Father Was a Fullback (1949)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Sport  |  22 December 1949 (Australia)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 266 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 4 critic

Football coach George Cooper has as many problems managing his football team as he has at home dealing with his daughters, Ellen and Connie.



(story), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview:
Elizabeth Cooper
Connie Cooper
Mr. Jessup
Ellen Cooper
Professor Sullivan (as James G. Backus)
Richard Tyler ...
Joe Birch
Buddy Martin ...
Frank Mills ...
Assistant Football Coach
Mickey McCardle ...
John McKee ...
Louise Lorimer ...
Mrs. Jones


Coach George Copper's college football team is losing game after game, much to the dismay of stiff-and-stuffy but influential alumni Roger Jessup, and also having trouble at home with his oldest daughter, Connie. The team keeps losing and Coach Cooper is about to lose his job as his efforts to win the last game of the season, against the team's Big Rival, end in disaster. But, unknown to he and his wife, Elizabeth, Connie has sold an article, called "I Was a Bubble Dancer" to a 'True-Confession" magazine, and the girl-who-couldn't-get-a-date becomes suddenly popular and, because of her, the high-school football star from another town decides to play his college-ball for Coach Cooper. Jessup is forced to keep Cooper on as the school's football coach. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


I wanted to live DANGEROUSLY so I married a football coach (who lost every game)


Comedy | Sport


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 December 1949 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Papai Era Um Craque  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 16, 1950 with Fred MacMurray reprising his film role. See more »


Elizabeth Cooper: George Cooper, I hope you realize you've given that child a complex. Her psyche will be scarred from this as long as she lives.
George 'Coop' Cooper: Have you seen mine lately?
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Fred MacMurray (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

5 July 2007 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Maltin's movie guide gives this TCF production two-and-half stars which means some staff member didn't wake up in time to turn on the TV. Because this is a sparkling little comedy with inventive lines, lively performances, and first-rate direction. (For example, note director John M. Stahl's clever touch with the love-seat cushion.) Of course, the family-- right out of Wholesome Living, 1940's Style-- is both dated and idealized.

Nonetheless,, the plot hasn't dated at all. Mac Murray's a harried football coach about to lose his job because of a losing season, at the same time his oldest daughter is trying to survive adolescence. The comedy grows out of his sputtering attempts to cope. Four outstanding screenwriters are credited with the chuckle-a-minute script which surprises me. I would think such a concentration as this would cancel out, but happily, it doesn't

Of course, Natalie Wood steals the show as the wise-cracking little sister. Was there ever a child actor more gifted and without annoying affect than she. (Her wrenching performance in The Green Promise {1949} remains an unsurpassed classic.) Wide-eyed Betty Lynn too is outstanding as the angst-ridden, dateless teenager. And, of course, there's the incomparable Thelma Ritter perfecting her stock-in-trade as a mordant housekeeper never stuck for a fractured comment. As good as Mac Murray, Sullivan, and the old pro's are, it's really this supporting cast that makes the movie scintillate.

I expect a programmer like this passed quickly onto the shelves, without appreciation of the minor gem that it is. I'm glad there's an internet opportunity for circulating the recognition these entertainment efforts deserve-- even though the Coopers' are now a long way from the typical American family. And shame on you, Leonard Maltin. Next time, set your alarm.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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