Time: 92 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Academy Award nominations for Best Actor (Tracy), Best Screenplay and Best Picture.
SYNOPSIS: A father of a young woman deals with the emotional pain of her getting married, and the financial and organizational pain of arranging her wedding.
BOTTOM LINE: Spencer Tracy plays the strung-out, doting dad to Elizabeth Taylor's blushing bride-to-be in this family film about the trials and tribulations of planning for "the Big Day." Technically a comedy, this version is more heartfelt than the 1991 remake starring Steve Martin. Though both films tell the same tale, in almost exactly the same way, the leading men definitely set the tone of the piece. Tracy may be the better actor, but Martin is the better comedian. Read into that what you will. Played for pathos rather than punchlines, this version drags a bit as the initial excitement turns to money woes and short tempers.
Tracy's fatherly musings give the story heart and humor, though not enough to rescue the fairly thin nature of the plot. There's only so much comedy one can whittle from exploding guest lists and snotty caterers. What grounds this film is the relationship between loving father and worshipful daughter. Your heart breaks for Tracy as he comes to the realization that he's no longer the leading man in his little girl's life. Taylor is radiant, as every young bride should be, bringing passion and personality to the proceedings, making her father's pain easily believable. She doesn't have much to do but engender love, yet her energy and charisma light up the screen. The remake is funnier, but Tracy and Taylor make this one a more poignant and realistic diversion.