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The Seven Little Foys [Bob Hope]


Movie review of The Seven Little Foys, starring Bob Hope as Eddie Foy, the star of vaudeville who has been absent from his children’s lives … until his wife dies, and he’s now forced to be a real ‘father’ in every sense of that word … and how Eddie and his children develop mutual love for each other, and how he struggles to work them into his act.   A wonderful film, very funny and very touching, often at the same time.

In The Seven Little Foys, Bob Hope flexes both his comedy and acting muscles, playing the part of Eddie Foy, a major star in vaudeville who’s married with seven children … for whom he has very little time.   Bob Hope manages to be both funny and endearing in this role, as well as bittersweet when he wins the -“father of the year” award …  Only to be reminded that, as a father, he’s a failure.   And shortly afterwards, when Eddie Foy’s wife dies, he sits in the house, in the throes of depression, having attempted to win his children’s affections after their mother’s death with things … which hasn’t worked, of course.

A second chance

Eventually, a friend reminds Eddie that he has a life to live, and a second chance to bond with his children.   Eddie attempts to do so, and makes one attempt after another at working the children into his act.   There is some friction between Eddie and a friend of his deceased wife, who feels that he not only wasn’t a father to the children, but he isn’t now, and is merely using them to advance his career.   The movie ends in a climactic courtroom scene that is both touching, dramatic and hilarious at the same time, as Eddie fights not only for the affections of his children, but also for their custody.

It’s a slightly more serious Bob Hope movie than normal, but very funny, and very entertaining.   James Cagney appears in several scenes as Eddie Foy’s friendly rival, George M. Cohan, and it’s a treat to see Hope and Cagney appearing together.   All in all, a very good movie, and one that I highly recommend.

Songs in The Seven Little Foys

  • I’m the Greatest Father Of Them All, Written by William Jerome, Eddie Foy and Joseph J. Lilley, Sung and Danced by Bob Hope and The Seven Little Foys
  • Nobody,  Lyrics by Alex Rogers, Music by Bert Williams, Sung by Bob Hope, assisted by Milly Vitale
  • I’m Tired, Lyrics by William Jerome, Music by Jean Schwartz, Performed by Bob Hope
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy, Written by George M. Cohan, Danced by James Cagney
  • The Irish Washerwoman, Traditional, Danced by Bob Hope
  • Mary’s a Grand Old Name, Written by George M. Cohan, Danced by James Cagney and Bob Hope
  • Smiles, Music by Lee S. Roberts, Lyrics by J. Will Callahan, Sung by Lydia Reed and Linda Bennett
  • Row, Row, Row, Lyrics by William Jerome, Music by James V. Monaco, Sung by Lydia Reed and Linda Bennett, Danced by Bob Hope and The Seven Little Foys
  • Chinatown, My Chinatown, Lyrics by William Jerome, Music by Jean Schwartz, Performed by Bob Hope and The Seven Little Foys
  • God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen, Traditional

Editorial review of The Seven Little Foys, starring Bob Hope, James Cagney, Jerry Mathers, courtesy of Amazon.com

After the costume comedy Casanova’s Big Night Bob Hope decided to tackle a more serious role in the Paramount’s 1955 film The Seven Little Foys. Hope plays real-life vaudeville star Eddie Foy who had always performed as a ‘€œsingle’€ act on stage. But when his wife passes away Foy must incorporate his seven children into the act in order to keep custody. Now not only is he no longer a solo performer but his adorable children are stealing the limelight. The film’s real highlight comes during a friar’s roast as Foy’s friend George M. Cohan joins him for some impromptu comedy as a show-stopping dance number. James Cagney reprises his Oscar-winning role as Cohan from Yankee Doodle Dandy. The film offered longtime collaborators Melville Shavelson and Jack Rose their directing and producing debuts. Previously the two collaborated on such Bob Hope screenplays as Sorrowful Jones, The Princess and the Pirate and My Favorite Brunette. Shavelson and Rose also received an Oscar nomination for their Foys screenplay.
System Requirements: Running Time 95 Min

Funny movie quotes from The Seven Little Foys starring Bob Hope, James Cagney

Clara Morando: Signor Foy, we are going to have a baby.
Madeleine Morando Foy: I wanted to tell you, Eddie, but Clara said to wait.
Barney Green: If you’re interested, it happened in Capri.
Eddie Foy (Bob Hope): …Oh, well, thank you. Thank you, one and all. It is nice of you to let me in on it. There any other late bulletins?
[to Clara]
Eddie Foy (Bob Hope): You seem to know everything! What’s it gonna be – a boy or a girl?
Clara Morando: It will be an Italian!
Eddie Foy (Bob Hope): It’s one thing we’re getting through customs!

Trivia for The Seven Little Foys starring Bob Hope, James Cagney

James Cagney won an Oscar for playing Broadway producer George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). He agreed to play Cohan again in this film on condition that he would not be paid for the role. He did the role as a tribute to Eddie Foy, who had generously provided occasional meals for struggling young actors, including Cagney, in 1920s New York.


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