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Father Is a Prince

Father Is a Prince(1939)

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teaser Father Is a Prince (1939)

Character actor Grant Mitchell got a rare shot at top billing in this amiable B picture from Warner Bros. Best known for supporting turns in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), he specialized in henpecked husbands and stern taskmasters. The latter came into play for this gentle family comedy, in which he stars as a tightwad vacuum cleaner manufacturer who runs his family like a military brigade. When daughter Jan Clayton announces her engagement to George Reeves, the son of a business rival, family pressures explode. Warner's had filmed the Sophie Kerr Underwood-Anna Steese Richardson play Big Hearted Herbert under its original title in 1934, with Guy Kibbee and Aline McMahon in the leads. For the remake, Warner's paired Mitchell with the prolific Nana Bryant, a warm actress at her best in motherly roles like this (and as Marilyn Monroe's prospective mother-in-law in 1950's Ladies of the Chorus). The film also showcases a pair of rising talents. Clayton would go on to Broadway stardom in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, and then play Tommy Rettig's mother on Lassie. Although he had a small part in Gone With the Wind (1939) as one of the Tarleton Twins, Reeves would be better known as Superman on the popular syndicated television series.

By Frank Miller

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