Father Was a Fullback (1949) starring Fred MacMurray, Maureen O'Hara, Betty Lynn, Rudy Vallee, Thelma Ritter, Natalie Wood directed by John M. Stahl Movie Review

Father Was a Fullback (1949)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Maureen O'Hara in Father Was a Fullback (1949)

Father's Little Dilemma

Coach George Cooper has a lot on his plate; the college football team are on a losing streak and college alumni Roger Jessup (Rudy Vallee) is making it clear that unless he turns things around soon he is going to be about of a job. But he has strife at home as whilst his wife Elizabeth (Maureen O'Hara) is supportive his youngest daughter Ellen (Natalie Wood) is always picking fights whilst Connie (Betty Lynn), his eldest, thinks her life is a tragedy and a disappointment because she wasn't born a boy. Her current crisis comes from her not having a date which in turn leads to her writing an article for a "True Confession" magazine and it is an article which could change everything.

Oh how I wanted to enjoy "Father Was a Fullback" as on paper it sounded like a snappy old fashioned comedy especially with a well chosen cast which included Maureen O'Hara and Betty Lynn. But when "Father Was a Fullback" ebbed its way to its end I found myself still waiting for the laughs to come and wondering what went wrong because it seemed to tick the boxes with Fred MacMurray playing the stressed father who finds the women in his life always having a quick retort to what ever he says. It even genuinely has an entertaining storyline as Connie's actions lead to a potential turn around for everyone.

Betty Lynn in Father Was a Fullback (1949)

Now the more I think about it "Father Was a Fullback" has one issue, it has no atmosphere, behind the voices it is deadly silent, unnaturally silent and it makes it feel wrong. This has the knock on effect of it feeling like the actors delivering their lines but having no chemistry with Maureen O'Hara turning on the smile of a dutiful housewife but looking bored whilst Fred MacMurray snapping out the dialogue but feeling isolated as if he is waiting for his cue. It is the same with Betty Lynn who seems to be doing her own thing with little connection to those around her.

I hate to say it but "Father Was a Fullback" feels like a factory movie, made because the studio wanted to give their actors something to do which wouldn't take long to make. And as such this is one of those movies which might make for a good remake in a similar style to how they remade "Father of the Bride". It is a shame though as it has all the parts including some confusion comedy, it just doesn't quite gel.

What this all boils down to is that "Father Was a Fullback" isn't a bad movie, it has a nice idea and a good cast but the final product isn't the laugh out loud comedy which it deserves to be and ends up feeling a little flat due to so many of the jokes failing.