I Never Sang for My Father

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I Never Sang for My Father
I Never Sang for My Father poster.jpg
film poster
Directed by Gilbert Cates
Produced by Gilbert Cates
Written by Robert Anderson
Starring Melvyn Douglas
Gene Hackman
Dorothy Stickney
Estelle Parsons
Elizabeth Hubbard
Lovelady Powell
Music by Al Gorgoni
Barry Mann
Cinematography Morris Hartzband
George Stoetzel
Edited by Angelo Ross
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • October 18, 1970 (1970-10-18)
Running time
92 min
Language English

I Never Sang for My Father is a 1970 American film, based on a play by the same name, which tells the story of a widowed college professor who wants to get out from under the thumb of his aging father yet still has regrets about his plan to leave him behind when he remarries and moves to California. It stars Melvyn Douglas, Gene Hackman, Dorothy Stickney, Estelle Parsons, Elizabeth Hubbard, Lovelady Powell and Conrad Bain.

The movie was adapted by Robert Anderson from his play and directed by Gilbert Cates.

It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Melvyn Douglas), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Gene Hackman) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

Plot summary[edit]

Gene Garrison (Gene Hackman) is a widowed New York college professor who is in a long distance relationship with a woman in California. Gene wants to marry and move to California, where his girlfriend has her medical practice and is raising her children. His mother is sympathetic to Gene's dreams of moving, although aware of the toll it could take on his father (Douglas). Family tension exists as his father disowned Gene's sister (Parsons), for marrying a Jew. When his mother suddenly dies, Gene's plans are thrown into disarray. Gene has lived in the shadow of his towering father, who is expecting Gene to stay and watch over him. Gene must decide for himself if he'll stay to care for his father or finally move on with his life.


Production notes[edit]

Director Gilbert Cates had been one of the producers of the original stage play.

The film was shot in various locations, including Southern California and the Great Neck - Douglaston area of New York. Applauded by critics and viewers, the film (and play) predicted the coming of the sandwich generation, in this case, grown children and other family members helping their elderly parents who are up in age and can't help themselves. It would lead to other films on the subject, including the movies The Savages and Away from Her.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]