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USA 1961
Directed by
Henry Koster
116 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Mr Hobbs Takes A Vacation

Before the holidaying Griswolds there was Mr Hobbs (James Stewart) and his family.

Roger Hobbs, a banker and his wife Peggy (Maureen O'Hara) head off for a seaside holiday taking their two young kids and the cook. The expected villa turns out to be like something out of The Munsters and when his two grown-up daughters with their spouses and offspring turn up, the charms of family life wear very thin for our long-suffering hero.

Whilst being in essence the same as any of the Griswold’s Vacation films, coming from the days when all comedy was G-rated, the humour is so much more restrained. Whilst some may even find the result a little too square, there’s still plenty to enjoy in Nunnally Johnson’s sophisticated adaptation of the Edward Streeter novel of the same name (Streeter also wrote the original text of Father Of The Bride,1950) whilst James Stewart’s characteristic performance as the put-upon paterfamilias is, as always, likeable whilst his scenes with Maureen O’Hara also lend a good deal of class to the film, the two seasoned actors having a marvellous rapport

Clearly indebted to Jacques Tati's classic Mr Hulot's Holiday (1953) the film is similarly genial in spirit . An especial treat is the appearance of John McGiver as a bird-spotting killjoy with a drinking problem. Less appealing however is the performance of then teen pin-up, Fabian.

Designed as family entertainment in its day, although probably too corny for today’s kids, it is still a film of charm for older audiences.




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