Excellent light comedy for ALL ages (by GoldenOldie)
I agree with almost all of the other reviews but add that Trevor Howard is wonderful. He is completely natural and believable to the point that he almost steals the show from Cary Grant; not an easy task! Cary and Leslie Caron make their unlikely match seem quite natural. -- And the photography is just gorgeous. This was especially so when I first viewed it on a big screen back when it was released.
I like this film better today than 40 years ago (by stevpike77)
I first saw Father Goose in 1965 during its record breaking run at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. It has remained one of my favorites of all time. I enjoy the high entertainment value, but I've come to appreciate the realistic anti-war message that it presents, "I've made peace with the world,... " Walter . This message was delivered prior to the escalation in Vietnam and the realization of that sad mistake. It also comes prior to the anti-war films such as Full Metal Jacket which go a little bit over the top so one can really appreciate the genuine quality of the message. <more>
Furthermore, the message is compounded in its importance because an alternative positive life-style, that of two strangers taking responsibility for the care and up-bringing of seven girls, is presented as a substitute for the mindlessness of violence.
Cary Grant as a South Sea Island "Rat" (by theowinthrop)
It was not quite what Cary Grant wanted, but it was certainly different. In his whole career he wanted to play a negative role - a person who was not debonair or likable but a villain. At time he was defeated by his own agent and the production studio from being a wife killer SUSPICION or a labor agitator suspected of arson murder THE TALK OF THE TOWN or he played a Cockney gad-about who confronts a mobster NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART or he played a gambler thinking of swindling a war-time tragedy MR. LUCKY , or a suspected jewel thief TO CATCH A THIEF or a successful university <more>
professor who was targeted by a jealous rival PEOPLE WILL TALK . But while some of these parts approached the villain he wanted to play, none hit the actual target. In 1964 Grant finally got a chance to undercut his sophisticated, sharp dressing style. He got the chance to play South Sea island rat Walter Eckland, a grizzled loner who has little use for the modern world, and a large appetite for alcohol. The film was the film comedy FATHER GOOSE, co-starring Leslie Caron as Catherine Freneau the daughter of a French colonial governor , and Trevor Howard as Commander Frank Houghton of the Royal Navy. Again, Grant was cheated out of the full chance of playing a disreputable type. Eckland is disreputable he is first seen trying to steel gasoline supplies needed by the royal navy which is fleeing a threatened dockyard - for his own cabin cruiser . But by the time the film ends he is shown to be heroic.Fortunately it is a comedy, with it's three leads playing well off each other. Grant is dragooned by Howard into being an island watcher for the British navy against Japanese planes and ships. To keep Grant from splitting, Howard wrecks the cabin cruiser, and he hides Grant's supply of alcohol. It works, but a few months later Grant is informed he has to perform a rescue from another island across the sea. He only does it when Howard informs him where the rest of the alcohol is hidden. Then he goes, only to find it is Caron and six little school girls left in her care when evacuating a French island. Almost immediately there is friction between Grant and Caron as to proper behavior in front of the girls, and in serving the young ladies and Caron first. When they get back to Grant's island, Caron has the young girls hide his liquor all over again.It has been suggested that Grant and Caron were playing roles similar to Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in THE African QUEEN. Certainly in the relationship of Charlie and Rosie in that film there is a definite resemblance to that of Walter and Catherine. But this kind of "opposite attracts" appears before THE African QUEEN did. In VESSEL OF WRATH set in the South Seas in the 1930s the hard-drinking Charles Laughton ran afoul of missionary Elsa Lanchester. As with the other two pairings they eventually fall in love.But the humor in FATHER GOOSE is Grant's attempts to maintain his control over the island, even while thrown out of his hut by Caron and her charges. Every time he tries to show who is boss, he's undercut by the ladies. Howard although at a distance is no real help - the war is of first importance to Allied planning, not rescuing angry drunken island rats. It is only when Grant shows that he can fish but Caron cannot that he starts reducing her ascendancy over him, and the cap-off is when he believes she is dying of snake poison, and she is made comfortable by large cups of Grant's booze in a coconut cup. With her hair down she suddenly is not so inhumane to Grant.FATHER GOOSE is Cary Grant's last lead role. He hoped he would soon pass into supporting parts, but although the film did well at the box office I saw it when it came out - the audiences were packed , it confused many who did not care for Grant being scruffy. The result was that Grant made one more comic film WALK DON'T RUN wherein he played the Charles Coburn part in this remake of THE MORE THE MERRIER. After that, Grant retired from motion pictures until his death in 1986. He never did get the chance to play that movie heavy he always wanted to - but he did leave a first rate record of sophisticated leading men comedies. That's not the worst reputation to leave behind one as a performer.
Vintage Cary Grant in a romantic WWII farce with Leslie Caron. (by MikeB-9)
This is vintage Cary Grant, reminiscent of his earlier romantic comedies. He plays Walter Eckland, a rough, gruff, unkempt loaner coerced into being a spotter for the Royal Navy on a remote Pacific island. He is forced to take in a teacher and her seven charges, all female, ranging in age from 5 to 14. Leslie Caron is excellent and funny as the teacher. She sets out to change Walter "for the sake of the girls" by pouring out all his whiskey. One of the best scenes in the film comes when Leslie Caron is supposedly bitten by a snake a stick and Walter gets her drunk to ease the pain <more>
of her dying. This is great comedy. This film is a MUST SEE for Grant fans. Rating: 9.0
Have seen this movie many times.. Cary Grant at his best! In real life, Cary is in his 60's and Caron is in her 30's. But the age difference doesn't even come into play here. They seem to fit perfectly. See it, you won't be sorry!
"Great blood!" (by RamblerReb)
Believe it or not, this is the first Cary Grant film I ever recall seeing. Therefore, unlike almost everyone else who first saw one of his films like Notorious or To Catch A Thief, I never had the smooth, debonair, image of Cary Grant to contrast his character in this film against. My first impression of Cary Grant was as Walter Christopher Eckland, his least typical role ever.That being said, boy, am I glad! I went in to this film at the age of maybe twelve with no preconceptions whatever, and I rolled on the floor all the way through. When he "made a gesture, sir," or belches in <more>
the mike, or commands Commander Houghton to "kiss my foot, Frank," I was helpless with laughter. Nowadays it is not so laugh-out-loud funny, but I still do smile and recall that first viewing, when it was new and fresh and I had no idea who Cary Grant was, only that he was the funniest actor I had ever seen. I had no conception of perfect timing, flawless delivery, or crackling wit, but, luckily, Grant could more than supply my deficiencies.Walter Eckland is, in fact, my patron saint, because he embodies the hope that when I am an old broken-down drunk with a hole in both my boat and my bottle, without a penny to my name and in fact $200 in hock to Old van Der Hoven , I, too, can get a hot chick like Leslie Caron. Also, he personifies the hope that I can drink my way through a case of whiskey without ever showing a sign of drunkenness.
I wouldn't dare say this was an extremely great movie, but it was pretty good, I enjoyed it. I think this is the first Cary Grant movie I've ever seen and I thought he did a fine job with his role. Some of his reactions are just hilarious!There are quite a few times though where you really feel for Cary Grant's character, because he gets completely over-run by the women that he is forced to provide for. In the end though, everyone seems to get along.All I can really say about the film is that it's a pretty interesting story with some interesting turn of events and some good <more>
comedy. I wouldn't recommend the film to everyone, but if you're interested, go ahead and take a peak. I hope you enjoy the film.-Chris
If you are looking for comparisons and don't mind a bit of a stretch, then you can consider "Father Goose" 1964 as another version of "Bringing Up Baby". In both Cary Grant gets to play a character experiencing a host of aggravations. Leslie Caron's Catherine Frenau is not as zany as Hepburn's Susan, but still manages to irritate Grant for most of the film until he finally realizes that he is in love with her. And instead of a leopard and a dog running amuck in rural Connecticut, "Father Goose" features seven schoolgirls of various nationalities <more>
running amuck on a Pacific island during WWII. Everything works pretty well in this film although Grant is not quite up to an American accent so there are several awkward moments with the script. And the age difference makes the Grant-Caron romance unconvincing. Fortunately the producers skate over the romantic elements. In fact, the romance is treated so superficially that you wonder why they bothered to insert it into the story. A similar romance got much the same treatment that year in "My Fair Lady".The film's real strength is the interaction between Grant and the seven schoolgirls as it manages a fair amount of believable characterization for each of them. The initially silent Jenny Sharyl Locke , tomboy Harry Jennifer Berrington , chronic complainer Anne Pip Sparke , Elizabeth Stephanie Berrington and her imaginary friend Gretchen, coming of age Christine Venina Greenlaw , and the French twins Laurelle and Nichole Felsette . All have distinct personalities and it is obvious that Grant had a lot of fun working with each of them; so much so that he stayed in touch with them even after they grew up, married, and started their own families. Grant's Walter Eckland is an American drifter hoping the war will just pass him by; illustrated during the opening credits by Digby Wolfe singing "Pass Me By" as Eckland with an unwanted hitchhiking Pelican steers his boat into the harbor. The war catches up with him there when the Harbor Master Trevor Howard tricks him into taking a coast-watching job until a replacement can be found. His job is reporting by radio any movements by Japanese planes and ships near his island station. The reluctant recruit is rewarded with a bottle of whiskey previously hidden somewhere on the island by the Royal Navy each time one of his reports is confirmed.Walter seems to thrive on this assignment until he has to share his island with a French teacher Catherine Frenau Leslie Caron and seven young charges. Miss Frenau hides the remaining whiskey bottles and the females take over Walter's hut. Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
It appears that many reviewers on IMDb want to consider Father Goose as a minor feature, lacking the sophistication of better comedies. I think it is worthy of a listing toward the top flight of comedic endeavor. What makes a "good comedy" after all? Can you comment on a more important event than WW 2 and attitudes towards it? Can you have a more able actor and supporting cast? Was the initial attack on the South Seas and attempts to defend more important than later efforts? Is the true story of humanity with all weaknessness, better expressed in any other WW2 movie? I think Father <more>
Goose is a first class movie in Script and performance. Why say it is less because it doesn't appear to address PC issues? I love this movie.