The Bower Family Band petitions the Democratic National Committee to sing a Grover Cleveland rally song at the 1888 convention, but decide instead to move to the Dakota territory on the ...
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The Bower Family Band petitions the Democratic National Committee to sing a Grover Cleveland rally song at the 1888 convention, but decide instead to move to the Dakota territory on the urging of a suitor to their eldest daughter. There, Grampa Bower causes trouble with his pro-Cleveland ideas, as Dakota residents are overwhelmingly Republican, and hope to get the territory admitted as two states (North and South Dakota) rather than one in order to send four Republican senators to Washington. Cleveland opposed this plan, refusing to refer to Congress the plan to organize the Dakotas this way. When Cleveland wins the popular vote, but Harrison the presidency due to the electoral college votes, the Dakotans (particularly the feuding young couple) resolve to live together in peace, and Cleveland grants statehood to the two Dakotas before he leaves office (along with two Democrat-voting states, evening the gains for both parties).Written by
Manus Hand <email@example.com>
For purposes of abbreviation I'll just refer to this one of the longest titled films around as Family Band. It was one of the last attempts at an original musical from Hollywood, I can only think those two Julie Andrews films Star and Darling Lili that are both later and fall in that category.
The film refers to the Bower Family who have music in their blood as everyone plays an instrument and sings and dances. They are also opinionated politically, but their opinions do differ. Buddy Ebsen father of the clan is a Republican, but usually keeps it to himself as to not get into arguments with his father Walter Brennan who lives with them and is a dyed in the wool Democrat. Mother Janet Blair has a hard and fast rule, no politics be discussed when they enter the house. It's all saved for the barn where the kids also practice. In fact Brennan has whipped up a campaign song for Grover Cleveland in his re-election bid in 1888.
Listening to the pleas of John Davidson talking about the wonders of Dakota Territory, the Bowers move and eldest daughter Lesley Ann Warren is moved by Davidson as well romantically. But politics and the election of 1888 between Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison threaten everybody's happiness.
Family Band holds up well today as a fine family film and one gets a little history lesson thrown in for the bargain. The score written by the Sherman team of Richard M. and Robert B. contains no song hits, but its serviceable and the numbers are nicely staged. I'd highly recommend it for today's audience.
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