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The Willards from Terre Haute, Indiana, travels abroad for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation in Paris, France. Harry Willard believes that the greatest problem will be avoiding tap water, but bringing his three children will prove to be more troublesome. Written by
[on the beach at Cannes, Harry and Skipper are watching Elliott chat up a pretty French girl, as the girl's mother looks on disapprovingly]
How do you like Elliott's new moustache, Dad?
I think I like the one on the girl's mother better.
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I guess a trip to France is as good a reason as any to be in a film and Walt Disney took a whole bunch of American players over to France to film a rather innocuous and over long comedy Bon Voyage. Everybody here has done much better work.
The Willard Family of Terre Haute consisting of parents Fred MacMurray and Jane Wyman and kids Deborah Walley, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin Corcoran all head to Paris on a long anticipated vacation. Each of them has some issues to deal with.
MacMurray just can't seem to do what he wants to do, some family crisis is always interrupting. Walley has fallen for American playboy Michael Callan who is dying to get out from under his rich dowager mother Jessie Royce-Landis. Wyman has attracted the attention of a gigolo in Ivan Desnys. Kirk is having the old badger game run on him by Georgette Anys, the mother of a girl he met on the Riviera beach. Only Kevin Corcoran seems to have no problems, but he gets separated from MacMurray in a tour of the Paris sewer system. That by the way provides the best laughs in Bon Voyage.
Given the Disney parameters Bon Voyage had certain restrictions placed on it that the more successful National Lampoon's European vacation didn't have. That was a far better film and the Griswolds will linger in your memory way after the Willards have gone.
In a recent biography of Fred MacMurray, Tommy Kirk did not have fond memories of the film. His sexuality had come to light at the studio and Jane Wyman treated him horribly. As for Fred MacMurray he and Fred had a decent relationship from previous films, but it was never quite the same after that. In addition Kirk felt his character was something of a doofus and I'm inclined to agree with him.
Even with the European locations Bon Voyage is probably the weakest of all the films Fred MacMurray did for Disney.
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