6.6/10
318
9 user 4 critic

Father Was a Fullback (1949)

Football coach George Cooper has as many problems managing his football team as he has at home dealing with his daughters, Ellen and Connie.

Director:

John M. Stahl

Writers:

Clifford Goldsmith (story), Aleen Leslie (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Fred MacMurray ... George Cooper
Maureen O'Hara ... Elizabeth Cooper
Betty Lynn ... Connie Cooper
Rudy Vallee ... Mr. Jessup
Thelma Ritter ... Geraldine
Natalie Wood ... Ellen Cooper
Jim Backus ... Professor Sullivan (as James G. Backus)
Richard Tyler Richard Tyler ... Joe Birch
Buddy Martin Buddy Martin ... Cheerleader
Frank Mills ... Assistant Football Coach
Mickey McCardle Mickey McCardle ... Jones
John McKee John McKee ... Cy
Louise Lorimer ... Mrs. Jones
Ruth Clifford ... Neighbor
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Storyline

Coach George Copper's college football team is losing game after game, much to the dismay of stiff-and-stuffy but influential alumni Roger Jessup, and also having trouble at home with his oldest daughter, Connie. The team keeps losing and Coach Cooper is about to lose his job as his efforts to win the last game of the season, against the team's Big Rival, end in disaster. But, unknown to he and his wife, Elizabeth, Connie has sold an article, called "I Was a Bubble Dancer" to a 'True-Confession" magazine, and the girl-who-couldn't-get-a-date becomes suddenly popular and, because of her, the high-school football star from another town decides to play his college-ball for Coach Cooper. Jessup is forced to keep Cooper on as the school's football coach. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

I wanted to live DANGEROUSLY so I married a football coach (who lost every game)

Genres:

Comedy | Sport

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 May 1950 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Papai Era Um Craque See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on November 16, 1950 with Fred MacMurray reprising his film role. See more »

Quotes

Elizabeth Cooper: Not going, he a professor, teaches English literature
Ellen Cooper: No, I mean going
George 'Coop' Cooper: Helen, That's ridiculous, go and get clean up
Ellen Cooper: Daphne heard him gurgling on the phone like a worn out wolf about being a freshman in college
Elizabeth Cooper: Oh What an Idea
[looks at George, stunned]
Elizabeth Cooper: George Cooper!
Ellen Cooper: And he was pitching woos to a girl, Daphne thinks maybe she ought to tell her mother
Elizabeth Cooper: George you didn't
George 'Coop' Cooper: Father little helper
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Fred MacMurray (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

Chuckle-a-Minute
5 July 2007 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Maltin's movie guide gives this TCF production two-and-half stars which means some staff member didn't wake up in time to turn on the TV. Because this is a sparkling little comedy with inventive lines, lively performances, and first-rate direction. (For example, note director John M. Stahl's clever touch with the love-seat cushion.) Of course, the family-- right out of Wholesome Living, 1940's Style-- is both dated and idealized.

Nonetheless,, the plot hasn't dated at all. Mac Murray's a harried football coach about to lose his job because of a losing season, at the same time his oldest daughter is trying to survive adolescence. The comedy grows out of his sputtering attempts to cope. Four outstanding screenwriters are credited with the chuckle-a-minute script which surprises me. I would think such a concentration as this would cancel out, but happily, it doesn't

Of course, Natalie Wood steals the show as the wise-cracking little sister. Was there ever a child actor more gifted and without annoying affect than she. (Her wrenching performance in The Green Promise {1949} remains an unsurpassed classic.) Wide-eyed Betty Lynn too is outstanding as the angst-ridden, dateless teenager. And, of course, there's the incomparable Thelma Ritter perfecting her stock-in-trade as a mordant housekeeper never stuck for a fractured comment. As good as Mac Murray, Sullivan, and the old pro's are, it's really this supporting cast that makes the movie scintillate.

I expect a programmer like this passed quickly onto the shelves, without appreciation of the minor gem that it is. I'm glad there's an internet opportunity for circulating the recognition these entertainment efforts deserve-- even though the Coopers' are now a long way from the typical American family. And shame on you, Leonard Maltin. Next time, set your alarm.


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