AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Father of the Bride
Director: Vincente Minnelli (Dir)
Release Date:   16 Jun 1950
Production Date:   16 Jan--late Feb 1950
Duration (in mins):   92-93
Duration (in feet):   8,320
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Cast:   Spencer Tracy (Stanley T. Banks)  
    Joan Bennett (Ellie Banks)  
    Elizabeth Taylor (Kay Banks)  
    Don Taylor (Buckley Dunstan)  
    Billie Burke (Mrs. Doris Dunstan)  
    Leo G. Carroll (Mr. Massoula)  
    Moroni Olsen (Herbert Dunstan)  
    Melville Cooper (Mr. Tringle)  
    Taylor Holmes (Warner)  
    Paul Harvey (Reverend [A. I.] Galsworthy)  
    Frank Orth (Joe)  
    Rusty Tamblyn (Tommy Banks)  
    Tom Irish (Ben Banks)  
    Marietta Canty (Delilah)  
    Willard Waterman (Dixon)  
    Nancy Valentine (Fliss)  
    Mary Jane Smith (Effie)  
    Jacqueline Duval (Peg)  
    Fay Baker (Miss Bellamy)  
    Frank Hyers (Duffy)  
    Chris Drake (Usher)  
    Floyd Taylor (Usher)  
    Don Anderson (Usher)  
    William Mahan (Usher)  
    Walter Kelly (Usher)  
    Peter Thompson (Usher)  
    Carleton Carpenter (Usher/Young man with Coke)  
    Lucille Barnes (Bridesmaid)  
    Erin Selwyn (Bridesmaid)  
    Janet Fay (Bridesmaid)  
    Wendy Waldron (Bridesmaid)  
    Douglas Spencer (Organist)  
    Paul Maxey (Fat man)  
    William E. Green (Sad-faced man)  
    Frank Cady (Timid guest)  
    Ella Ethridge (Woman in dream seq)  
    Dorothy Phillips (Woman in dream seq)  
    Anne Kunde (Woman in dream seq)  
    William Bailey (Man in dream seq)  
    Stuart Holmes (Man in dream seq)  
    Fred Santley (Guest)  
    Philo McCullough (Guest)  
    Harry Stanton (Guest)  
    Lucille Curtis (Guest)  
    Estelle Ettere (Guest)  
    Peggy Leon (Guest)  
    Betty Farrington (Guest)  
    Lillian Bronson (Schoolteacher)  
    Thomas Brown Henry (Stranger)  
    Mickey Golden (Barman)  
    Gene Coogan (Barman)  
    Lee Phelps (Motor cop)  
    Patricia Miller (Wispy girl)  
    Frank Richards (Truck driver)  
    William Haade (Policeman)  
    Jeff York (Policeman)  
    Dewey Robinson (Mover with lamp)  
    Ed Gargan (Mover with door)  
    Ralph Peters (Mover with marquee)  
    Dick Wessell (Mover with chandelier)  
    Dick Alexander (Mover with screen)  
    Joe Brown Jr. (Mover)  
    Jim Hayward (Mover)  
    Gil Perkins (Mover)  
    Brad Hutton (Florist)  
    John Walsh (Western Union boy)  
    William "Bill" Phillips (Foreman of movers)  
    Boyd Davis    
    Oliver Blake    
    Peter Thompson    
    Roger Moore    
    Mickey McCardle    
    Sherry Hall    
    Aileen Carlyle    

Summary: Following the wedding of his daughter Kay, Stanley T. Banks, a suburban lawyer, recalls the day, three months earlier, when he first learned of Kay's engagement to Buckley Dunstan: At the family dinner table, Kay's casual announcement that she is in love with Buckley and has accepted his proposal makes Stanley feel uneasy, but he soon comes to realize that his daughter has grown up and the wedding is inevitable. While Ellie, Kay's mother, immediately begins making preparations for the wedding, Stanley lies awake at night, fearing the worst for his daughter. Stanley's misgivings about the marriage eventually make Ellie anxious, and she insists that Kay introduce them to Buckley's parents. Kay calls the tradition "old-fashioned rigamarole," but arranges the meeting nevertheless. Before the introduction, Stanley has a private conversation with Buckley, and is pleased to learn that the young man is the head of a small company and that he is capable of providing a comfortable life for Kay. The Bankses' first meeting with Doris and Herbert, Buckley's parents, gets off to an awkward start, and goes from bad to worse when Stanley drinks too much and falls asleep in the wealthy Dunstans' living room. Following Kay and Buckley's engagement party, Stanley, who misses the entire party because he is in the kitchen mixing drinks, realizes that his plans for a small wedding have been swept aside and he will be expected to pay for an extravagant wedding "with all the trimmings." As costs for the June event spiral out of control, Stanley calculates that he can afford to accommodate no more than one hundred and fifty guests. The task of paring down the guest list proves too difficult, however, and Stanley reluctantly consents to a 250-person reception. The plans for a lavish wedding continue until the day that Buckley tells Kay that he wants to take her on a fishing trip in Nova Scotia for their honeymoon. Kay reacts to the announcement with shock and calls off the wedding, but she and Buckley soon reconcile, and the two families begin their wedding rehearsals. On the day of the wedding, chaos reigns at the Banks home as final preparations are made for the reception. The wedding ceremony brings both joy and sorrow to Stanley, as he realizes that his daughter is now a woman and no longer his child. The following day, Ellie and Stanley survey the mess in their home and concur that the entire affair was a great success. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's, Inc.)
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: Vincente Minnelli (Dir)
  Marvin Stuart (Asst dir)
Producer: Pandro S. Berman (Prod)
Writer: Frances Goodrich (Scr)
  Albert Hackett (Scr)
Photography: John Alton (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
  Leonid Vasian (Art dir)
Film Editor: Ferris Webster (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis (Set dec)
  Keogh Gleason (Assoc)
Costumes: Helen Rose (Women's cost)
  Walter Plunkett (Men's cost)
Music: Adolph Deutsch (Mus)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Sd rec)
Make Up: Sydney Guilaroff (Hair styles des by)
  Jack Dawn (Makeup created by)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the novel Father of the Bride by Edward Streeter (New York, 1949).
Authors: Edward Streeter

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Loew's Inc. 9/5/1950 dd/mm/yyyy LP134 Yes

PCA NO: 14439
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

 
Genre: Comedy
Sub-Genre: Domestic
 
Subjects (Major): Brides
  Engagements
  Fathers and daughters
  Marriage
  Weddings
 
Subjects (Minor): Caterers and catering
  Dreams
  Drunkenness
  Family relationships
  Finance--Personal
  In-laws
  Lawyers
  Mothers and daughters
  Parties
  Reconciliation

Note: A Nov 1948 HR news item notes that M-G-M purchased the film rights to Edward Streeter's novel for $100,000 plus "other considerations," and that the sum was the highest price paid by the studio for a story property in that year. A Jan 1950 DV news item noted that Jack Benny was tested for the part played by Spencer Tracy. Tracy and Joan Bennett had earlier appeared together in the 1932 Fox Film Corp. picture Me and My Gal (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films 1930-41 ; F3.2790). Some of the film's story is told in voice-over narration by Tracy's character. The film's release coincided with the wedding of Elizabeth Taylor to Nicky Hilton, son of millionaire hotelier Conrad Hilton, an event that M-G-M exploited in its publicity campaign for the picture. Helen Rose, who designed Taylor's gown for the film, also designed the gown for her wedding to Nicky Hilton.
       Father of the Bride was one of the top grossing films of 1950, and received the following Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Actor (Spencer Tracy). In 1951, M-G-M released a sequel to the film, entitled Father's Little Dividend , in which Tracy, Taylor, Don Taylor, Billie Burke and Joan Bennett reprised their roles. Vincente Minnelli also directed the sequel. A 1991 remake of Father of the Bride was directed by Charles Shyer and starred Steve Martin and Diane Keaton. Father of the Bride was also produced as a short-lived television series from 1961 to 1962, featuring Ruth Warwick, Myrna Fahey and Leon Ames (in Tracy's role). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   13 May 1950.   
Daily Variety   4 Jan 50   p. 4.
Daily Variety   16 Jan 50   p. 2.
Daily Variety   10 May 50   p. 3, 6
Film Daily   10 May 50   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Nov 48   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Jan 50   p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Feb 50   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   10 May 50   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   13 May 50   p. 293.
New York Times   19 May 50   p. 31.
Variety   10 May 50   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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