Father of the Bride (1950 film)

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Father of the Bride
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Produced by Pandro S. Berman
Screenplay by Frances Goodrich
Albert Hackett
Based on Father of the Bride
1949 novel 
by Edward Streeter
Starring Spencer Tracy
Elizabeth Taylor
Joan Bennett
Narrated by Spencer Tracy
Music by Adolph Deutsch
Cinematography John Alton
Edited by Ferris Webster
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
June 16, 1950 (1950-06-16)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,215,000[1][2]
Box office $6,084,000[1][2]

Father of the Bride is a 1950 American comedy film about a man trying to cope with preparations for his daughter's upcoming wedding.[3][4] The movie stars Spencer Tracy in the titular role, Joan Bennett, Elizabeth Taylor, Don Taylor, Billie Burke, and Leo G. Carroll. It was adapted by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett from the novel by Edward Streeter, and directed by Vincente Minnelli. Father of the Bride was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay.


Stanley T. Banks (Tracy) and Kay Dunstan (Taylor) in the wedding scene
Joan Bennett in the film credits

Following the wedding of his daughter Kay (Elizabeth Taylor), Stanley T. Banks (Spencer Tracy), a suburban lawyer, recalls the day, three months earlier, when he first learned of Kay's engagement to Buckley Dunstan (Don Taylor). At the family dinner table, Kay's casual announcement that she is in love with Buckley and has accepted his proposal makes Stanley feel uneasy, but he soon comes to realize that his daughter has grown up and the wedding is inevitable. While Ellie (Joan Bennett), Kay's mother, immediately begins making preparations for the wedding, Stanley lies awake at night, fearing the worst for his daughter.

Stanley's misgivings about the marriage eventually make Ellie anxious, and she insists that Kay introduce them to Buckley's parents. Kay calls the tradition "old-fashioned rigamarole," but arranges the meeting nevertheless. Before the introduction, Stanley has a private conversation with Buckley, and is pleased to learn that the young man is the head of a small company and that he is capable of providing a comfortable life for Kay. The Bankses' first meeting with Doris and Herbert, Buckley's parents, gets off to an awkward start, and goes from bad to worse when Stanley drinks too much and falls asleep in the wealthy Dunstans' living room.

Following Kay and Buckley's engagement party, Stanley, who misses the entire party because he is in the kitchen mixing drinks, realizes that his plans for a small wedding have been swept aside and he will be expected to pay for an extravagant wedding "with all the trimmings." As costs for the June event spiral out of control, Stanley calculates that he can afford to accommodate no more than one hundred and fifty guests. The task of paring down the guest list proves too difficult, however, and Stanley reluctantly consents to a 250-person reception.

The plans for a lavish wedding continue until the day that Buckley tells Kay that he wants to take her on a fishing trip in Nova Scotia for their honeymoon. Kay reacts to the announcement with shock and calls off the wedding, but she and Buckley soon reconcile, and the two families begin their wedding rehearsals. On the day of the wedding, chaos reigns at the Banks home as final preparations are made for the reception. The wedding ceremony brings both joy and sorrow to Stanley, as he realizes that his daughter is now a woman and no longer his child. The following day, Ellie and Stanley survey the mess in their home and concur that the entire affair was a great success.[5]


Cast notes

  • Spencer Tracy wanted Katharine Hepburn for his screen wife, but it was felt that they were too romantic a team to play a happily domesticated couple with children, so Joan Bennett got the part.[citation needed]

Release and reception[edit]

The premiere of Father of the Bride took place two days after Elizabeth Taylor's real-life marriage – her first – to Nicky Hilton, an event that M-G-M exploited in its publicity campaign for the picture. Helen Rose, who designed Taylor's gown for the film, also designed the gown for her wedding to Nicky Hilton. Taylor went on to marry seven more times.

The film was very popular earning $4,036,000 in the US and Canada and $2,048,000 overseas, making MGM a profit of $2,936,000.[1][2]

Sequels and adaptations[edit]

Father of the Bride had a sequel the following year, called Father's Little Dividend, in which Taylor's character has a baby. It was also made into a television series which aired on CBS during the 1961-62 season. The cast included Leon Ames (Stan), Ruth Warrick (Ellie), and Myrna Fahey (Kay).

A remake of the same name starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton was released in 1991. It had a numeraled sequel, Father of the Bride Part II, in 1995, also starring Martin and Keaton. Just like the original's sequel, the daughter has her first child.


Father of the Bride was included in the American Film Institute's list of the greatest American comedy films, AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs, at number 83. The film was featured in Peter Bogdanovich's 1971 picture The Last Picture Show; it is being viewed in the cinema in the film.


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ a b c James Curtis, Spencer Tracy: A Biography, Alfred Knopf, 2011 p599
  3. ^ Variety film review; May 10, 1950, page 6.
  4. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; May 13, 1950, page 75.
  5. ^ "Father of the Bride (1950) - Overview". TCM.com (Turner Classic Movies). Retrieved 2011-10-11. 

External links[edit]