"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Movie Review: Life With Father (1947)

Good "day" everyone!

I hope that this finds you well. Do you know what I like to do on a snowy day (besides being in the snow doing crazy things)? I like to watch a cozy movie in my home. Today Iʼm bringing you a review of one ideal for this activity! Stick around because in addition to the usual review Iʼll be talking about the significance of home and family in this film. Enjoy!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. This is spoiler free! After reading this review things will still surprise you when you watch the movie.

Life With Father (1947):
Based on: the memoir Life With Father - by Clarence Day Jr..
Set in New York in 1883, this tells the story of Clarence Day who lives with his wife and four boys. “Clare” is used to living by a very strict schedule, which he tries to control the monetary savings and income as much as he does at his bank. Life is always changing with the four growing boys. Whitney is trying to learn his catechism, John is looking for a job, and all is going well for Clarence Jr. until his motherʼs cousin brings a pretty girl with her. One day Mrs. Day learns that Clare was never baptized and she is horrified but determined to find a way to remedy that. Will the whole household and family be shaken up through sickness and finances?
ʻ“I notice when you have a headache you yell and groan and swear enough.” 
“Well, thatʼs to prove to the headache that Iʼm stronger than it is.”
Length: approx. 118 minutes.
Script: 8. By a technical standpoint there are no bad words, as when Mr. Day swears he says “Gad”, heavily saying an A. Itʼs too close for my liking to taking a name in vain, hence the deduction of two points.
Crew: Directed by: Michael Curtiz. Written by: Clarence Day Jr., Donald Ogden Stewart, Howard Lindsay, & Russel Crouse.
William Powell as Clarence Day.
Irene Dunne as Vinnie Day.
Jimmy Lydon as Clarence Day Jr..
Martin Milner as John Day.
Johnny Calkins as Whitney Day.
Derek Scott as Harlan Day.
Elizabeth Taylor as Mary Skinner.
Zasu Pitts as Cora Cartwright.
Edmund Gwenn as Rev. Dr. Lloyd.
Emma Dunn as Margaret, the cook.
Heather Wilde as Annie.
Nancy Evans as Delia.
Moroni Olsen as Dr. Humphries.
 Frank Elliott as Dr. Somers.
Elisabeth Risdon as Mrs. Whitehead.
Monte Blue as The Policeman.
Mary Field as Nora.
Clara Blandick as Miss Wiggins.
Douglas Kennedy as Reverend Morley.
Costumes: 8, I like the 1880ʼs style! One of the subplots revolves around a suit. 
8, some brilliant colors here! Compared with newer movies it isn't too shocking, but compared with the times it was made I think it's neat. 
Cinematography by: Peverell Marley & William V. Skall.
Music: 8, not the most memorable in the world, but the whole time I was thinking of how cheery it is.
Music by: Max Steiner.
8, it's not something that I would think of quoting every day, but after a phone call with my sister where I convinced her to rewatch it, we've been saying some of the lines from time to time. One of my favorites was when Harlan is complaining about oatmeal, saying he doesn't like it and Clare replies:
“Iʼll tell you what you like and what you donʼt like. Youʼre not old enough to know such things.”
Oscars won: This was nominated for 4 awards, including Best Actor for William Powell, but didnʼt win any of them.
Content: 8, there are one or two suggestive lines, but that's it. It talks about religion and faith, and while none of it is mine exactly, I like Vinnie's concern and care!
8, the scrapes that the family gets into are pretty unique! I smile through the whole thing, so it is something to brighten your day.
Good For: Families, fathers and children, fans of the actors.
Age Range: This is perfectly fine for any and all ages!
Overall Score: 8! I don't remember the last time the score I gave was so easy!
Worth watching?: For sure! I was fun to fill in my memories of what this was. The stunning colors alone are worth looking at.
Will I watch again?: You bet! I have fun with this one and will be watching it again wherever I need a "pick me up" film.

“Thereʼs something wrong with your reasoning.”

For the blogathon:
The requirements were easy, stating that the goal was to talk about films centering around the theme of “home” or “family”. It took me a while to decide, but then I thought that this was perfect as with itʼs title it deals with a father!

I used to get this confused with another movie because I think that I watched them for the first time very close to each other. For years I had wondered which one was which. When I was able to rewatch this last October I was glad to find that this one was the one with “Clare”. After some digging on my part I figured out what the other movie was, Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)! Funnily enough, that stars a lady who was famous for being in movies with William Powell, Myrna Loy!

They both feature fathers. In this one, while it is titled Life With Father, it is made clear that the mother, Vinnie, is what holds the house together. All of the family adores her and would do anything to make her happy. Even if it includes stepping outside of comfort zones.

Thanks for reading! Check out all of the other entries to the blogathon HERE.

Tell me, what are some of your favorite movies involving family? Has anyone seen this or the original Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)? What is your favorite William Powell movie? Have a good night!



  1. I haven't seen this one, but I have seen the original Cheaper by the Dozen. It's been ages, but I think I liked it.

    1. I'm not completely sure on my feelings for the original Cheaper by the Dozen, either as I only remember bits and pieces then the ending. Time to visit it again, I guess!

  2. Vaguely remember this movie so a big thanks for your post and a who's who... thanks for joining our blogathon.

    1. Sure thing! My thanks goes to you for hosting this and giving me the chance to talk--er--type!

  3. Wonderful review! Movies from the 40's and 50's that are family based always seem to be my favorite. "Little Women" is one of my top favorites for family based. I've never seen this one, but it looks like one I'd enjoy. My siblings and I watched the original "Cheaper by the Dozen" a few years ago and it was great! There's nine of us so it was very relatable. My favorite quote was when the mailman said "All those kids yours?" Then the father replies "Oh, these aren't so many. You ought to see the ones we left behind". We've had similar experiences. :)

    1. Thanks, Miss K! Ah, Little Women is probably my favorite story about family EVER. From that era of films there were so many other great ones, too! Some of my favorites are: You Can't Take it With You (1938), National Velvet (1944), and Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) just to name a few. Oh, I also LOVE Coco (2017). Hey, that's a fun connection! I'll be On the lookout for that line when I get a chance to see it again. :)

  4. It sounds absolutely darling. :) I love Victorian period dramas, and I can already tell the gowns are lovely. Great review!

    1. I think that you would have a fun time with this, Carissa! :) Oh yes, the styles are so much fun it almost makes me wish I was around back then. Plus, the bright colors really make them pop off the screen. Thank you!

  5. A very nice review.
    I have never seen life with father, so thank you for no spoilers in case I should watch.

    1. Why, thank you!
      Sure thing! One of my least favorite things is spoilers, so I'm glad that I could help.

  6. I have always wanted to see this movie--it looks like such a great cast. Thanks again for joining the blogathon with this terrific review! :-)

    1. The cast work so well with each other and are brilliant. It's fun and makes me smile. Aww, that's so sweet of you Rebecca! Thank YOU again for hosting! :-)

  7. Oh, I love this movie. :) Haven't seen it in forever! This brought back good memories! My family tends to watch old movies (when we watch movies), so I remember being enthralled by how pretty and colorful this was. Also anytime Vinnie is being super logical (but not) and Clare is getting frustrated, and EVERYTHING with the suit, is so funny.

    1. Oh, we found a film that we have in common! I'm pretty satisfied that I was able to make you relive it. :) That was how it was when I was little! Even now if ALL of my family watches a movie together (which is rare) it is an old one, like the first time I saw this. Right? Those parts are so hilarious! Vinnie is positive that she's right and Clare knows it's wrong but can't figure out how to explain it to her! Clarence Jr.'s behavior cracks me up!

  8. Life With Father was, for a time, the longest running play on Broadway, 1939 - 1947. The movie has a perfect cast and Michael Curtiz always entertains. Max Steiner's score also sticks in my mind.

    Father is a quote machine: "Madam, I am the character of my home." "Vinnie, if there's one thing the Church should leave alone, it's a man's soul."

    Vinnie, sadly, inspiring my sense of economics.

    The movie is wonderfully entertaining and I am sure your article will encourage new people to become fans.

    1. I knew it was a play, but I didn't know that it had run so long! Thanks for the info! It was so common back then to adapt plays into movies that it seems strange that it's a rarer occurrence now. The people back then must have felt the same trepidation that I feel when my favorite books are getting new adaptations. I'd say that they pulled this one off!

      He is indeed! The two you listed are superb ones.

      I'm afraid the same is true for me!

      Craftan Women, I'm so honored by your compliment! Thank you so much!

  9. Great review! I've never seen it, but it looks good.

    1. You and I are the same as we have sisters instead of brothers, so it's different from this but still fun to see the family dynamics!

  10. I always love a good William Powell movie and while it's tough to choose a favorite, I have to say it comes down between My Man Godfrey and The Thin Man, depending on which day of the week you ask me. Thanks for sharing your review!

    1. Those are two great ones! I'll have to agree with you and go with The Thin Man. I loved his performance in My Man Godfrey and was just dissatisfied with the ending. I've also seen The Great Ziegfield, but being a drama it doesn't show off how funny he can be. Thank you for commenting!

  11. I've seen both this and Cheaper by the Dozen. I liked them both okay, but didn't love them, even though I'm a fan of both Powell and Loy!

    1. Hamlette, on my sidebar I have "acting teams" listed who I like better working together than separately. Powell and Loy are on there so maybe the same is true for you!

  12. I'm another one who's lukewarm towards this film, but I LOVE the sets and costumes, and I think it has a perfect cast. Your review makes me think I've been somewhat unfair when it comes to this film, and I'm going to give it another go.

    1. Sometimes when I watch movies I pay more attention to certain factors at different times such as the plot, acting, sets, etc. The last time I watched it I was able to notice everything at once so it was a full experience! Thank you, Ruth, I hope that it's rewarding for you!

  13. I like the colors in this film - in special the opportunity to see a red-haired William Powell! - but I prefer Cheaper by the Dozen. In the latter, there is a key scene in which Myrna Loy shows so much feeling only with her eyes, it's wonderful. Very nice review.

    1. I had completely forgotten about his red hair before this rewatch! Though I watch a mix of newer and older films it's always fun to see the "new" Technicolor. Even though I'm a writer and love words, some scenes that impact me the most are ones like that where nothing is said.
      Thanks for commenting, Lê!


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