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 »
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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
The most interesting thing about The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker I found is that if Clifton Webb had been a little less outspoken about his unorthodox beliefs he might have kept getting away with those two families he supported. As for those families he certainly didn't do things half way.
This turn of the last century comedy was based on a Broadway play by Liam O'Brien that ran 221 performances in the 1953 season on Broadway and starred Burgess Meredith. It was considerably expanded for the film as the stage play takes place only in the Pennypacker Harrisburg home.
In fact Pennypacker was a real character, a relative became Governor of Pennsylvania. This Pennypacker on a business trip to Philadelphia met and married another woman and fathered another family there.
In fact Webb as our protagonist neatly compartmentalizes his life in Philadelphia and Harrisburg and arranges it so that he has to look after business affairs in both cities on alternating months. He raises his children to be like himself, freethinkers who question orthodoxy.
Two things bring this happy arrangement which went on for almost a score of years to a halt. First eldest daughter Jill St. John of the Harrisburg family announces her engagement to minister Ron Ely and wants her father home for a quick wedding even if it's not the month to be in Harrisburg. Secondly Webb gets a summons for his advocacy of Darwinism, John Scopes could tell you they had such imbecilic laws back in the day. Richard Deacon has a nice bit as an officious sheriff who is a real bloodhound in tracking Webb from Philadelphia to Harrisburg.
This story bears some resemblance to Webb's Cheaper By The Dozen, but it doesn't work near as well. Oddly enough Webb's character in that film Frank Gilbreath was also a real person. Still The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker holds up pretty good and could be shown to today's audiences.
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