Classic Cinema Spotlight: Life With Father (1947)


In lieu of Father's Day I wanted to spotlight a film that has made me giggle a heck of a lot. A little film called Life with Father (1947), starring William Powell and Irene Dunne.

Powell stars as the father in question, Clarence Day, Sr. who works as a stockbroker and who wishes to be the master of his house. Typically we would assume with a film set in the late 19th Century that a man would be in charge of his household but poor Clarence, Sr. is set straight by his doting yet very much in charge wife, Vinnie (Dunne).

I think we all know secretly the wives are totally in charge of the household. I know if I weren't here the roof would collapse and mayhem would ensue. I mean, maybe not right away but I do know that I hold it together here just like my husband holds it together outside of our home. It's just the way we do it in the vintage nerd household. Old school.

Why did I refer to Clarence, Sr. as "poor"? Well, because he doesn't realize how little control he has of his household, especially when it comes to his children. His life then begins to unravel and he realizes he doesn't have much control over anything especially when everyone in the family starts pestering him to get baptized!

I adore the fiestiness of Powell's character and the calm yet strong demeanor of his wife Vinnie. It all becomes hectic and by the end of the film the strong willed domineering Clarence just gives up and gosh darn gets baptized.

William Powell Life With Father
Elizabeth Taylor
Life With Father

This film has a wonderful supporting cast with Jimmy Lydon as Clarence, Jr., Edmund Gwenn as Rev. Dr. Lloyd, Elizabeth Taylor as Mary Skinner, and ZaSu Pitts as Cousin Cora Cartwright.

The film is based on a true story by Clarence Day, Jr. published in 1935 about his real father and the shenanigans that went on in his home. Sadly, the real Clarence Day Jr. never got a chance to see the fruition of his work because he passed on shortly after it was published. The book became a long running play in 1939 and then the film version in 1947.

It's the perfect film for Father's Day as you get to watch a father struggle with all things a father does, his work, his marriage, his children, and the running of his own life. Powell does it so well. We watch him dictating orders to just about everyone in the house and he expects everyone to listen and obey but when everyone does the opposite we see this seemingly put together father just smarten up and realize that not everything goes as one plans.

Definitely a feel good film and one filled with oodles of chuckles and lots and lots of redheads! I love those gingers!!

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  1. Im almost ashamed to admit Ive never seen this Ill have to check it out

    retro rover

  2. Sounds delightful, this is going on my must watch list! Thanks! ♡

    bonita of Lavender & Twill


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