Father of the Bride (1950)
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Based on the novel Father of the Bride by Edward Streeter
Screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett
Starring: Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, Elizabeth Taylor
Stanley (Tracy) is struggling to deal with the impending marriage of his only daughter (Taylor). With the date fast approaching, the financial and emotional costs continue to rise.
For many people, The Father of the Bride brings back memories of Steve Martin and Diane Keaton in the 1991 remake. Much earlier than that, it was Spencer Tracy (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner), Joan Bennett (Scarlet Street), and Elizabeth Taylor (Cleopatra) leading the way. The story was originally adapted by Frances Goodrich (It’s a Wonderful Life) and Albert Hackett (The Diary of Anne Frank) from the 1949 novel by Edward Streeter (Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation). Oscar winner Vincente Minnelli (An American in Paris) directed this film. This film would be nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture.
The novel The Father of the Bride by Edward Streeter was published in 1949. By 1950 the novel had been turned into a screenplay, and the screenplay into a feature film. The screenplay was eventually nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. This story has all the sentimental sappiness of a 1950s romantic comedy. The comedy is simple and expected, playing off of the relationship of a father and his family. This film can be overly sappy at times with the slower pace and dated references hindering some moments of the movie. Still, there is something heartwarming about this movie that has stood the test of time. The situational comedy is still relevant, and the characters are fun. This story might not have held up as well as some films from the era, but it’s still a fun watch.
The acting in this movie does good work with the story. Spencer Tracy does a wonderful job leading the way in this one. His performance is the piece that connects all of the other characters in the film. In this one, Tracy has a great subtle comedic wit and excellent timing. He finds a way to play the frustrated father without turning him into an unlikable character. He also creates some of the best moments of the film thanks to the chemistry he had with Taylor and Bennett. For his work, Tracy was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Joan Bennett was a great choice to play the mother of the bride. She does a good job playing the most steady character throughout the film. Elizabeth Taylor also does good work in this one. She plays the young and anxious bride perfectly in this movie. The cast does a good job with the material they were given. While some of the supporting roles are a bit silly, the acting holds up pretty well.
This movie looks like most similar movies from the 1950s. The visuals and sound all do the right stuff to make this one work. The story might not have aged as well, but this is still a fun movie. If you’re a fan of classic romantic comedies or family comedies; this is one you should see. I would also suggest this to fans of the stars. I give this one 3.2 out of 5 stars.