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Life with Father (1947)

Passed | | Comedy | 13 September 1947 (USA)
A financier from New York rules his numerous family, consisting of his wife and his four sons, with the meticulousness of a bookkeeper.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Clarence Day (memoir "Life with Father"), Donald Ogden Stewart (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Stars: Irene Dunne, Alan Marshal, Roddy McDowall
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Powell ... Clarence Day - Father
Irene Dunne ... Vinnie Day - Mother
Elizabeth Taylor ... Mary Skinner
Edmund Gwenn ... Rev. Dr. Lloyd
Zasu Pitts ... Cora Cartwright
Jimmy Lydon ... Clarence Day Jr.
Emma Dunn ... Margaret - the Cook
Moroni Olsen ... Dr. Humphries
Elisabeth Risdon ... Mrs. Whitehead
Derek Scott Derek Scott ... Harlan Day
Johnny Calkins ... Whitney Day
Martin Milner ... John Day
Heather Wilde Heather Wilde ... Annie - the Maid
Monte Blue ... The Policeman
Mary Field ... Nora
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Storyline

In late nineteenth century New York a Wall Street broker likes to think his house runs his way, but finds himself constantly bemused at how much of what happens is down to his wife. His children are also stretching their wings, discovering girls and making money out of patent medicine selling. When it comes to light he has never been baptized and everyone starts insisting he must do so, it all starts to get a bit too much. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Here for all!! All the happiness of the play that ran longer, the laughs that were louder than any known before!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

13 September 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vivir con papá See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,700,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Other than the color scenes in Leathernecking (1930), Irene Dunne's only film in color. See more »

Goofs

In the first five minutes of the film an elaborate clock is seen chiming. The clock has an arm that moves with each ring of the chime. The arm stops moving, but the chiming continues for several more tolls. See more »

Quotes

Father: I don't go to church to be preached at as though I were some lost sheep.
Vinnie: Clare, you don't seem to understand what the Church is for.
Father: Vinnie, if there's one place the Church should leave alone, it's a man's soul!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Although 'William Powell' is listed first and Irene Dunne is listed second in the viewed print on AMC, half of the actual prints listed Dunne first and Powell second. Not only did each version alternate daily in theaters, but so did the advertisements of the movie in newspapers. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: William Powell (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Love's Old Sweet Song (Just a Song at Twilight)
(1884) (uncredited)
Music by J.L. Molloy
Lyrics by G. Clifton Bingham
Played on piano and sung by William Powell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Magnificent Film--But In Dire Need Of Restoration
11 June 2007 | by gftbiloxiSee all my reviews

As an adult, Clarence Day Jr. (1874-1935) joined his well-known father on Wall Street--but developed a form of arthritis that left him a semi-invalid. Shortly before his death he published LIFE WITH FATHER, a humorous memoir of his Victorian childhood; sadly, he did not live to see its great success. A best seller, the novel was adapted to the stage in 1939 by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse. Warner Bro.s bought the film rights, agreeing to wait until the show finished its Broadway run; as it happened the studio had a long wait, for the play went on to become one of Broadway's longest running shows, playing almost eight years.

In acquiring the rights, Warner Bro.s also gave Clarence Day's widow and playwrights Lindsay and Crouse substantial power over the film version. Censorship issues of the day prevented an absolute translation of the script to the screen, but on the whole the script survived the transformation extremely well, and fueled by a host of flawless performances and remarkably fine production values LIFE WITH FATHER became as memorable on screen as it was on stage.

Clarence Day is an eccentric man, absolutely certain that he alone is correct in all decisions, and eternally running afoul of wife Vinnie's scatterbrained logic, his four sons, visiting relatives, and terrified servants. When a conversation reveals that he has never been baptized, Mr. Day laughs the matter off--but Vinnie is determined that he will be baptized whether he likes it or not. Comic battle-lines are drawn, and the result is a hilariously amusing portrait of Victorian manners and attitudes about everything from religion to the place of women in the world.

The performances are superlative. This would prove to be among the last great roles for both William Powell and Irene Dunne, who play Clarence and Vinnie Day, and to describe their work as flawless is actually an understatement: we completely believe in them from start to finish. The same is true of the cast in general, which includes a remarkably beautiful Elizabeth Taylor; legendary comic ZaSu Pitt; and even a very young Martin Milner. The costuming and sets also capture the look and feel of the era in remarkable fashion. The film is perfectly executed from start to finish.

But you might as well throw your money away than buy any of the releases presently available on VHS and DVD. There is not a one of them worth a dime: the color is atrocious, the sound is horrific, and the picture so blurry that the only thing you'll get for your money is a headache--and this has been true of every factory release I've seen to date.

It is a terrible shame that such a fine, indeed such a great film has been so incredibly neglected. Fortunately for all concerned, LIFE WITH FATHER continues to turn up on television fairly often. Until there is a restored release, don't buy a VHS or a DVD: tape it from television instead, for I can almost guarantee that the version you find there will be superior.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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