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USA 1950
Directed by
Vincente Minnelli
105 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Father Of The Bride

Vincente Minnelli’s film about a middle-aged suburbanite, Stanley Banks (Spencer Tracy), weathering the nuptial arrangements for his only daughter (Elizabeth Taylor) is a bit of a cabinet piece these days because society has changed so much since the time  when post-adolescents were clones of their parents and, as Stanley's wife Ellie (Joan Bennett) puts it “every girl dreams of the day they’ll get married”.

I’m sure some girls still do (as the successful Steve Martin 1991 remake and its 1995 sequel attests) but not as a be-all and end-all and the girlie wittering and the earnestness of the anointed young suitor are, hopefully, things of the past. 

Working from a tidy script that has some nice lines Tracy is first class as the put-upon father who secretly relishes his last real chance to share in his daughter's life whilst on the surface bemoaning the cost. Equally, the 18 year old Taylor, is as-ever at this stage of her career, both ravishing and astonishingly poised as the bride-to-be whilst Leo G. Carroll makes an amusing appearance as the wedding planner.

Although amusing in places (Tracy trying to fit into his 20 year old tuxedo is a gem of physical comedy) from today’s perspective the film cannot overcome the dullness of conformist complacency which it proposes as the pinnacle of life itself. 

FYI: It was followed by a 1951 sequel, Father's Little Dividend, with  Minnelli directing the same cast, which is even more grating. 




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