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Life with Father

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Life with Father (1947) starring William Powell, Irene Dunne, Elizabeth Taylor
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Life with Father (1947) starring William Powell, Irene Dunne, Elizabeth Taylor, directed by Michael Curtiz

Editorial review of Life with Father courtesy of

Ah, remember those good old days when father ruled the roost, keeping a tight rein on the money, the kids, and the docile wife? Well, neither does Clarence Day (William Powell), the title character in Life with Father. Taking place in New York in 1883, this charming comedy purports to show the life of a strict father managing his house and his family, only to be constantly–and unknowingly–out-manipulated by his somewhat ditzy wife, Vinnie (Irene Dunne).

Irene Dunne and William Powell in Life with Father

Day is terrifying enough that maids keep quitting, but Vinnie manages to keep Day under control–that is, until she discovers that he was never baptized. A battle ensues as she desperately tries to ensure that they will one day meet in heaven, and all the while he severely maintains that the church has no business messing with a man’s soul.

Meanwhile, young Clarence Day Jr. (Jimmy Lydon) is busy falling for visiting Mary Skinner (played gigglingly by Elizabeth Taylor), and his brother John concocts a money-making scheme that involves the selling of a rather dubious potion. The costumes, the characters, and the wonderful story line–based on a play that was based on the memoir written by Clarence Day Jr.–make this a delightful movie that’s perfect for a family-film night. –Jenny Brown

Cast of characters

Music performed in Life with Father

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