Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Father of the Bride" 1950/1991

Father of the Bride (15th Anniversary Edition)Father of the Bride (Keepcase)
“Father of the Bride”

If a movie is remade, I like to sit back and compare the original with the remake. The original movie starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor as the father and bride was great. As Stanley Banks, Spencer Tracy is lovingly perplexed that his daughter could be old enough to get married. Steve Martin and Kimberly Williams step into the roles well giving it a modern twist without leaving the original sweetness behind.

I love the little differences between the two.
Stanley T. Banks: You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. She looks up to you. You're her oracle. You're her hero. And then the day comes when she gets her first permanent wave and goes to her first real party, and from that day on, you're in a constant state of panic.
George Banks: You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. An adorable little girl who looks up to you and adores you in a way you could never have imagined. I remember how her little hand used to fit inside mine. Then comes the day when she wants to get her ears pierced, and wants you to drop her off a block before the movie theater. From that moment on you're in a constant panic.

The updates are cute. Both give the sense that this is a father who loves his daughter very much.

The difference of forty years makes a difference financially as well . Spencer Tracy is freaked out about paying $1.25 a head for the wedding extravaganza that daughter Kay is throwing. Steve Martin wishes he was getting off that easy with Annie’s nuptials racking up to $250 a head.
Then there is the near miss with the couple. Kay and her fiancé have a blow up when Buckley plans a fishing trip for a honeymoon.
Annie and her fiancé fight over Brian’s gift of a blender and it’s 1950’s connotations. I bet Kay would have been thrilled with a blender.

Even the mothers of the bride are a little different. Ellie Banks regrets going to a justice of the peace and wants her daughter to have the big wedding she always wanted. Nina doesn’t seem to have a motivation beyond seeing her daughter have a special day.
Ellie Banks: Oh, Stanley. I don't know how to explain. A wedding. A church wedding. Well it's, it's what every girl dreams of. A bridal dress, the orange blossoms, the music. It's something lovely to remember all the rest of her life. And something for us to remember too.
Nina Banks: I just really saw this whole thing differently. Like, I wanted to call a wedding coordinator to make the whole thing... really, really beautiful, and you want to call Gabe at the Steak Pit.
Kay has a college age brother, Annie a brother in grade school. Both are there for comic relief.

There are lots of funny moments. Both movies have the trying on of the tuxedo.
(I could only find a tiny picture)
But they end sweetly. Both fathers sitting in the destroyed house with their wives, lamenting over the mess and missing their little girls. Then the phone rings and it is Kay/Annie. She just wanted to say she loves him. Then there is a wry grin and a little dance with the wife.

Stanley T. Banks: Who giveth this woman? "This woman." But she's not a woman. She's still a child. And she's leaving us. What's it going to be like to come home and not find her? Not to hear her voice calling "Hi, Pops" as I come in? I suddenly realized what I was doing. I was giving up Kay. Something inside me began to hurt.

George: Who presents this woman? This woman? But she's not a woman. She's just a kid. And she's leaving us. I realized at that moment that I was never going to come home again and see Annie at the top of the stairs. Never going to see her again at our breakfast table in her nightgown and socks. I suddenly realized what was happening. Annie was all grown up and was leaving us, and something inside began to hurt.

I like the remake, I saw it first, but the original is a great retro look at the weddings of the fifties. They are both sweet and both spawned a sequel. That one veers wildly from the original and I will post on the differences between those some time.

One final note, while searching for pictures I found this kind of disturbing promotional photo. Gives the 1950 version a different tone.
That is all I can say.

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