Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers' Day

With today being Fathers' Day, I find myself wondering what would be the ultimate Fathers' Day movie. The answer, I suppose, depends upon how you define the ultimate father.

Judge Hardy in all those Hardy Family movies of the late 1930s and early 1940s, would be one good choice, as he certainly appeared more than enough times. Not only that, but Lewis Stone's Judge Hardy is an almost stereotypical father figure. Fathers are often portrayed that way, but did anybody really have a father like that?

There's the Roman Catholic "Father", the title for a priest; one of Hollywood's best-remembered "fathers" in this regard is Spencer Tracy's Father Flanagan in Boys Town. The alternative would be Bing Crosby's priestly roles in Going My Way and the follow-up, The Bells of St. Mary's.

Speaking of Spencer Tracy, he's playing one of the title roles in tonight's Essentials, Jr., Father of the Bride. No, he's not playing the bride; that's a young Elizabeth Taylor.

George Washington was "the father of our country", and as I mentioned back in February, he shows up in The Howards of Virginia.

But for the "ultimate" father, I think I'll select Clifton Webb. In Cheaper By the Dozen, he plays a father raising a dozen kids -- with quite a bit of help from wife Myrna Loy. If you think that's bad, try to get a copy of The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker (sadly not available on DVD), in which Webb plays a bigamist who, by his two wives, has fathered nineteen children.

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