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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Courtship Of Eddie's Father (1963)

A recently widowed father (Glenn Ford) finds that his young son (Ron Howard) isn't adjusting well to the death of his mother. When he begins courting a socialite (Dina Merrill), the boy's resentment takes center stage. Based on the novel by Mark Toby and directed by Vincente Minnelli. For the most part, this is a charming and amusing family film (in the best sense of the term). One of the great visual stylists of the medium, Minnelli gives the film a bright and vivid palette from the decor to the Helen Rose costumes on the film's three leading ladies (Shirley Jones and Stella Stevens are the other two). What's troubling about the film is the child's interference in his father's life and how it plays out. His dislike of Merrill's character is irrational, she has "skinny eyes" and while a child should take precedence in a parent's life, the film seems to just accept his senseless prejudice rather than make an attempt to correct it. The fact that Merrill's character (who doesn't really have skinny eyes) is brunette whiles Shirley Jones' character is blonde brings an unintentional undertone of racism (her hair is dark and "skinny eyes" can be seen as an Asian trait). The film's bright spot is Stella Stevens whose drum solo is a highpoint of the film. Made into a popular TV series in 1969. With Roberta Sherwood, Jerry Van Dyke and Lee Meriwether.

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