Friday, November 15, 2013

FATHER WAS A FULLBACK (1949) WEB SITE


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  • Production Credits

  • Director - John M. Stahl
  • Screenwriter - Casey Robinson
  • Screenwriter - Aleen Leslie
  • Composer (Music Score) - Cyril Mockridge
  • Special Effects - Fred Sersen
  • Producer - Fred Kohlmar
  • Art Director - Lyle Wheeler
  • Play Author - Clifford Goldsmith
  • Editor - J. Watson Webb, Jr.
  • Art Director - Chester Gore

Cats Credits

  • Fred MacMurray - George Cooper
  • Maureen O'Hara - Elizabeth Cooper
  • Betty Lynn - Connie Cooper
  • Rudy Vallee - Mr. Jessop
  • Thelma Ritter - Geraldine
  • Natalie Wood - Ellen Cooper
  • Richard Tyler - Joe Birch
  • Buddy Martin - Cheer leader
  • Mickey McCardle - Jones
  • Bill Self - Willie
  • Joe Haworth - Reporter
  • Gilbert Barnett - Stinky Parker
  • Mike Mahoney - Sailor
  • Tom Hanlon - Radio Announcer
  • Forbes Murray - College President
  • Lee MacGregor - Cheer leader
  • Don Hicks - Bill
  • Robert Adler - Grandstand Bit
  • Wilson Wood
  • Bill Radovich - Football Player
  • Robert Patten - Manager
  • John R. McKee - Cy
  • Louise Lorimer - Mrs. Jones
  • Bess Flowers - Woman
  • Fred Dale
  • Ruth Clifford - Neighbor
  • Jim Backus - Prof. Sullivan
  • Don Barclay - Grandstand Coach
Maltin's movie guide gives this TCF production two-and-half stars which means some staff member didn't wake up in time to turn on the TV. Because this is a sparkling little comedy with inventive lines, lively performances, and first-rate direction. (For example, note director John M. Stahl's clever touch with the love-seat cushion.) Of course, the family-- right out of Wholesome Living, 1940's Style-- is both dated and idealized.

Nonetheless,, the plot hasn't dated at all. Mac Murray's a harried football coach about to lose his job because of a losing season, at the same time his oldest daughter is trying to survive adolescence. The comedy grows out of his sputtering attempts to cope. Four outstanding screenwriters are credited with the chuckle-a-minute script which surprises me. I would think such a concentration as this would cancel out, but happily, it doesn't

Of course, Natalie Wood steals the show as the wise-cracking little sister. Was there ever a child actor more gifted and without annoying affect than she. (Her wrenching performance in The Green Promise {1949} remains an unsurpassed classic.) Wide-eyed Betty Lynn too is outstanding as the angst-ridden, dateless teenager. And, of course, there's the incomparable Thelma Ritter perfecting her stock-in-trade as a mordant housekeeper never stuck for a fractured comment. As good as Mac Murray, Sullivan, and the old pro's are, it's really this supporting cast that makes the movie scintillate.

I expect a programmer like this passed quickly onto the shelves, without appreciation of the minor gem that it is. I'm glad there's an internet opportunity for circulating the recognition these entertainment efforts deserve-- even though the Coopers' are now a long way from the typical American family. And shame on you, Leonard Maltin. Next time, set your alarm.













 
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