Father’s Day is a time we celebrate the great men in our lives. Get comfy on the couch with your favorite dad and enjoy watching the men from long ago succeed in everything from caring for orphans to attempting to maintain their sanity in the midst of chaotic families. Happily, every movie listed can comfortably be viewed with the entire family.
"A Successful Calamity"
After a long trip away from home, a successful businessman returns excited to see his family. But his attempts at spending quality time with them continually sour. They seem to prefer the company of others, and the privileges his wealth has brought, over spending time with him. When realizing how his hard work has only whetted their appetites for more luxuries, this wise father decides to remove the temptations and fabricates the tale of his bankruptcy. Their reactions to his news both surprise and please him as this family learns how important they are to one another.
The only downside to this movie is the early 1930s makeup sported by George Arliss, who plays the father. But once that is overlooked, this movie is easy to fall in love with. Also starring Mary Astor, this 1932 movie can be purchased on TCM.com as part of the George Arliss DVD Collection.
A wealthy widowed father tries to provide his son with everything he needs but soon realizes that he has only hurt the boy. When his son’s antics prove too much for even his teachers, the father decides some quality time is in order. However, when his son falls off the luxury liner they are traveling on, he gets some unexpected fathering.
A hard-working fisherman, at work in the ocean, rescues the boy and takes him aboard the fishing boat. As the boy learns that his wealth and pride are not valued by the other fishermen, he gradually begins to change his selfish ways and discovers how to honestly work and value respect from others. His rescuer becomes a second father to him, and as the two bond, the boy idolizes the man he previously deemed beneath his status.
Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney and Freddie Bartholomew star in this 1937 inspiring tear-jerker. It can be seen through the Netflix DVD service, Google Play or Amazon instant video.
After visiting an inmate doomed to death, Father Flanagan realizes that many felons have run into trouble with the law because of their poor childhood upbringing. Seeing a need in the community, Flanagan establishes a home for orphan boys and provides for their physical and emotional care. After surmounting financial difficulties, his home is proved a success and eventually is expanded to become an entire community, “Boys Town.”
One day Flanagan is given the care of a particularly hardened boy, one whom others deem as impossible to reform. But Flanagan perseveres and stands by the boy even when things look particularly bad and the police are sure of his guilt.
Showing that it isn’t necessary for a man to have his own children in order to be a father to thousands of others, this 1938 movie is based on the real Father Flanagan, the founder of the actual Boys Town. Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney star in this inspiring film that can be seen using Google Play or Amazon instant video.
"My Favorite Wife"
The father of two children, long viewed as a widower after his wife was lost at sea seven years before, decides to remarry. However, on the day of his wedding his long-lost wife shows up, having just been rescued. Too late to stop the wedding, she instead observes his reaction to becoming a bigamist. The unfortunate man must decide which of his two wives he will keep and which he will give up. Of course, his first wife has always been his favorite, but he’ll need to convince her of that. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne star in this delightful comedy proving that one man’s love can last a long time.
This 1940 romance airs Aug. 13 at 9:15 a.m. MST on TCM and can also be watched any time via Netflix’s DVD service or Amazon instant video.
"Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House"
The stresses of living in a tiny apartment with his family have been enough for one father. He and his wife decide to move to the country. After buying what seems to them a wonderful abandoned home, they discover the entire house is structurally unsafe and must be razed. Undaunted, the two decide to build their dream home. As costs mount, water is unsuccessfully sought, and train schedules are confused, and the building of their dream home quickly becomes a nightmare. Tempers flare and relationships are frayed but, through it all, Mr. Blandings proves that his one love is his family.
Another Cary Grant movie, this film also stars Myrna Loy and was made in 1948. It can be seen Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m. MST on TCM or anytime via the Netflix DVD service, Google Play or Amazon instant video.
"The Happy Time"
This coming-of-age story focuses on a young boy and the men in his family. The womanizing uncle, the grandfather who ignores his own frailties and the steady and wise father all contribute to this boy’s learning.
Although he has long been oblivious to the advances of the neighbor girl, the boy suddenly discovers women when his family hires an attractive maid. Now the knowledge and wisdom of his older relatives means more to him and, while his attempts at love with the older woman fail, his learning about life is greatly increased. “The Happy Time” does an endearing job showcasing the bonds between the generations of men and how they choose to ignore each others’ frailties and instead focus on the good.
Don’t be alarmed by the first few minutes of this movie being in French, the actors really do speak English. Charles Boyer and Bobby Driscoll star in this 1952 comedy that can be seen June 15 at 6 a.m. MST on TCM.
Elizabeth Reid has bachelor degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She blogs at gelatoandchocolate.blogspot.com.