Working as a spotter for the Navy on a south sea island during WWII, a man rescues a ship of 7 schoolgirls and their pretty teacher.
Genre: Feature Film-Comedy
Release Date: 26-MAR-2002
Media Type: DVD
"If you liked the original ODD COUPLE - slob and compulsive neatnik thrown together in the same apartment - or HEAVEN KNOWS, MR. ALLISON - tough guy WWII Marine marooned on an enemy-held South Pacific island with a pretty nun, then you should enjoy FATHER GOOSE starring Cary Grant, Leslie Caron and Trevor Howard. I saw it once again on the telly this past weekend while doing the ironing, and I'm fortunate to be old enough to have an appreciation of all three films.
Grant is Walter Eckland, an antisocial, unkempt escapee from "civilization" that spends his time bumming around the South Seas on an old yacht. At the start of WWII, he's coerced into service as a "coast watcher", an observer stationed on a remote island as a lookout for Japanese planes or ships, by the wily and dry-witted local Royal Australian Navy authority figure, Comdr. Houghton (Howard). Eckland is bribed with booze to perform in His Majesty's service. One of his first assignments is to boat over to another island and rescue a fellow coast watcher. But, on arriving, he finds only his colleague's grave and the Caron character, Catherine Freneau, the daughter of a French government official, who's been stranded with a bevy of underage schoolgirls of which she has charge. Walter naturally takes them back to his island and his hovel, where the differences between the two adults soon surface. To Eckland, Freneau becomes "Goody Two Shoes", while, to the latter, her knight in stained armor becomes the "Filthy Beast".
While admittedly silly entertainment, FATHER GOOSE is a delightful romantic comedy that doesn't, like some of the current Tinseltown offerings, rely for laughs on sensitive body parts being caught in zippers, bodily fluids masquerading as hair gel, or carnal knowledge of apple pies. This film has Class, chiefly due to the presence of Grant, who character demonstrates more suavity unshaven and without socks than any one of today's crop of male actors dressed up in a tux. (Perhaps only Sean Connery, Robert Redford and Paul Newman are close to being in the same league.) Caron's strong-willed and very feminine Freneau is more than a match for Eckland's obstinately boorish masculinity - a pairing made in heaven, or at least Hollywood.
Perhaps my high esteem for this film is more a function of nostalgia. But there're a lot of other films from that same period of my youth that are eminently forgettable, so I have to think that FATHER GOOSE is a cut above."
Kelly | Littleton, Colorado | 03/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cary Grant is cast as Walter Eckland in this very funny classic comedy. His normal sexy leading man characteristics are downplayed to let his comedic genius shine through. He stars opposite Leslie Caron cast as Catherine Freneau. They are an accident waiting for a place to happen at their first meeting, and it just gets worse from there. Walter is bribed and threatened into service as a watcher in WWII. Catherine is a diplomat's daughter given the responsibility of escorting several school children into a safer area. When they are all stranded together, the hilarity, and battle of the sexes begins.
This is one of my favorite comedies, and one of Cary Grant's last movies. No one does it like he does. A great film that the entire family can enjoy together. "
"Is it getting hot in here?"
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 04/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the immortal Cary Grant's last films, this particular one is a romantic, witty little gem. Well-scripted, well-acted, and full of really weird humor, this is one to treasure.Walter Eckland has no intention of getting himself involved in World War II -- no intention, that is, until he is "drafted" into service to the Allies. Basically he needs to keep an eye open for the Japanese. He reluctantly obeys, but his mission suddenly takes a weird turn when he rescues a slew of civilians: the prim, devious schoolteacher Miss Freneau, and her seven little girl charges. Before Eckland knows what's happening, they've taken over his little house, his clothes, his food -- and his whisky. (It's the last one that really makes him nuts) To his horror, they won't be picked up for at least three weeks.An extended, very witty battle of the sexes takes place, as Miss Freneau dodges and weaves around Eckland, and Eckland tries to retain some mastery over his domain. But a series of crises (comical and serious) force Eckland and Freneau not only to deal with the Japanese, but also with each other.Cary Grant shows more of his versatility in this film, since his comical talents are usually passed by in favor of his rugged sexiness. That sexiness is buried in this one, under the scraggliness of a beachcomber who is rebelling against the world with alcohol. Revelations about his past are somehow quite appropriate; as a character in another of Grant's movies said, "you have unexpected depth."Leslie Caron, whom I had previously seen only in "Gigi," is also in rare form here. She makes Miss Freneau both sympathetic and mildly repressed, with a dry wit and a very devious mind. She also manages one of the funniest scenes I have ever seen in a movie, where Miss Freneau gets drunk after being bitten by a snake. Her acrobatics ("Ooooooh, is it getting hot in here?"), weird confessions ("I'm a picture straightener!") and the occasional lapse into insanity ("Tell me, I want to know, what did my blood taste like?") are too funny for words.Other highlights include the chaplain and the accordian player, and the delightfully deadpan Trevor Howard as a Navy commander who's not afraid to play dirty. The writing is excellent; the mutual realizations by Freneau and Eckland may seem a little hasty and contrived, but that can be easily passed by.This is fine to watch with the kiddies -- there is virtually no profanity, no smut, a little non-bloody violence, and children will probably enjoy the antics of the seven little girls (such as the of-repeated whine "I wanna go home!"). There is one scene of drunkenness, however, and we are treated to sly indicators of more mature material ("he... he made a GESTURE, sir!" "Oooh, he called the captain a dirty name"). The little girls themselves are remarkably well-acted by believable child actors, except for the oldest one. One particular highlight is the little girl who keeps biting Eckland's hand.Recommended especially for romantic comedy fans, and for fans of Caron and Grant. Or simply watch if you're in the mood for fun."
Father Goose is Cary Grant at his best!
John Dziadecki | Louisville, CO USA | 03/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Father Goose" is a lot of fun and is arguably Cary Grant's funniest and finest film. Yes, he was great in "Charade", "North by Northwest", "Notorious", etc -- but here his honed skills and comedic timing pay off in this very funny film and makes it well worth seeing. You don't have to be a Cary Grant fan to enjoy this film -- but after seeing it, you will be. "Father Goose" was nominated for Best Picture (Musical/Comedy) by the Golden Globe and won an Oscars for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen in 1965. The cast, production, direction, photography, story -- all are top notch. The film looks terrific on DVD with an aspect ratio of 1.85. The South Pacific cinematography adds greatly to the visual impact of this film. There are brief bios and filmographies of the priniciples. That's all. No further extras. This film is 16x9 enhanced. Highly recommended!"
Fancy and Reality play well together
gobirds2 | New England | 09/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Essentially a comedy FATHER GOOSE dabbles into some of the realities of World War II in the South Pacific. Credit for this can be given to Cary Grant's surly yet sophisticated approach to this type of role and Ralph Nelson's direction which uses comedy as a canvas to spin his tale tinged with the realities and frailties that are encountered in life's many challenges not to mention relationships. I could not help but think as I watched this film that Cary Grant really stood his ground as an actor because the seven little girls really could have stole this picture away from most adult actors. Leslie Caron is also good as she brings a sense of level headed femininity to counter Cary Grant's gruff response to having his solitude encroached on by "civilization" and all that implies. This is an enjoyable film."