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Aug 022013
 

Life with Father

Life with Father

Irene Dunne, William Powell, Elizabeth Taylor. A delightful family comedy set in turn-of-the-century New York. Based on Lindsay & Crouse’s hit Broadway play and nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Actor for Powell. 1947/color/118 min/NR/fullscreen.Ah, remember those good old days when father ruled the roost, keeping a tight rein on the money, the kids, and the docile wife? Well, neither does Clarence Day (William Powell), the title character in Life with Father. Taking place in New

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  3 Responses to “Life with Father”

  1. 122 of 124 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    A terrible desecration of a classic film., September 15, 2004
    By 
    ardar88 (Falls Church, VA USA) –

    This review is from: Life with Father (DVD)

    This movie is an all-time classic and easily rates five stars. The DVD version, however, is absolutely atrocious. Very poor sound quality and a washed out picture with color so bad it looks almost like it’s in black and white. This movie was filmed in sumptuous Technicolor, but you’d never know it from this DVD. The VHS release of several years back is far superior. No DVD extras either, just a lousy print and nothing else. Is this the best they could do?

    This is a perfect gem of a movie that screams for a major restoration! Until that happens, steer clear!

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  2. 70 of 70 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Classic Flim In Dire Need Of Restoration And A New DVD Release, September 18, 2006
    By 
    Gary F. Taylor “GFT” (Biloxi, MS USA) –
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    This review is from: Life with Father (DVD)

    As an adult, Clarence Day Jr. (1874-1935) joined his well-known father on Wall Street–but developed a form of arthritis that left him a semi-invalid. Shortly before his death he published LIFE WITH FATHER, a humorous memoir of his Victorian childhood; sadly, he did not live to see its great success. A best seller, the novel was adapted to the stage in 1939 by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse. Warner Bro.s bought the film rights, agreeing to wait until the show finished its Broadway run; as it happened the studio had a long wait, for the play went on to become one of Broadway’s longest running shows, playing almost eight years.

    In acquiring the rights, Warner Bro.s also gave Clarence Day’s widow and playwrights Lindsay and Crouse substantial power over the film version. Censorship issues of the day prevented an absolute translation of the script to the screen, but on the whole the script survived the transformation extremely well, and fueled by a host of flawless performances and remarkably fine production values LIFE WITH FATHER became as memorable on screen as it was on stage.

    Clarence Day is an eccentric man, absolutely certain that he alone is correct in all decisions, and eternally running afoul of wife Vinnie’s scatterbrained logic, his four sons, visiting relatives, and terrified servants. When a conversation reveals that he has never been baptised, Mr. Day laughs the matter off–but Vinnie is determined that he will be baptised whether he likes it or not. Comic battlelines are drawn, and the result is a hilariously amusing portrait of Victorian manners and attitudes about everything from religion to the place of women in the world.

    The performances are superlative. This would prove to be among the last great roles for both William Powell and Irene Dunne, who play Clarence and Vinnie Day, and to describe their work as flawless is actually an understatement: we completely believe in them from start to finish. The same is true of the cast in general, which includes a remarkably beautiful Elizabeth Taylor; legendary comic ZaSu Pitt; and even a very young Martin Milner. The costuming and sets also capture the look and feel of the era in remarkable fashion. The film is perfectly executed from start to finish.

    But you might as well throw your money away than buy any of the releases presently available on VHS and DVD. There is not a one of them worth a dime: the color is atrocious, the sound is horrific, and the picture so blurry that the only thing you’ll get for your money is a headache–and this has been true of every factory release I’ve seen to date.

    It is a terrible shame that such a fine, indeed such a great film has been so incredibly neglected. Fortunately for all concerned, LIFE WITH FATHER continues to turn up on television fairly often. Until there is a restored release, don’t buy a VHS or a DVD: tape it from television instead, for I can almost guarantee that the version you find there will be superior.

    GFT, Amazon Reviewer

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  3. 90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Terrible transfer and sound, November 24, 2004
    By 
    Telstar

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Life with Father (DVD)

    Although this is better than the unwatchable Madacy DVD, it still is horrible. There is 60 Hz hum throughout the audio, audio that is distorted and clipped, and a rather grainy, noise full video print. Max Steiner’s inventive variation-on-a-theme music score is ruined.

    If this is the best that can be done with this delightful movie, it is a true pity.

    Someone, please restore this to glory.

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