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Father Dear Father
Father Dear Father (1973)
  • Director:
    William G. Stewart
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Johnnie Mortimer,Brian Cooke
  • Cast:
    Patrick Cargill,Natasha Pyne,Ann Holloway
  • Time:
    1h 39min
  • Year:
Spin-off movie version of the British sitcom of the same name.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Patrick Cargill Patrick Cargill - Patrick Glover
Natasha Pyne Natasha Pyne - Anna Glover
Ann Holloway Ann Holloway - Karen Glover
Noel Dyson Noel Dyson - Nanny (as Noël Dyson)
Joyce Carey Joyce Carey - Mother
Joseph O'Conor Joseph O'Conor - Vicar
Richard O'Sullivan Richard O'Sullivan - Richard
Ursula Howells Ursula Howells - Barbara
Jack Watling Jack Watling - Bill Mossman
Jill Melford Jill Melford - Georgie Thompson
Beryl Reid Beryl Reid - Mrs. Stoppard
Donald Sinden Donald Sinden - Philip Glover
Clifton Jones Clifton Jones - Larry
Elizabeth Adare Elizabeth Adare - Maggie
James Appleby James Appleby - Policeman

Father Dear Father (1973)

As can be glimpsed from his study bookcase, Patrick Glover's bibliography includes "The Swizzlestick Murders", "Solo Fiddle", "Matricide in Macao", "Hot Line", "Rod of Anger", "The Corpse", "Mopery in Memphis" and "The Naked Fandango".

In full, the crime writer's name is Patrick Goldsworthy Sitwell Glover.

Unused to the technical requirements of film direction, William G. Stewart approached the production as he did the parent TV series, with a multi-camera set-up. Needless to say, this substantially (and unnecessarily) upped the expense of the film.

A lot of 70s comedy series were turned into 'one off' feature length films with varying degrees of success, for some years now the BBC have been showing these films in the dead time between Christmas and the New year. I think father dear father is one of the better efforts and well worth a look if you are weighed down by the excesses of the festivities so much that still can't lift yourself off the settee in the week after Christmas. The theme of the movie and the TV series is a widowed father (Patrick Cargill) looking after his two rebellious teenage daughters, played by the gorgeous Natasha Pyne and Ann Holloway, plus his attempts to find romance in his own confused personal life. The film and the 'victorian father' attitude portrayed (for laughs) will appear very dated now but probably actually reflected our society pretty accurately back in the early 70s, even down to his threats to administer a spanking to his morally wayward children even though the girls must have been about 25 at the time! Unfortunately he didn't carry out his threat.
Freaky Hook
Freaky Hook
Patrick Cargill and his co-stars were in their element and Donald Sinden played a good role too. My memories of this as a teenager obviously related much more to the two young daughters - particularly Natasha Pyne. I haven't looked at the IMDb details before entering this comment so may have some wrong name spellings. The show was just good clean innocent fun (TV Farce) that fit those times so well, but now would just look sooooo dated! I got married in 1975 and can still laugh at my enormous sideburns and platform shoes in the wedding photos. I thought I looked cool at the time, obviously! The humour was simple and the subject was interesting because it dealt with a father, on his own apart from a Nanny, coping with two teenage daughters.
Like a lot of hit '70's television sitcoms, Brian Cooke and Johnnie Mortimer's 'Father Dear Father' made the transition to the big screen. The series had ended shortly before the film opened. Possibly because they were heavily involved in the writing of their next project - 'Man About The House' - they decided to base their screenplay on a couple of episodes - 'The Proposal' and 'The Return Of The Mummy' from Season 1, and 'Show Me The Way To Go Home' from Season 2. As these had been made in black and white, Cooke & Mortimer probably felt they were in no danger of being repeated in the colour era and so it was safe to remake them ( I wonder what they'd have said had they known that someday the film would be available as part of a D.V.D. set featuring the entire series? ).

There is no actual plot as such, just sub-plots. It opens at a party at the Glover house. Patrick ( Patrick Cargill ) cannot sleep on account of the noise and phones the police. Anna ( Natasha Pyne ) angrily vows to get a flat of her own. Patrick thinks the best way to handle his wayward daughters is for him to marry again, and proposes to literary agent 'Georgie Thompson' ( Jill Melford ). She accepts. Patrick's first wife 'Barbara' ( Ursula Howells ), having left her husband 'Bill' ( Jack Watling ), moves in with her ex. A drunken Bill turns up and Patrick has to hide Barbara from him. Anna takes possession of her new flat, which is disgustingly filthy. Patrick, searching for her, ventures into the better-furnished flat downstairs, which belongs to a young black couple ( Clifton James and Elisabeth Adare ). The old boy thinks his daughter is living with the man, and is far from happy about it. When the misunderstandings have been cleared up, Patrick and Georgie walk up the aisle, and decide ultimately not to proceed with the wedding, but enjoy the honeymoon regardless...

Directed by William G.Stewart, this film is mediocre at best but proved most useful in the days when there were no repeats of 'F.D.F.' to be found anywhere on I.T.V. The Glovers sitting room is identical to the equivalent set in the show ( something the 'Man About The House' movie designer failed to do a year later ), the cast is mostly the same ( Jack Watling replaced Tony Britton's 'Bill', while Dawn Addams made way for Jill Melford as 'Georgie' ). The theme music here is better than the one on the show. Richard O'Sullivan's accident-prone 'Howard' is around, though for some unknown reason he's been rechristened 'Richard'. Joseph O'Connor's senile Vicar appeared in the very first episode of 'F.D.F.'. There is an added emphasis on visual comedy - such as Patrick stepping in a plate of spaghetti as he comes downstairs, and a running gag has Paul Luty ( from 'Love Thy Neighbour' ) as a milkman who keeps having objects, such as a ladder and H.G.'s bone, falling on his head.

Unfortunately, the scene with the black couple makes uncomfortable viewing now, especially as the Clifton James character is fond of doing eyeball-rolling 'yassuh, boss!'-type routines. Cargill gets to make several remarks which would today be regarded as offensively racist.

The funniest moment, however, involves dear Beryl Reid as a cleaner to whom Patrick has proposed marriage by mistake. "You would not be the first!", she tells him, and goes on to recount how she was seduced during the war by a G.I. who tempted her into his arms with a pair of nylon tights and a banana!
I happened to catch this movie one late night over Xmas on BBC 1, and boy do I wish I hadn't. Actually, I shouldn't be cruel. My mate and I stayed up watching it, and we've had fun taking the p*** out of it since then. This film desperately tries to go for political correctness, but it was filmed in 1972, and they were crap at being PC back then. For instance, one of the main character's daughters gets a flat above a black couple from Jamaica, and madcap hilarity ensues when Daddy gets the wrong flat and thinks his daughter is living with a black Jamaican, whose father was imprisoned for cannabis trafficking--since, ya know, English girls in 1972 weren't supposed to date non-white, non-English heathens (even though many did, i'm sure). Actually, that wasn't the most offensive thing about the film--what really got me was how camp the dad was. Patrick Cargill minces all over this film, and even has a scene in a bed with a St. Bernard--bestiality, anybody? The worst problem, though, is that the film can't make up its mind on where to go. At first you think it's about Daddy's struggles being a single parent, then you think it's about his daughters striking off on their own, then you think it's about divorce and remarrying, then it's about racial tensions, then it's over. Although the opening is pretty kick ass, with a giant party in Daddy's house that wakes him up. At first we were hoping the party would lead to some boobs onscreen, but alas, no boobies are to be seen in this film. If you come across this movie, change the channel. If you own the master copies, burn them.
I happened to stumble on this feature film version of the TV sitcom on my day off and was not impressed in the slightest! The British film industry seemed to churn out these spin-offs in abundance in the early Seventies and few were really any good! This is a perfect example of why they should of stayed on the small screen. I know it was intended as good old harmless fun but the problem is the humour is strained and it is just not funny!!!! Patrick Cargill stars as the long struggling dad trying to prevent his two teenage daughters from either getting married or moving house, whilst trying to get married himself to his agent (he is an author), so he can provide a mother figure for his kids. And there you have it!!! There's the plot in a nutshell plus throw in your usual clichés like the idiotic, clumsy son-in-law, the accidental milkman, and your token black man which provides plenty of ammo for these tedious stereotyped, racist jokes!!! It is worth pointing out that the director, William G. Stewart went on to later present the quiz show "Fifteen to One". Appropriate, as the odds are much higher against him with this project!! At the end of the movie Cargill looks at the camera and asks "Do You Mind?". Well, yes I do actually because it is 98 minutes of my life that I will not get back!!!