William Holden plays a drifter who comes to a small town and discovers a cabin in the forest where five kids: January, February, March, April, and May are living without parents. Their ...
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William Holden plays a drifter who comes to a small town and discovers a cabin in the forest where five kids: January, February, March, April, and May are living without parents. Their parents died a whole ago, and they want to keep that a secret from the townspeople, especially the young school teacher (Coleen Gray) because they don't want to end up in a children's home and then eventually separated. William's character moves in with the kids and poses as their uncle to take care of them while romancing the school teacher. In order to keep the children, however, he has to get married. Written by
"Father is a Bachelor" is one of those facilely sentimental films that deserves a swift kick in the butt. It's reminiscent of "Pennies from Heaven" a pretty bad Bing Crosby film. But it has some merit, despite being "wholesome".
William Holden was Captain Cynic, a confirmed misanthrope; even his voice sounded world-weary and cynical, regardless of the role. This served him well in "Father Is a Bachelor", keeping the film from veering too far into sentimentality. (Had Bing Crosby starred (another reviewer notes the obvious possibility), it would have gone right over the cliff, bursting into flames before it crashed.)
The story is set in the American South, though whether antebellum or postbellum isn't clear. (I assume the latter.) Five orphaned (and not-icky) children adopt him, and he has to go through the transformation from "I don't care about anyone but me" to "I'm willing to sacrifice for someone else's happiness". The change is played mostly seriously, and is almost believable.
The story's strongest point is that Colleen Gray doesn't fall for Holden because he's good looking, but because she's convinced of his high character. (A similar transformation occurs with the town's plutocrat.) In other words, the story (sort-of) approximates a character-driven drama, rather than a plot-driven melodrama.
The man driving the rich guy's carriage is Hank Worden, probably best-remembered as Mose Harper in "The Searchers".
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