they knew how much it upsets your father.
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 M*A*S*H: Life with Father (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me a Bow-Wow
(1892) (uncredited)
Music by Joseph Tabrar
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Film about Patent Medicines, Ceramic Pug Dogs, Household Economics Lessons, Hooray!
18 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I have always liked this movie.

Clarence Day was the son of Clarence Day Sr. and Vinnie Day. His childhood (with three brothers) was a privileged one, as his father was a successful broker in New York City during the Gilded Age. Day became a humorist and autobiographer, writing three books that remain very entertaining: GOD AND MY FATHER, LIFE WITH FATHER, and LIFE WITH MOTHER. Day died in the 1930s, but a play by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse was produced from the books entitled LIFE WITH FATHER. It played for nearly a dozen years or so, and for many years had the record of Broadway performances before the coming of the super musical hits from OKLAHOMA onward.

LIFE WITH FATHER is set in 1885 (the historical reference that sets this date is the rant by Mr. Day at the newspaper, where he refers to the then Mayor of New York, "Honest Hugh Grant" and Tammany Boss Richard Croker). The story line is actually quite straightforward - the senior Day (William Powell) faces the daily problems of his household, thinking he is running things but constantly being out-witted by his dearly loved wife Vinnie (Irene Dunne) who insists on having an ugly ceramic pug dog for awhile. Accidentally Mr. Day reveals that his free-thinking parents have never had him baptized, and this horrifies his wife and their local minister (Edmund Gwenn). Being a man in his late forties now, Powell thinks it is absolutely foolish to make him get baptized now. In the meantime his oldest son Clarence (Jimmy Lyden) has met with the first love interest of his life (his mother's cousin, young Elizabeth Taylor). Clarence's brother John, who is interested in science (he has wired up the parlor to cause a bell to go off, that confuses Mr. Day no end), has gotten involved selling a patent medicine. This will have ill-effects on Mrs. Day and Mr. Day, culminating in an oath that Mr. Day will end up regretting. Finally there are some marvelous examples of home economics from Mrs. Day that baffle and confuse Mr. Day no end - watch how she takes back the pug dog (which was charged) and gets a "free suit" for Clarence ("THEY DON"T GIVE AWAY FREE SUITS!", Mr. Day insists.]

I doubt, unfortunately, that a book, play, or movie like LIFE WITH FATHER would last today. And I think we are the poorer for that. It is of a long dead world, with a fierce devotion to order and stratified social life in our homes and in our cities and nation. But it was not without it's charms. Catch the sweetest moment in this wonderful movie, when Mr. Day and Vinnie are singing "Sweet Marie" together in their parlor, on a summer afternoon.


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