Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Do You Need To Laugh?

Humor is more specific to cultures, individuals and ages than drama or tragedy is. That’s why the comedies of Shakespeare have not fared as well over the centuries as the tragedies and histories have. Some things always make us aware of pain, but not everything seems funny to everyone.

Having stated the foregoing analysis, when I need to laugh “Father Was A Fullback” makes me laugh out loud every time. I don’t football, but I love this movie.

It starts off with a great mix of comedy people who are truly funny unlike those today who just think they’re funny: Fred Mac Murray, Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood, Betty Lynn (you may have known her best as Thelma Lou on Andy Griffith), Jim Backus (Mr. Howell on Gilligan’s Island), and the queen of character comediennes, Thelma Ritter (she is worth her weight in laughter in every movie I’ve seen her in with the exception of her role as Robert Stroud’s embittered mother in “Birdman of Alcatraz”). The interaction between these people is the main ingredient in this comedy. Every one of them has that absolute sense of timing that is so needed in comedy.

The film has two story lines: the first is State U’s losing football season; the second is the seemingly losing battle of wits between parents and children in the coach’s home. It was a simpler age, so the story line doesn’t involve drugs, smoking, drinking or overt rebellion. I won’t reveal what happens to State at the end of the season, but all the complications in the home are resolved in one remarkable turn of events which brings about good.

In a backhanded sort of way, too, this film is about character. The coach continues on with the team, the family learns to support one another. They all have to learn that honesty is the best policy (deception is the main stumbling block in the home), and not to give up on their dreams. The parents find that the problems of adolescence come to every child, but they also pass on when maturity and fulfillment arrives.


  1. It sounds like a great movie, glad you enjoyed!

  2. Huh. I've never heard of this before!

  3. This film was released in 1949. Unfortunately, there are many good films from that era and earlier which have never been released on any video format. This one is not on DVD yet. It is my number 8 favorite film (at least at the present time). I don't think I mentioned that in the body of the text above.