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My wife and I watched this film last night on TCM (all hail) and we both enjoyed it. I get so tired of hearing comments about this and other films being "dated". What do you expect? I consider what other people call "dated" as direct links into what society was like at the time the film(s) was(were) written, kind of a celluloid sociology course. Lighten up! A movie that is forty-three years old isn't going to be a modern example of people, places, and things. Sheesh! Anyway, what I'll take from this film is that Ronny Howard WAS the finest child actor in films and television. Consider that, in 1963, at 9 years old, he was already doing the Opie-thing for 3 years. In this film, he acts nothing like Opie, he turns into a whole different child: Eddie Corbitt. The under-used Shirley Jones (big crush) was marvelous again, and Glenn Ford was supremely good at his self-styled "non-acting". Stella Stevens's drum solo scene is an excellent highlight. Also, did anyone recognize Clint Howard as a toddler at Eddie's birthday party scene? Or Rance Howard as a camp counselor?
First I need to point out that this movie isn't much like the later TV series. It stars Glenn Ford as a widower raising a young child, played by Ron Howard. While their relationship is loving and sweet, they are both looking for a new wife/mother. And Ron Howard is a little devil trying to set up Dad! I like the kid's taste, though, as he sets his sights first on Stella Stevens and then on Shirley Jones--that kid had great taste! Even though you can easily predict where the movie will end up, the acting and writing and direction are so good that you don't really mind at all. That's because it is sentimental but avoids schmaltzy, gooey over-sentimentalism that could have easily ruined this film--thanks in part to a decent use of comedy.
I disagree that this movie is sexist at all. In fact, I believe that the character of Tom Corbett is quite different (in a good way) from the fathers of that time. I continue to find this movie extremely entertaining (while ertainly more "fluff" than depth) and nostalgic, due in most part to Ron Howard's superb and engaging performance. The parts where Eddie tells his dad at summer camp that he is in love, and the end of the movie, where Eddie is "practicing" with this dad on what to say to the neighbor to ask her out on a date, are absolutely priceless. Watching Ron Howard in this movie makes you realize why he was sought after as a child actor.
I saw most of this film again for the first time in years the other day.I then purchased the DVD to catch the ending..and was glad i did. being a fan of Glenn Ford and Shirley Jones as well as "Ronny" Howard i couldn't pass this one up. Glenn Ford's Eddie's Father isn't the same laid back Eddie's Father that Bill Bixby was in the TV series that was based on this movie.His is a bit quirkier and introspective and maybe not as funny and warm but still worth getting to know. The matchmaking that goes on is strictly sixties through and through a formula we have seen time and time again but the hint of Eddie's Father having himself a time while he is out "courting" is as subtle as a man in a chicken suit in church. Ron Howard is as good as ever and although Brandon Cruz who was Eddie in the TV series was a bit warmer Ron Howard's Eddie is a more honest to god kid most of the time,with all the faults that come with being an 8 yr old boy The women in the film..all beautiful all talented all out for Eddie"s father are as you would expect in an early sixties film kind of cardboard cutouts but good on the eyes
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I used to love the early 1970's TV series which took its premise from
this 1963 movie, so it was with some trepidation that I finally saw the
original film directed by Vincente Minnelli. For such a family-oriented
vehicle, his sometimes excessive film-making style shows up in subtle
ways throughout the picture, and that's what primarily makes it
interesting viewing now. The film starts out as an amusing domestic
comedy, periodically hints toward deeper issues of grief and single
parenthood, and then dives headlong into melodrama in the last
half-hour. The result is pure Minnelli.
The other memorable aspect is eight-year old Ron Howard, sixth-billed and then known as Ronny, who delivers the central performance of Eddie without resorting to precociousness. More than his adult co-stars, he brings all the elements of the film together on an emotional level that resonates. Written by Tom Gay, the plot focuses on Eddie's attempts to reinvigorate the love life of his recently widowed father Tom. The likely candidate appears to be the pretty, recently divorced nurse next door, Elizabeth, but Tom and she start off on the wrong foot despite the fact that Eddie adores her. Efforts get refocused on Dolly, a vacuous, curvaceous girl they meet at the arcade, but Tom redirects her to womanizing disc jockey Norman. Tom then meets socialite Rita, whose glaring lack of a maternal instinct alienates Eddie to the point of running away.
All ends inevitably but not before some startling scenes like Eddie traumatized by the sight of his dead fish and Tom careening recklessly in his car to find Eddie (it looks like a similarly hair-raising scene on an Italian hillside road in Minnelli's "Two Weeks in Another Town"). In fact, the climactic argument between Tom and Elizabeth is surprisingly vitriolic for a family picture. Not the most charismatic of actors, Glenn Ford is solid as Tom, while a non-singing Shirley Jones plays Elizabeth with dexterity. The other performances are a bit more on the pat side - Stella Stevens lovably dim as Dolly, Jerry Van Dyke his recognizably unctuous self as Norman and Dina Merrill all slithery glamour as Rita. There are no extras with the 2004 DVD.
Glenn Ford did two films with director Vincente Minnelli, the
incredibly bad sound remake of The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and
this very good family film about a widower and his young son trying to
get on with life after the wife and mother has passed away.
The Courtship of Eddie's Father in addition to being made into a long running television series with Bill Bixby, Miyoshi Umeki, and Brandon Cruz, still holds up very well after 44 years.
What makes the film is the very real chemistry between Glenn Ford and Ron Howard who was on hiatus from the Andy Griffith show to make this film. The Courtship of Eddie's Father is about two very real individuals trying to work through the hurt that's surrounding a very big hole in their lives.
Ford plays the manager of a radio station and Jerry Van Dyke has a nice role as Ford's best friend and one of the disc jockeys. Roberta Sherwood has the part of the housekeeper who's trying to learn Spanish, the part that Miyoshi Umeki did for television. As you can imagine it was rewritten somewhat.
There are three women interested in Ford at one time or another. Shirley Jones is the best friend of the deceased, living in the apartment across the way. Dina Merrill is the society lady that she is in real life. And Stella Stevens is the beauty queen from Montana who's got some hidden talents. One guess who Ford looks like he'll wind up with in the end. Give you a hint, it's the one Ron Howard wishes it is.
After the disaster of The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, Minnelli owed Glenn Ford a good picture and he certainly delivered.
charming comedy about a handsome widower whose precouious six-year-old son who vets all his potential dates. Glenn Ford is playing tom corbet very convincing and Shirley Jones is wonderful as elizabeth marten. this movie is smooth and wonderful. 8 of 10
Very smooth, plushly produced nonsense about widower father dating different women, unaware that the divorcée next-door might just be the perfect gal for Pop and his precocious young son. Some surprisingly cynical bits amid the sentiment, despite a strange penchant for big events to happen off-screen. Vincente Minnelli's direction isn't as detailed or full-bodied as one might hope (and the picture doesn't flourish as a result), but the lead performances by Glenn Ford, Shirley Jones and young Ronny Howard are first-rate. Stella Stevens is colorful in stop-and-start supporting role that is never allowed to really take-off. Later the basis for a rather melancholy TV series. *** from ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Little Ronny Howard gives a remarkable performance in this film, which
is so much better than the television series it spawned. Howard was
only 9 when he made this film, and I can't say that I have ever seen as
wonderful a performance by a child of that age in any film.
Glen Ford is superb as the father, recovering (as is Eddie) from his wife's (mother's) death. In fact, this may be Ford's most ingratiating role. Shirley Jones is equally as wonderful as the woman next door. Dina Merrill is fine as the stuffy country-club-type Eddie's father almost marries, but right from the first few minutes of the film, we all know he'll end up marrying Shirley Jones. Jerry VanDyke -- the more talented of the two brothers -- has a different role here...as a sort of playboy; he does it well. Stella Stevens' role as a ditsy but bright unattached woman is a distraction from the main story, but quite entertaining...particularly her drum solo.
There's humor, some drama, and lots of sentimentality, but this strikes me as a film that is not too far from the reality of how a child would feel when his mother dies.
Excellent family film, well worth watching. Perhaps the best of its genre.
I tuned in to this one because I'm becoming a real Glenn Ford fan. I think he's a superb and underrated actor with a wide range, and he indeed shines in this charming and unpretentious flick. As far as all the comments about being dated and politically incorrect, I recall the admonition of my college history professor that we cannot judge past eras by the standards of the culture we live in. And this film is not that ancient. I and many viewers grew up in the era in which this movie was made, and considering things nowadays I wouldn't mind going back. Anyway, the film does have its flaws, primarily the speed with which Eddie goes from mourning to trying to get his Dad hitched again. It's a bit unnatural, but we should just suspend disbelief. The chemistry between father and son is what makes the film shine, and in this age of broken families and parents willing to discard their children, it's sadly nostalgic to see such devotion. The film never overplays Tom's relationship with his two paramours. Character development is well done, including the housemaid Mrs. Livngstone, who finally learns Spanish, only to find out she studied the wrong language. It's a charming and tender movie, and the production values are great. The color technology in films of that era was so superior to today's.
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