Happy Fathers Day from Olive Films! To celebrate the occasion, we’re going to celebrate by looking at some films that examine the relationship between father figures and their children. These films come from all sorts of genres, all over the history of film, and take different attitudes toward fatherhood. Let’s take a look!
FATHER GOOSE (1964)
Cary Grant plays against type as a grouchy and drunk reluctant father figure to a island full of young girls. A lookout on a South Pacific isle, he answers a distress call and discovers a beautiful French schoolmarm and her seven girl students. And so begins a hilarious battle of the sexes between the messy American, the prim mademoiselle and seven mischievous little girls. Who will win is anybody’s guess, but you can be sure that Father Goose delivers plenty of romantic fun and adventure along the way.
You can take Father Goose home on DVD and Blu-ray.
THE TRAP (1959)
This noirish thriller examines just how far the bonds and obligations of family can be pushed when a son asks for a favor that would make his father a criminal accomplice. After a ten-year hiatus, lawyer Ralph Anderson (Richard Widmark) returns to his hometown of Tula, California, where his father Lloyd (Carl Benton Reid) and brother Tippy (Earl Holliman) serve as the town’s sheriff and deputy. Forced to represent mob boss Victor Massonetti (Lee J. Cobb), Ralph asks his father to look the other way while a local airfield is used to help Massonetti flee the country. A disgusted Lloyd agrees to help, but Tippy decides to go after the big cash reward. The film features art direction by the legendary Henry Bumstead (Vertigo), cinematography by the great Daniel L. Fapp (West Side Story) and beautiful direction by Norman Panama (The Court Jester).
You can take The Trap home on DVD and Blu-ray.
THE WORLD IS BIG AND SALVATION LURKS AROUND THE CORNER (2008)
Who says that a father-son relationship can only span two generations? This film portrays a tender paternal relationship between a young man and his grandfather. After surviving a horrific car accident, a young man can’t even remember his own name. In an attempt to cure him from his amnesia, his quirky grandfather (Miki Manojlovic) travels to Germany and organizes a spiritual journey for his grandson back to the country of his birth. While traveling with his grandfather across time and place on a tandem bicycle, the young man begins to reconnect with his forgotten past. Based on Ilija Trojanow’s autobiography, this touching crowdpleaser explores such powerful themes as family, loyalty and cultural identity. Directed by rising international star Stephan Komandarev.
You can take The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner home on DVD.
ROCK-A-BYE BABY (1958)
Reluctant, in-over-your-head fatherhood seems like a topic perfect for comedy, and Rock-a-Bye Baby is Jerry Lewis’s take on the theme. In a loose remake of Preston Sturges’ classic The Miracle of Morgan Creek, goofy TV Repairman Clayton Poole (Jerry Lewis) becomes an unexpected father of three infant girls. The girls are the children of his childhood sweetheart, now a famous actress, Carla Naples (Marilyn Maxwell). She must temporarily give up the children to protect her career and star in a major Hollywood production. It’s triple the hijinks, triple the fun and triple the laughs! Whether it’s changing the diapers, warming the bottles or singing off-key lullabies, this in-over-his-head nanny will have you laughing ‘til it hurts. The film has plenty tender moments too– the song “Dormi-Dormi-Dormi” performed by Jerry and Salvatore Baccalone is one of the most beautiful and touching pieces of music any film has ever produced. There’s even an appearance from Jerry’s own son Gary (of Gary Lewis and the Playboys fame) making his film debut.
You can take Rock-a-Bye Baby home on DVD and Blu-ray.
IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY (2003)
This movie boasts not one, not two, but THREE generations of the Douglas acting dynasty with Kirk, Michael, and Cameron. Set in New York, the affluent Goldberg family is a living, breathing soap opera, complete with strained father-son dynamic and marital issues. Mitchell Gromberg (Kirk Douglas) is recovering from a stroke, son Alex (Michael Douglas) seems to have hit a mid-life crisis, questioning not only his work in the family-founded law firm, but his relevance within the family itself, and grandson Asher (Cameron Douglas) is, simply put, a lost soul. Rounding out the family dynamic is Mitchell’s wife Evelyn (Diana Douglas) and Alex’s wife Rebecca (Bernadette Peters) – two women who weather marital strife and familial discord while maintaining a cool composure.
You can take It Runs in the Family home on Blu-ray.
MY SON JOHN (1952)
Would you still love your son, even if he was a Communist?!?! This is the central dilemma of My Son John, a controversial film at its time. Legendary director Leo McCarey took on this infamous drama about a conservative religious couple (Helen Hayes, Dean Jagger) that suspects their oldest son to be a communist. The arrogant and intellectual young man (Robert Walker), a worker in a federal agency, returns home from a long absence spouting pro-communism doctrine and deriding the beliefs of capitalism and religion. Things become very serious when an FBI agent (Van Heflin) shows up to tell the horrified parents that their son may be an enemy spy. The film’s star Robert Walker (Stranger on a Train) died at age 32 due to adverse reaction to prescription drugs before My Son John could be shown. For the film, Leo McCarey received a 1953 Oscar nomination for Best Writing.
You can take My Son John home on DVD and Blu-ray.
THE SUM OF US (1994)
This Australian indie film is a touching, modern portrayal of father-son love at its most powerful. It also has the distinction of being the movie that put Russell Crowe on the map! Macho widower Harry (Jack Thompson) and his gay son Jeff (Russell Crowe) share a home, a close bond and a desire to find long-term relationships. Their dry spells seem to be over when Harry meets attractive divorcee Joyce (Deborah Kennedy) and Jeff meets local lad Greg (John Polson). Unfortunately, the closeted Greg is uncomfortable with Harry’s acceptance of Jeff. And Joyce, uncomfortable with Jeff’s sexuality, puts a strain on the bond between father and son in the powerfully entertaining The Sum of Us.
You can take The Sum of Us home on DVD and Blu-ray.
THE NIGHT OF THE GRIZZLY (1966)
In a nightmare scenario, the father in this film must protect his defenseless family from dangers on all sides. Big Jim Cole (Clint Walker) inherits land in Wyoming and trades his dangerous lawman’s life for the comparatively cushy existence of a rancher. But he barely gets his family settled when new dangers plague them. There’s a treacherous grizzly bear on a murderous rampage, angry neighbors who covet his property and an outlaw he once sent to prison is back for revenge. The Night of the Grizzly was released to Olive Signature last year, with a new digital restoration and chock full of entertaining bonus features.
You can take The Night of the Grizzly home on Olive Signature DVD and Blu-ray.
June 16, 2017