In early 1900s' Pennsylvania, Mr. Pennypacker has two company offices and two families with a combined total of 17 children. With an office in Harrisburg and an office in Philadelphia, he ... See full summary »
In early 1900s' Pennsylvania, Mr. Pennypacker has two company offices and two families with a combined total of 17 children. With an office in Harrisburg and an office in Philadelphia, he has successfully kept two separate homes. However, when an emergency requires his oldest son to find him, Mr. Pennypacker's dual life is revealed. Written by
Remarkable only for Webb again playing the father of a brood of children...
CLIFTON WEBB, given the chance to "act" in LAURA, THE RAZOR'S EDGE and other fine films, is the Clifton Webb the public wanted to see. He made his mark as Mr. Belvedere in a number of Belvedere films and audiences loved him.
But Fox did him a disservice by forcing him to play the remarkable man in this film, an 1890s gentleman married to two wives who know nothing about the other's existence. The only remarkable thing is that this time it doesn't work at all, plodding along in an attempt to be fresh and funny while at the same time irritatingly forcing its premise on the viewer by making all the other protesting townspeople look like old fogies.
The only supporting role character worth mentioning is CHARLES COBURN, again adding his own special brand of ornery charm to a role that doesn't deserve his presence. DOROTHY McGUIRE gives another one of her understated performances as one of the wives. Unfortunately, an annoying performance by JILL ST. JOHN (with high-pitched voice playing "young") gets the film off to a bad start. RON ELY is much better as her sweetheart.
Henry Levin's direction is stilted and there's not enough comedy to really enjoy it as a Clifton Webb film. Saddling him with 17 children does not alter the fact that his prissy ways make the basic premise entirely unlikely. This sort of thing (without the bigamy) was done more effectively (and much more pleasantly) in CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN.
Technically, the film is fine. Sets and costumes look good in Technicolor and provide the charm missing in the script.
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