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"Cheaper By the Dozen", based on the real-life story of the Gilbreth family, follows them from Providence, Rhode Island to Montclair, New Jersey, and details the amusing anecdotes found in large families. Frank Gilbreth, Sr., was a pioneer in the field of motion study, and often used his family as guinea pigs (with amusing and sometimes embarrassing results). He resisted popular culture,railing against his daughters' desires for bobbed hair and cosmetics. Written by
Becki Bozart <email@example.com>
The drawing of the galaxy in the beach house is M-51, The Whirlpool Galaxy. See more »
As the camera zooms in during the tonsillectomy, you can see the shadow of the camera on the back of one of the nurses' white coats. See more »
[while escorting Ann out of the house on her first date]
I know its not your fault Lilly, but things would have been a whole lot easier if you'd taken my advice and had all boys.
Mrs. Lillian Gilbreth:
I'm sorry, dear. I'll try to be more careful with the next dozen.
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Cheaper By the Dozen was a milestone film in the career of Clifton Webb. Though he had gotten great acclaim for his acerbic roles of the forties, Darryl F. Zanuck knew that Webb's screen persona made him extremely difficult to cast. Cheaper By the Dozen was an attempt to transition Webb into a kinder, gentler Clifton.
Of course to play wife and mother opposite him Zanuck got the services of Myrna Loy, THE personification of the screen wife. If the public were to accept Webb, she would be a part of their doing so.
Fortunately for 20th Century Fox the public did accept Webb in this role and he was able to branch out a bit in his choice of parts.
You mention this title now and of course most will think of Steve Martin and his two recent films that grossed gazillions at the box office. Martin's brood are a modern family, whereas Webb is the head of a family straddling the teens and twenties decades.
Cheaper By the Dozen also affords fans an opportunity to see a bit of Clifton Webb, dancer. Back when he was a musical comedy star on Broadway, Webb was considered every bit the equal of Fred Astaire as a dancer. He dances here with Loy and eldest daughter Jeanne Crain some of the period dances of the Twenties and cuts quite the rug.
Webb's character is Frank Gilbreath, well known industrial efficiency expert and a real person. Jeanne Crain provides the offscreen narration and we see the action in her eyes. She's also got an eye for lifeguard Craig Hill in the film and he's quite the eyeful.
This Cheaper By the Dozen is a nice nostalgic romp which a lot of studios were doing around this time. MGM did Life With Father and Warner Brothers filmed two of Booth Tarkington's Penrod stories with Gordon MacRae and Doris Day. This version can also hold its own with the Steve Martin version anytime.
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