TCM devotes the most appropriate day to film fathers


“Fiddler on the Roof,” original “Father of the Bride” are among features


Ben Mankiewicz

Sunday, June 21, is a day for all dads this year … including some of the screen’s best.

Turner Classic Movies marks Father’s Day in the expected way, as daytime host Alicia Malone and nighttime guide Ben Mankiewicz present a number of films revolving around male heads of households. While each has his own circumstances, and in a variety of stories, all of them share a devotion to their families.

The Dad-themed attractions start early that day with “Fiddler on the Roof,” director Norman Jewison’s 1971 version of the stage-musical hit, with Topol as milkman Tevye — father to five very marriageable daughters. The morning’s Eddie Muller-hosted “Noir Alley” title, Samuel Fuller’s “Underworld U.S.A.” (1961), even has a parental tie: Cliff Robertson plays a man determined to avenge his father’s murder by mobsters.

“Our Vines Have Tender Grapes” (1945) offers one of Edward G. Robinson’s most touching performances, as a Norwegian farmer and father in the American Midwest. “The Entertainer” (1960) goes darker with a dad, with Laurence Olivier as a theater performer whose daughter (Joan Plowright, who married Olivier after they did the film and the play that inspired it) knows he’s hardly the warm-and-fuzzy type.

The source of a popular television series later (as was Mark Toby’s novel), “The Courtship of Eddie Father” (1963) casts Glenn Ford as a widower whose young son (the then-”Ronny” Howard, picking up some early tips on filmmaking) is determined to engineer a new romance for him.

A Father’s Day on TCM wouldn’t be complete without director Michael Curtiz’ “Life With Father” (1947), with a wonderful William Powell as the patriarch of the male-dominated Day family, though a co-star named Elizabeth Taylor also is notable as the love interest of one of the sons. Finally, the original “Father of the Bride” (1950) ends the day on another major-classic note with Spencer Tracy as the father who frets endlessly over the wedding of his daughter, played by … Elizabeth Taylor!

It’s no surprise TCM offers an apt tribute to fathers on their “day,” and happily, the whole family can share in the enjoyment.


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Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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