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   LIFE WITH FATHER (1947) 

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CAST
William Powell
Irene Dunne
Jimmy Lydon
Elizabeth Taylor
Zasu Pitts
Edmind Gwenn
Emma Dunn
Derek Scott
Johnny Calkins
Martin Milner
Moroni Olsen

DIRECTED BY
Michael Curtiz

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 118 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Drama/Romance/Comedy

Academy Award nominations for Best Actor (Powell), Art Direction, Score and Cinematography.


SYNOPSIS: 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.

BOTTOM LINE: I really knew nothing about this film before I watched it except who was in it. I figured with two of classic cinemas better comic actors – Powell and Dunne – that at the very least it would be fun. Well, even I can be wrong. It's not a horrible flick, it's just not a great one either. Powell, who gives the film's strongest and funniest performance, plays the strict father of 4 boys in 1883 New York who is merely trying to enjoy a simple family life. Unfortunately, his wife, played by Dunne, and his children have other plans. His peace and quiet is upset time and again by visiting relatives, a new love, money matters and the repeated attempts by his religious wife to get him baptised.

While some of the hijinks are amusing, especially the young lovers played by Lydon and Taylor, the constant barrage of religious banter – about whether Powell's going to heaven or hell – makes it a hard film to chuckle at. Most of Powell's laughs come from pure exasperation, Dunne's from her slightly dimwitted nature as a mother just trying to do her best. They make a very believable married couple and are the best part of this flick. It's interesting to watch Taylor as a teen. She's just so lovely and earnest. If you're in the mood for light, harmless family fun than this film will probably suit you fine. It's just a little too old-fashioned for me.




"Vinnie, if there's one place the Church should leave alone, it's a man's soul!"

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