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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2006
"The Courtship Of Eddie's Father" was made in 1962 and released in movie theaters in March 1963. It's a mix of romantic comedy and drama, with a good blend of sad but poignant moments and funny ones too (including a few 'fall-on-the-floor' segments of hilarity). And the "through-the-eyes-of-Eddie" ending is just perfect.

Most of the really funny scenes in the film are supplied by 8-year-old Ronny Howard, who makes his way through a rollercoaster of emotions in the movie, and still stays on the rails of "believability" while doing so, IMO. He's very funny at times in "Courtship", and also is able to turn on the water works as needed too. I, myself, have never seen a better child actor up on the screen (big screen or small), although 11-year-old Dean Stockwell's performance in 1947's "Gentleman's Agreement" would rank pretty high in that category as well.

Ronny Howard made "Courtship" during a break in the filming of his TV series, "The Andy Griffith Show", on which Howard played "Opie Taylor" (probably the cutest kid ever on TV, especially during Season 1 of that popular and endearing sitcom). I'm guessing that this movie was filmed sometime between seasons two and three of the Griffith Show.

The intelligent and snappy script for "The Courtship Of Eddie's Father" dishes up several funny lines for Ronny ("Eddie Corbett") to speak, some of which you certainly are not liable to find residing within any script of Ronny's Andy Griffith television series. Such as when Eddie asks his father ("Tom Corbett"; played very nicely by 46-year-old Glenn Ford) the following question:

"Dad, what do the numbers mean after a lady's name? It says here {in this magazine} '40-18-35'."

To which Glenn Ford then replies (having his curiosity most definitely piqued by the robust measurements Eddie just relayed): "Holy smoke, who's that?!"

~LOL!~

By the way -- Those eye-popping measurements were said by Eddie in the film to be those of Jayne Mansfield. Per data I can find, those stats are about right too. According to one online source, Jayne's shapely figure is said to have averaged a head-turning "40-21-35.5". (Tom Corbett was right -- "Holy smoke" indeed!) :-)

Other spirited and precocious dialogue spoken by young lad Edward in this film include references to "big busts", "my sugar man", and a remark about "girls not looking so good from behind". (Ronny, then, must have never wandered over to the set of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" during his tenure as "Opie", in order to watch Mary Tyler Moore. His "from behind" evaluation would be permanently erased from his mind if he had done so.)

~wink~

"Courtship" offers up a splendid and (ahem) well-rounded cast. Besides the two leads of Ford and Howard, there's also the never-lovelier 28-year-old Shirley Jones as the woman next door, plus Stella Stevens, Dina Merrill, Jerry Van Dyke, and Roberta Sherwood.

It's nice to be able to see Jerry Van Dyke here in a role where he doesn't have to portray a clumsy and stuttering wimp-like character. Don't get me wrong, though, Jerry's one of the best "wimps" in the business. No offense. But it's nice to see him in a different, more assertive part for a change, which he plays here as "Norman Jones" (a playboying disc jockey at the radio station where Ford serves as Program Manager). Heck, he ends up with Stella Stevens as a mate; so he certainly can't be called a loser here.

Also watch out for Ronny Howard's real dad, Rance, in a small part as a camp counselor. Rance pops up in a lot of his son's TV shows and movies, often showing up in bit parts on "The Andy Griffith Show" too.

Ronny's brother, Clint, age 3, also has a cameo in "Courtship" (in the birthday-party scene). And "Miss America 1955", Lee Meriwether, has a small role as a secretary/receptionist.

There's a good chemistry in "Courtship" amongst the characters (between Ronny and Glenn and also between Shirley and Glenn). And the delicate subject of losing a wife and mother to sudden death is dealt with honestly and openly throughout the film, producing some heartfelt and realistic scenes between Ford's character and Ronny's.

The "dead fish" scene might have been a tad bit over-the-top, IMO, but what that scene, more than any other, demonstrates in this movie is Ronny Howard's remarkable acting abilities as an eight-year-old boy. The tail-end of that emotional "fish" scene has Ronny shivering and partly crying in a manner that truly makes the viewer believe he has just been through a traumatic experience. (See the Season-Four "Andy Griffith" episode "Opie The Birdman" for another excellent example of Howard's considerable acting chops. He's great there too.)

This movie was filmed with a good deal of tender loving care it seems to me. The colors are rich and luscious and the movie's sets exude an "upper class" kind of quality. The Corbett's plush-looking apartment is probably one that a lot of people would be willing to fork over some serious cash for even today. (Housekeeper "Mrs. Livingston" {Sherwood} even remarks in the film: "There are women who would marry you this very minute for the equipment you have in this apartment".)

I enjoy movies that were made during this particular time period (1950s/1960s). You can almost soak up the era in which the film was made right through the screen, and nestle down comfortably into it.

I had never realized before getting this DVD that this motion picture was filmed in a super-wide "scope" aspect ratio (2.35:1). Heretofore, I'd only seen the film in a Full-Frame (1.33:1) TV format. I imagine many DVD buyers have had similar experiences, where a particular film's original screen shape is totally a mystery until purchasing the movie on the better-quality DVD format.

I didn't know what I was missing (literally) until seeing the film in its intended Widescreen shape. After seeing any movie in its "OAR", it's difficult to tolerate anything less (again, literally). Any pan-and-scanned, Full-Frame version is bound to be second-rate by comparison. And "Courtship" is no exception.

Warner Home Video brought "The Courtship Of Eddie's Father" to DVD with the release of this disc in May of 2003; and they've done a very good job on the film transfer here (IMHO anyway). It isn't what you'd call an absolutely "perfect" DVD print though. A few speckles of dust and dirt appear here and there; and a few places could be honed-in to better razor-sharpness. But, overall, this anamorphic DVD print is clean, with nicely-saturated colors. Many scenes ooze ultra-rich color, with red showing up particularly bright and handsome here.

The DVD has a few Special Features attached. Not too many; but some. There's a three-person Audio Commentary Track, which is nice. The three female leads all participate in the Commentary (Shirley Jones, Dina Merrill, and Stella Stevens).

There's a Theatrical Trailer for the film as well. And it's kind of a "special" trailer, in that it's the "Hollywood Preview Engagement" trailer for the movie (which was only seen in selected theaters around the country). The trailer is in Anamorphic Widescreen here and looks quite clean. It runs for 2:56. Audio for the trailer is in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono.

The only other bonus items are some text-only production notes and a one-screen list of credits for the cast and crew.

Other Info About This DVD:

Audio is Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (both English and French Mono tracks provided).

Video is Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1).

Subtitles are available in three languages (English, French, Spanish).

Menus are anamorphic and static in design. Theme music plays under Main Menu.

30 total Scene Selections (Chapters).

Snap Case (cardboard type) box, with nice-looking artwork. (Looks like original poster art used for the cover.)

--------------------

There's nothing really out-of-this-world spectacular about "The Courtship Of Eddie's Father". But I enjoy watching this film a good deal. The interaction between the characters is both well-done and inspiring. This is just a pleasant, clean, charming, fun, funny (and sometimes sad) movie.

A recommended DVD purchase (even if you're not "40-18-35"). .... Gee whiz, I wonder how such a 'healthy' woman can walk without falling over? Must be quite an adventure. ;)

Bye.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2000
I love this movie with Glenn Ford and Ronny Howard. It's a fun comedy yet touching. It's for people of all ages who would enjoy watching a charming movie. I've seen it many times and can't get enough of it. Glenn Ford portays a widower who is raising his child alone. Little Ronny Howard wants to make his dad happy by finding him a new wife. I suggest you purchase this movie and see it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Glenn Ford and Ronny Howard star in the wonderful family comedy THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER, a warm, winning film directed by master showman Vincente Minnelli.
After his wife dies, Tom Corbett (Glenn Ford) is coping as best he can, now being one of New York's most eligible bachelors. His young son Eddie (Ronny Howard), however, has definite ideas about who he wants his father to marry. None other than the kindly young divorcee living across the hall, Elizabeth (Shirley Jones). Tom, however, is dating cold socialite Rita (Dina Merrill).
How father and son teach each other about life and love makes for unforgettable screen entertainment.
With Stella Stevens, Roberta Sherwood and Jerry Van Dyke.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2007
This being one of my two favorite shows from this era (the other being Eight is Enough), I wish that the powers that be would release the TV series on DVD. I would purchase it immediately. No questions asked. What a wonderful, sweet series this was. I noticed that people were requesting that the distributors produce the Eight is Enough series on DVD in the Comments section when I tried to locate it as well, which gave me the idea to do that for this series here. To whom it may concern and who may have the ability to release this TV series on DVD, please do so as soon as possible! Thank you!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2007
Edit: I wrote a long review years ago, when I first bought the film, which follows, but have to make an additional comment after re-watching the movie tonight:
The performance by Glenn Ford is beyond incredible, how he didn't get an Academy Award nomination for this movie is impossible to understand- The range he displays, from the tender, dramatic moments to the comedic elements, to a beautifully acted segment of his terror when Eddie briefly is missing to his well played out sexual tension with neighbor Shirley Jones- If you think you 'know' Glenn Ford, be sure to watch this movie. Glenn Ford in this film gives one of the best performances by any actor I have ever seen in my life. The entire cast is excellent, but Mr. Ford will stun you in this. I hope that he knew what truly great, heartbreaking, uplifting, and important work he did in this film. What an actor. **** Now, what I wrote a few years ago. BUY THIS MOVIE!
***
Vincente Minnelli directed, so visually it's incredible, did any other director pay such attention to set decor, lighting, and making his stars look beautiful? (The chief benefactors here are Dina Merrill, Shirley Jones, and Stella Stevens, all beautifully turned-out and photographed to their loveliest.)
Glenn Ford and Ron(nie) Howard both were deserving of Oscar nominations, i think it may be Ford's most versatile performance ever, and the very young Howard had remarkable range and his performance, i believe, stands the test of time and remains one of the best acting jobs by a child ever recorded on film.
The commentary by Jones, Merrill, and Stevens is very revealing and interesting-Jones (who admits to having wanted to play the Stella Stevens role) notes that Minnelli wasn't so much a director of actors as a director of visual splendor, and while she states she had wished for more direction from Minnelli, she does so without insulting his memory or legacy. Dina Merrill comes across as the liveliest commentator here, with the happiest memories of the film. Stevens'comments compliment the other 2 actresses' very nicely.
In my opinion, Glenn Ford walks away with the movie, and this very under-appreciated actor seems in many ways to have been the George Clooney of his day, in terms of oozing charisma complimented by a no-nonsense, no-frills approach to acting. Yet, in this film, Ford shows he had plenty of technique, mastering difficult crying scenes one minute, heated anger with the Jones character another, and learning to parent his motherless son with increasing sensitivity as the film progresses. Intricate, touching, funny, sad, life-affirming story of a suddenly-single father learning to raise a young son on his own, when it likely was the last thing he ever expected to be doing. This theme would be revisited decades later by Dustin Hoffman in 'Kramer vs. Kramer' but Ford did it first here, and beautifully.
He truly was leading man material and entirely under appreciated- He had great ability.
And once again, there's the lush visual artistry of Vincente Minnelli to enjoy- (Dina Merrill, on the commentary track, offers a fun comment about an Italian restaurant scene, saying, 'Has anyone ever seen such a beautiful looking Italian restaurant in real life? Eat at Minnelli's!") as she clearly enjoys watching the film again while fondly remembering Ford, Minnelli and how impressed everyone was with the young Ron Howard. Really a nice movie.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2003
Of course, being a huge Partridge Family fan I have encountered every film Shirley Jones ever made. The Re-teaming of Shirley Jones and Ronny Howard (Also 1962 THE MUSIC MAN) for this film was a delight. She looks beautiful in this film, too. And the scene between Ronny Howard and Glen Ford at the end of the film had me rolling with laughter. He was truly an amazingly gifted young child actor. His sincerity and believability was remarkable for such a young age. His preformance alone would have been enough in this film but every actor gives a wonderfully talented performance (Even Jerry Van Dyke). So, if you want to see a funny, touching and romantic view of the world through the eyes of a little boy for his father......Buy this movie. It's a step back into the early 1960's where life was simpler and movies still had style. HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I used to love the early 1970's TV series which took its premise from this 1963 movie, so it was with some trepidation that I finally saw the original film directed by Vincente Minnelli. For such a family-oriented vehicle, his sometimes excessive filmmaking style shows up in subtle ways throughout the picture, and that's what primarily makes it interesting viewing now. The film starts out as an amusing domestic comedy, periodically hints toward deeper issues of grief and single parenthood, and then dives headlong into melodrama in the last half-hour. The result is pure Minnelli.

The other memorable aspect is eight-year old Ron Howard, sixth-billed and then known as Ronny, who delivers the central performance of Eddie without resorting to precociousness. More than his adult co-stars, he brings all the elements of the film together on an emotional level that resonates. Written by Tom Gay, the plot focuses on Eddie's attempts to reinvigorate the love life of his recently widowed father Tom. The likely candidate appears to be the pretty, recently divorced nurse next door, Elizabeth, but Tom and she start off on the wrong foot despite the fact that Eddie adores her. Efforts get refocused on Dolly, a vacuous, curvaceous girl they meet at the arcade, but Tom redirects her to womanizing disc jockey Norman. Tom then meets socialite Rita, whose glaring lack of a maternal instinct alienates Eddie to the point of running away.

All ends inevitably but not before some startling scenes like Eddie traumatized by the sight of his dead fish and Tom careening recklessly in his car to find Eddie (it looks like a similarly hair-raising scene on an Italian hillside road in Minnelli's "Two Weeks in Another Town"). In fact, the climactic argument between Tom and Elizabeth is surprisingly vitriolic for a family picture. Not the most charismatic of actors, Glenn Ford is solid as Tom, while a non-singing Shirley Jones plays Elizabeth with dexterity. The other performances are a bit more on the pat side - Stella Stevens lovably dim as Dolly, Jerry Van Dyke his recognizably unctuous self as Norman and Dina Merrill all slithery glamour as Rita. There are no extras with the 2004 DVD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This remarkable script was the perfect balance between poignancy and humor. It focuses around a minor drama if you want, but not less touching:a widower intends by all means to bring up his motherless son and viceversa.

As you know, the fine eye of Vincent Minelli told us a crude and painful portrayal through a charming comedy drama, a delicate issue that despite the elapsed ages, it keeps its actuality.

Stella Stevens stole for herself all the applauses for this standing out performance. Glenn Ford was effective with his elegant charisma.

Unforgettable!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 1999
If you ever need a movie to remind you what love is about then watch this movie...again and again and again. Ron Howard (Opie) as Eddie, shows the power of a child actor before the age of spoiled brat actors. No finer story for a father, a husband a couple, anyone else to enjoy.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The film version of The Courtship Of Eddie's Father is not as well known as the television show it spawned, but it is an enjoyable film. The film stars Glenn Ford as recently widowed New York City disk jockey who must raise his eight-year old son, Eddie played by Ron Howard. Shirley Jones co-stars as the family's next-door neighbor who develops into a love interest for Mr. Ford (this is the second film in row that Mr. Howard & Ms. Jones starred in together after 1962's The Music Man). Jerry Van Dyke provides comic relief as a fellow DJ who is the typical early 60's swinging ladies man. The film's best moments are the interaction between Mr. Ford & Mr. Howard. Their relationship is lovingly depicted and the sense of loss and coping that they go through is quite realistic. The Courtship Of Eddie's Father is a good, family friendly film.
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