Ep 12: Father Goose

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Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: 5 Pops ~ Cary Grant at his best, and his best is pretty damn good. Romance gets a 5 for both wonderful romances – Cary and Leslie, and Cary and Trevor. Lucy’s rating breakdown: Structure: 5, Comedy: 5, Romance:5

Jenny says: 5 Pops ~ Okay, maybe the structure should be 41/2 for how long it takes to get through the set-up, but I never got bored. Also, I love this movie. Jenny’s rating breakdown: Structure: 5, Comedy: 5, Romance:5

Blog Poll Rating: TBD

Movie Info:

Story: Walter is not happy about being blackmailed into spotting planes alone on a remote island in the Pacific during WWII. Then a French headmistress lands on the island with seven little schoolgirls. Release Date: Dec. 10, 1964 Director: Ralph Nelson Writers: S.H. Barnett, Peter Stone, Frank Taloff. More info at IMDb.

10 responses to “Ep 12: Father Goose”

  1. Watched this for the millionith time last night with my mom and sister while I’m home for a visit. I always liked this movie but now, watching it and analyzing things I have to say I think Walter is totally awesome and I love the romance.

    And Frank. Frank is awesome too. I love how he’s always ten steps ahead of Walter’s scheming.

  2. I’ve had a weekend romcom binge–after Father Goose, my sister and I watched American Dreamer, Alex and Emma and Down with Love. We’ve talked about structure, character, comedy, romance all weekend. Even my husband has been drawn in.

    Father Goose was charming, but it’s a romcom drama (a romcomdram?) The structure was more of a war film with a veneer of romance, two films in one. They could have told the war story (Walter rescues French woman and her seven charges from Japanese) without having Walter and Catherine marry at the end, or they could have told a charming Robinson/Crusoe story (Walter’s island paradise is disrupted when a Frenchwoman and her charges are shipwrecked) without the war without having them end up together. Having it happen in a war zone was tense for me.

    But that said, I also think the story worked just as it was, and I loved it. And the romance was essential for Catherine’s story arc, imho. Which is a little odd because it is set up as Walter’s story.

    I liked that Catherine was so competent and polished. The script gave Caron opportunities to show us that Catherine was a diplomat’s daughter. The writing of her character was well-done, it had veracity for me. I have known many women like her. I found her arc convincing. She moved from responsible adult narrowed and traumatized by war to a more relaxed and expansive person, and her growing love for Walter that produced the change in her. She felt safe with him. The change in her was dependent on the romance.

    I also liked Walter’s story arc–from grouch to hero–and I thought the writers laid the foundation for his restoration from bad-tempered beach bum to the capable professor he had been before the Tie incident. So that also worked for me. But really, Cary Grant was the most engaging and convincing actor of all time. I think he could read items from Craig’s list, and I’d be charmed. The Frank-Walter pair was also delightful. I kept wondering about Cary Grant’s comment that this was the role that was most like him. Was it grouchy Walter? Drinking Walter? Walter who was kind to children? Walter who didn’t like to wear ties and conform to society?

    Even the hasty wedding worked for me (I know this was an issue on the other thread) because it was what two responsible adults needed to do–It was not actually about them. When they decided to marry they had no idea how long they would stay together on the island, and marrying would stop the confused adolescent feelings-threat we had seen in the previous scene.

    So, the comedy worked, the structure worked (though it was not without its flaws) and the romance worked well enough.

    Comparing it to the other films we saw this weekend, I take away that for a romcom to work for me, the characters need to be believable people, not caricatures. And for me to believe in the romance, the changes brought about in each character by the romance need to be consistent with the initial character.

    Wow, sorry this is such a long comment. But thanks for providing a place to ponder these things.

  3. It’s a great comment, Kitty.
    I think Grant probably meant the non-conformist part. I loved Walter’s line about having made peace with the world eight years ago.

  4. oh, wow. i just netflix’d it and even though i’m not caught up on the podcast let me say it was nice to see a good movie again. any cary grant is great. fully clothes is nice but in his boxers – fandamntastic!! that should’ve been the movie poster:)

  5. Before the comments close I’ll say “Thanks” to you all for sharing your passions. I won’t be able to re-watch this in the near future, but I will have a lot of things to think about when I do.

  6. Hopefully I can put down the thoughts that have been floating through my head. The discussion about whether this was a romcom in the podcast really caught my attention. Part of the reason I think the discussion came up was that it’s the hero’s story, it’s a story of a man’s journey.

    If this had been the heroine’s story, a woman’s journey, we’re so used to these stories being in the context of a romcom or romance, that it would be an automatic categorization. Traditionally, a man’s journey story is not couched in the precepts of a romance, so I think that’s why the question was asked.

    Also because the set up was all about the bromance contributed to the discussion as well. 🙂

  7. I agree that making a man the protag of a romcom shifts everything, especially when you bring the love interest in after a very long set-up.
    Julie, if you don’t like it, you don’t like it. Don’t let us talk you into doubting your instincts.

  8. Oh — I’m not promising to change my mind. I will just have a lot to think about whenever I get around to watching it again. It’s all good.

    I finally gave it a 3. I was flipping between 2 and 3, but I stuck to the math and voted accordingly.

  9. Maybe it was because I needed to stop in the middle, just after the triple slap, but I wasn’t charmed or sucked in and analyzed the whole way through. Also, the first time I saw it. I never got to really like Catherine. The marriage was too quick and I didn’t believe it regardless of the war. Some wonderful lines in it and I loved the exchanges between Frank, Bo Peep and Walter. Gave it a 3 overall. Probably would have done a 4 for comedy.