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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.

Director:

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:
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Margaret - the Cook
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Dr. Humphries
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Mrs. Whitehead
Derek Scott ...
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Heather Wilde ...
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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 | Plot 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play's original last line "I'm going to be baptized, dammit" had to be changed for the film version due to censor issues. 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

Harlan: I guess the minister is coming to baptize father so he won't have to go to hell.
Whitney: He can't be baptized in a house. You gotta have water.
Harlan: We have lots of water.
Whitney: Not the right kind!
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 »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: William Powell (1961) 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

 
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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