Life With Father (1947)

MICHAEL CURTIZ

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB.5.  USA, 1947.  .  Screenplay by , based on the play by , , from the memoir by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1947.  Golden Globe Awards 1947.  

Delightful family comedy, the kind of nostalgia that was made in the forties to capitalize on the success of Meet Me In St. Louis. Adapted from the hit play based on the autobiographical tales of Clarence Day (junior), it surrounds the experience of a family living under the rule of a picky, cantankerous Clarence Day senior (William Powell). He rules the household like a military banker, constantly in the know about every penny that leaves his house and unwilling to put up with any foolishness either from his patient and addled wife (a hilarious Irene Dunne) or four sons. The boys certainly give him no end of worries, whether it be career ambitions (selling snake-oil cure-alls that nearly kill their mother), desperation for maturity (the wheedling needed to get the money for a new suit) or the pangs of love (a fifteen year-old Elizabeth Taylor shows up and sets the world on fire). It moves through its scenes with ease thanks to skillful direction by Michael Curtiz, who rarely goes beyond their giant house and yet never lets it feel stagey or bound, though the fact that it is so corny is also part of its appeal.

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