Father of the Bride (1950)

Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy
Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy

'Father of the Bride' is a comedy movie made in 1950, which shows a man preparing for his daughter's forthcoming very expensive wedding. The film was directed by Vincente Minnelli and stars Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, Elizabeth Taylor, Don Taylor, Billie Burke, and Leo. G. Carroll and was adapted from the popular 1949 novel of the same name by Edward Streeter.

The film was commercially very successful, earning $4,036,000 in the US and Canada and $2,048,000 overseas, making MGM a profit of $2,936,000. It received three Academy Award nominations, for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay, but, in the year of 'All About Eve' and 'Sunset Boulevard' it won no Oscars.

A sequel was made in 1951, 'Father's Little Dividend', with the same director and main cast. The movie was remade in 1991 with Steve Martin in the Spencer Tracy role.

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The plot of 'Father of the Bride' is a simple one. Stanley Banks, a lawyer played by Spencer Tracy learns that his daughter, Kay, played by the young Elizabeth Taylor, is to be married to her latest boyfriend.

The movie describes the pitfalls, social tensions, a guest list which gets larger and larger and general problems which Stanly encounters, whilst trying vainly to keep some control of the financial outlay. He is outsmarted at every turn by his wife, Ellie, played by Joan Bennett and daughter and eventually has to learn to leave it to them.

The movie is still funny, and a triumph for director, Vincente Minnelli who directs with a deft touch, allowing the humor to come out naturally and never allowing the action, particularly the interchanges between father and daughter, to become too schmaltzy. It is a fascinating snapshot of middle-class, mid-century American life.

Main Cast

Spencer Tracy ... Stanley T. Banks
Joan Bennett ... Ellie Banks
Elizabeth Taylor ... Katherine 'Kay' Banks
Don Taylor ... Buckley Dunstan
Billie Burke ... Doris Dunstan
Leo G. Carroll ... Mr. Massoula
Moroni Olsen ... Herbert Dunstan
Melville Cooper ... Mr. Tringle
Taylor Holmes ... Warner
Paul Harvey ... Rev. A.I. Galsworthy
Frank Orth ... Joe
Russ Tamblyn ... Tommy Banks (as Rusty Tamblyn)
Tom Irish ... Ben Banks
Marietta Canty ... Delilah - the Maid
Spencer Tracy (1900-67)The whole movie revolves round Spencer Tracy and his performance is quite exceptional. As Stanley, the middle class father, caring about his daughter's welfare and ever watchful over the spending of his money, Tracy is incredibly funny. He underplays the role, never overacts, and judges his performance beautifully. Tracy was one of the foremost stars of Hollywood's Golden Age and during his career he was nominated for Best Actor Oscars nine times, winning two.

Joan Bennett (1910-1990) Another Hollywood heavyweight, Joan Bennett came from an acting family and her sisters, Barbara and Constance Bennett, were also well known movie actresses. Joan quickly rose to stardom after appearing in 'Bulldog Drummond' opposite Ronald Colman in 1929. Her beauty and acting skill made her a favorite in such films as 'Little Women', in 1933 and 'The Man in the Iron Mask' in 1939. She plays well as the bride's loyal mother who has to deal patiently and tactfully with her husband and daughter who are both close to losing their minds to pre-wedding anxieties.

Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011) as the typical spoiled daughter of a bourgeois mid-American family, Elizabeth was in her acting element, beautiful, poised and elegant. She was nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award on five occasions, winning twice. She became as famous for her marriages and flamboyant lifestyle as for her considerable acting ability.

Don Taylor (1920-1998) After his appearance as the fiancé of Liz Taylor, Don Taylor appeared in 'Flying Leathernecks' in 1951 and 'Stalag 17' in 1953. After the mid-fifties he successfully turned to television and movie directing.

Billie Burke(1884-1970) Coming from a showbiz family, Billie began her career on Broadway and married the producer,Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. in 1914. She made her film debut in 1916 and had a long movie career. She will always be remembered for her performance as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, in 'The Wizard of Oz' in 1939.

Leo G. Carroll (1886-1972) Brilliantly plays Mr. Massoula, the officious and decidedly snobbish wedding caterer. After making his film debut in 1934, English-born Carroll made his name in six Alfred Hitchcock films between 1940 and 1959. He is best remembered now for his role as spymaster Alexander Waverly in 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E' between 1964 and 1968.


Director ... Vincente Minnelli
Producer ... Pandro S. Berman
Based on ... Father of the Bride (novel), by Edward Streeter
Screenplay ... Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett
Music ... Adolph Deutsch
Cinematography ... John Alton
Distribution Company ... Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date ... June 16, 1950
Running time ... 92 minutes

Academy Awards

No Wins:
Three Unsuccessful Nominations:
Best Picture ... Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Best Actor ... Spencer Tracy
Best Writing, Screenplay ... Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett