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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Fast Sequel For An Eager Public


Father's Little Dividend Is 1951's Sure Thing

A fairly immediate sequel to Father Of The Bride, as in underway quick as chips were counted from gro$$ of the first. Here was what Metro could manage fast and efficient w/ Dore Schary in front office charge, Father's Little Dividend a job done for less than a million that drew four times the same in worldwide rentals. It was also one that Leo let slip into Public Domain during the 70's, thus dollar discs to beware of. TCM had a recent run, listed as HD, but instead a same old transfer at least better than scavengers give. Father's Little Dividend is a follow-up that need not go begging. All of the original's cast is back, Vincente Minnelli again megging, so it's no mere cash-in on what went beloved before. Note anticipation reflected in the Chicago first-run above: Sam Lesner, incidentally, was "nightlife critic" for the Chicago Daily News. Douglas MacArthur, for whom "Chicago's Ringing With Cheers," had just given his farewell address to Congress, while live act Danny Lewis is emphasized as dad to Jerry. And look out, next week attendees: Only The Valiant, advertised here as in Technicolor, would actually be black-and-white.


Dividends of Dividend: Very long takes Minnelli stages. He must have close-rehearsed the cast to get four and five minutes continuous out of set-ups that aren't just talking heads stood still, but players in complex by-play with props, a camera in motion, entrance/exiting. Long as shots go, they don't lose interest. Minnelli must have liked his result, because he'd use same device for many parts of The Bandwagon. This director may have been fussy over sets and decor, but he could be a John Farrow or even Joe H. Lewis when circumstance required. Did Schary ask Minnelli to gun it for a pre-set opening day? There was no doubt of a large audience waiting. Prime interest, of course, is Tracy, doing comedy so well that you wish he'd stuck with it, and not necessarily with Hepburn. If ST had a signature part after WWII, the Father pair was it. He had to know they'd draw a bigger crowd than much of postwar Metro being skipped in favor of TV and grass-mowing. There was actually talk of a third one (read James Curtis' Spencer Tracy book), but that didn't happen --- a regret.

2 Comments:

Blogger rnigma said...

I've seen "Father's Little Dividend" on many PD video/DVD releases; there was even a two-pack (probably from Madacy) that paired it with "Life with Father." I presume "Father of the Bride" is still under copyright. (The Steve Martin remake also spawned a sequel, but it was prosaically titled "Father of the Bride, Part II.")

Seeing the stage show ad with Danny Lewis reminded me of a bit that Jerry used to run on his telethon: a kinescope from the '50s of Danny and Jerry performing Al Jolson's "Sonny Boy," and Jerry then singing it with his son Gary.
Lew Parker had replaced Don Ameche in "The Bickersons," and later played Ann Marie's father on "That Girl."

10:34 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Joe Dante considers the Chicago Theatre show that followed "Father's Little Dividend":


The patrons next Friday at the Chicago Theater must have been pretty disappointed to find that ONLY THE VALIANT was shot in black-and-white, not Technicolor!

4:11 AM  

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