The Courtship of Eddie's Father
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The film that started the classic TV series. Although he's only seven, Eddie's got it all figured out. He wants his father, a widower, to get remarried - to the girl next door. Unfortunately, she's not one of the women that his dad's been dating. Sweet family comedy.
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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.