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Father of the Bride

(1950 b 93')

En: 7 Ed: 7

Adapted from Edward Streeter’s novel, a father gives his account of what he went through for his daughter’s wedding.

         Stanley Banks (Spencer Tracy) introduces a story about a wedding. He and his wife Ellie Banks (Joan Bennett) learn that their daughter Kay (Elizabeth Taylor) wants to marry Buckley Dunstan (Don Taylor). Stanley has difficulty adjusting and does not like Buckley. In bed he tells Ellie the worst things that can happen. She starts worrying, and she asks him to question Buckley.

         In the morning Stanley asks Kay to invite Buckley over for dinner; she thinks her father is old-fashioned but complies. Stanley tells Buckley about his own finances, but Ellie learned from Kay that Buckley has saved $5,000 and has his own company.

         Stanley and Ellie go to meet Herb Dunstan (Moroni Olsen) and Doris Dunstan (Billie Burke). Stanley and Herb both like to drink. Stanley gets tipsy, talks, and then falls asleep.

         Stanley and Ellie give an engagement party, but Stanley spends the whole time fixing drinks until people have gone. Stanley refuses to put on a church wedding; but then Ellie tells him she wished she had had a church wedding. Stanley says okay and learns how much it is going to cost. He insists on reducing the reception list to 150 people. They begin arguing about who should be invited. Stanley suggests that Kay could elope but then tells Ellie to invite them all.

         Stanley and Ellie meet with the caterer Mr. Massoula (Leo G. Carroll) to plan the reception and try to keep costs down. Stanley tries to fit into his old suit, but it rips. Wedding gifts start to arrive and pile up. Suddenly Kay tells her parents that she is not going to marry Buckley. She says they quarreled over where to go on the honeymoon. Buckley comes over to apologize, and they make up.

         Mr. Tringle (Melville Cooper) organizes the rehearsal at the church amid confusion, and Rev. Galsworthy (Paul Harvey) arrives after it is over. Stanley has a nightmare about walking down the aisle. He goes down to the kitchen and finds worried Kay there. He reassures her, and she says he is great.

         On the wedding day movers taking out all the furniture clash with the caterers who want to start bringing things in. Stanley sees that Ellie and Kay are beautifully dressed. Stanley and Kay march down the aisle. During the wedding ceremony he realizes that he is giving her up.

         Their house is filled with people drinking champagne, and Ellie asks Stanley to check the supply. He misses seeing Kay throw the bouquet and leave. After the party the house is a mess, and Ellie and Stanley talk about cleaning up. Kay calls her father from the station and says she loves him. Stanley and Ellie dance.

         This classic comedy depicts a modern wedding in a prosperous society in which most people like to drink alcohol. Most comedies end with weddings because they are a powerful ritual celebrating the continuity of life and family.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

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