Toronto Film Society presented Father’s Little Dividend (1951) on Monday, September 17, 1979 in a double bill with From Here to Eternity as part of the Season 32 Monday Evening Film Buff Series, Programme 1.
Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Producer: Pandro S. Berman. Director: Vincente Minelli. Screenplay: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, based on characters created by Edward Streeter. Cinematographer: John Alton. Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons and Leonid Vasian. Musical Score: Albert Sendrey. Editor: Ferris Webster. Set Decoration: Edwin Willis and Keogh Gleason. Women’s Costumes: Helen Rose.
Cast: Spencer Tracy (Stanley Banks), Joan Bennett (Ellie Banks), Elizabeth Taylor (Kay Dunstan), Don Taylor (Buckley Dunstan), Billie Burke (Doris Dunstan), Moroni Olsen (Herbert Dunstan), Marietta Canty (Delilah), Rusty Tamblyn (Tommy Banks), Tom Irish (Ben Banks), Hayden Rorke (Dr. Andrew Nordell), Paul Harvey (The Reverend Galsworthy), Richard Rober (Police Sergeant), Frank Faylen (Policeman), Beverly Thompson (Nurse), Dabbs Greer (Taxi Driver), Robert B. Williams (Officer), Frank Sully (Diaper Man), James Menzies (Mike), Thomas Menzies (Red), Harry Hines (Old Man), Nancy Valentine, Wendy Waldron (Maids), Lon Poff (Elderly Man on Porch), George Bruggeman (Gym Instructor), Donald Clark (The Dividend).
Father’s Little Dividend, with exactly the same cast and crew as Father of the Bride, was released nine months after the initial film. The father of the bride, Stanley Banks, is at last recuperating from the effects of that marriage when his daughter announces she is to have a baby. M-G-M was strongly in favour of making the story into a continuing series, like the immensely successful Thin Man films, but Spencer Tracy flatly refused.
“It is not very often that the sequel to a successful film turns out to be even half as successful or rewarding as the original picture was. But we’ve got to hand it to Metro: its sequel to Father of the Bride is so close that we’ll willingly concede it to the humor and charm of that former film. — Bosley Crowther, The New York Times
“All the players are just right in the roles to which they have become accustomed, but once again Spencer Tracy wraps the picture up with a grand comedy performance as an innocent bystander turned baby-sitter.” — Newsweek
“The best of them are the two joyous Vincente Minnelli comedies, Father of the Bride (1950) and Father’s Little Dividend (1951). Like many Taylor films, they are endearing specimens of Hollywood Americans.
“A minor classic in a minor tradition, blending the late Forties with the early Fifties, Father of the Bride is a pre-Father Knows Best peek at a distressingly average upper-middle-class family. The Bankses are your typical consumer-oriented suburbanites who follow the rules. …The vignettes are brushed with the light Minnelli touch at its most beguiling, and they are acted with captivating nonchalance by Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, and the Taylors, Don and Elizabeth.
“As the put-upon, grumbling teddy bear papa, solicitous of his daughter’s welfare and vigilant as to the disposal of his pennies, Tracy is unbeatably droll. Playing the American domestic dictator (a role in the tradition of Clarence Day in Life with Father), Tracy is all good-natured bluff and he-man heartiness.”
Elizabeth Taylor by Foster Hirsch
Notes written and complied by John Thompson
October 2022 – April 2023