Life With Father

1947, Movie, NR, 118 mins


Based on an autobiographical book by Clarence Day, Jr., and a play that ran for 3,224 performances on Broadway (a total that was eclipsed only by "Fiddler on the Roof"), LIFE WITH FATHER is a son's fond remembrance of his Victorian youth spent in the home of his authoritarian but lovable father (William Powell). There's really not much of a plot, just a lot of alternately quiet and raucous moments of love and laughter as the family goes about its urban, urbane life. Irene Dunne, playing the mother of the red-headed Day clan, is frequently rankled by Father's sexist ways, but, like the rest of the family, she loves dear old Dad anyway.

Powell is nothing less than magnificent as the mustached philosophizing patriarch, and Dunne casts a warm glow beside him. Elizabeth Taylor, Martin Milner, Jimmy Lydon, and Edmund Gwenn all contribute strong supporting performances; Michael Curtiz (CASABLANCA; YANKEE DOODLE DANDY; THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD) provides his usual sure-handed direction. There was an attempt at a sequel, LIFE WITH MOTHER, but it doesn't hold a candle to this. Day's story also inspired a brief TV series in 1955. Look for a very young and beautiful Arlene Dahl in a scene at Delmonico's Restaurant. Older TV fans will also recognize singer Russell Arms as the stock quotation operator. leave a comment

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