Father’s Little Dividend
Release year: 1951
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Screenwriter: Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich
Starring: Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, Elizabeth Taylor, Don Taylor, Billie Burke, Moroni Olsen, Richard Rober, Marietta Canty, Tom Irish
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #313, week 25 2020
Stanley Banks (Tracy) has only just gotten used to loosing his daughter (Taylor) and accepting her becoming a married woman when she and her new husband (Taylor) announces she is pregnant. Now he has to come to terms with becoming a grandfather, not and easy thing if you are Stanley Banks.
Tracy’s (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, 1967) sarcastic voice-over as Stanley is back, unfortunately it has lost a bit of its bite. The same acting team reappears in their respective parts and all are still good, especially Tracy. But when it comes to comedy, there is far less of it in this sequel. Considering the end part where the child have arrived, one imagines more humour could have been found if the baby had been present in a bigger part of the movie as that last bit is more engaging and lifts the story tremendously. Taylor (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1958) gets part a bit more complex than in the first outing but this is still Tracy’s show, showing that often overlooked part of the father. A pleasant movie, but imagine what it could have been if we had had more time with Stanley as a grandfather.
Dame Elizabeth Taylor was suffering greatly with her physically abusive marriage to Conrad Hilton, Jr. during filming. One night in which her husband was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, he beat her to the ground and kicked her in the stomach, provoking a miscarriage. After that, the overall concept of this movie proved hard for Taylor, as she played a woman expecting and having a baby.
Contrary to popular belief, Bob Hope did not make a cameo appearance as the diaper delivery man. The uncredited actor’s name is Frank Sully.
The baby’s nursery is decorated with characters from The Wizard of Oz (1939), in the MGM movie version of which Billie Burke – who plays Doris Dunstan – played Glinda the Good Witch.