7.3/10
3,976
49 user 18 critic

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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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

The movie opens "NEW YORK 1883". Later, Father rails at Mayor "Honest" Hugh Grant. Grant was NYC mayor from 1889-1892. Franklin Edson was mayor in 1883. See more »

Quotes

Vinnie: But Clare, they're just staying in that little room of Clarence's.
Father: The trouble is, they don't stay there. They stay in the bathroom. Every time I want to take a bath, it's full of giggling females washing their hair!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are superimposed on scenes of old New York, viewed as if through an old-fashioned stereopticon. See more »

Connections

Referenced in That Girl: Absence Makes the Heart Grow Nervous (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Genevieve
(1869) (uncredited)
Music by Henry Tucker
Lyrics by George Cooper
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Film about Patent Medicines, Ceramic Pug Dogs, Household Economics Lessons, Hooray!
18 June 2006 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

I have always liked this movie.

Clarence Day was the son of Clarence Day Sr. and Vinnie Day. His childhood (with three brothers) was a privileged one, as his father was a successful broker in New York City during the Gilded Age. Day became a humorist and autobiographer, writing three books that remain very entertaining: GOD AND MY FATHER, LIFE WITH FATHER, and LIFE WITH MOTHER. Day died in the 1930s, but a play by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse was produced from the books entitled LIFE WITH FATHER. It played for nearly a dozen years or so, and for many years had the record of Broadway performances before the coming of the super musical hits from OKLAHOMA onward.

LIFE WITH FATHER is set in 1885 (the historical reference that sets this date is the rant by Mr. Day at the newspaper, where he refers to the then Mayor of New York, "Honest Hugh Grant" and Tammany Boss Richard Croker). The story line is actually quite straightforward - the senior Day (William Powell) faces the daily problems of his household, thinking he is running things but constantly being out-witted by his dearly loved wife Vinnie (Irene Dunne) who insists on having an ugly ceramic pug dog for awhile. Accidentally Mr. Day reveals that his free-thinking parents have never had him baptized, and this horrifies his wife and their local minister (Edmund Gwenn). Being a man in his late forties now, Powell thinks it is absolutely foolish to make him get baptized now. In the meantime his oldest son Clarence (Jimmy Lyden) has met with the first love interest of his life (his mother's cousin, young Elizabeth Taylor). Clarence's brother John, who is interested in science (he has wired up the parlor to cause a bell to go off, that confuses Mr. Day no end), has gotten involved selling a patent medicine. This will have ill-effects on Mrs. Day and Mr. Day, culminating in an oath that Mr. Day will end up regretting. Finally there are some marvelous examples of home economics from Mrs. Day that baffle and confuse Mr. Day no end - watch how she takes back the pug dog (which was charged) and gets a "free suit" for Clarence ("THEY DON"T GIVE AWAY FREE SUITS!", Mr. Day insists.]

I doubt, unfortunately, that a book, play, or movie like LIFE WITH FATHER would last today. And I think we are the poorer for that. It is of a long dead world, with a fierce devotion to order and stratified social life in our homes and in our cities and nation. But it was not without it's charms. Catch the sweetest moment in this wonderful movie, when Mr. Day and Vinnie are singing "Sweet Marie" together in their parlor, on a summer afternoon.


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