Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 8th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1964
Director: Ralph Nelson
Writers: Peter Stone, Frank Tarloff, S.H. Barnett
Cast: Cary Grant, Leslie Caron, Trevor Howard, Jack Good, Sharyl Locke, Pip Sparke, Verina Greenlaw, Stephanie Berrington, Jennifer Berrington, Laurelle Felsette, Nicole Felsette
BluRay released: November 28th, 2017
Approximate running time: 118 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Olive Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $39.95
“When boozy beachcomber Walter Eckland is blackmailed into service as a lookout by the Allied Forces during World War II, little does he realize that his idyllic island getaway will soon become a haven for seven schoolgirls and their prim and proper teacher. Rescued by Eckland from a nearby island following an enemy attack, Catherine Freneau and her seven mischievous charges will turn the life of the grumpy, whiskey-soaked Eckland on its ear.” – Synopsis provided by the Distributor
Father Goose was directed by Ralph Nelson whose other notable films include, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Lilies of the Field and Soldier in the Rain. Key collaborators on Father Goose include, screenwriter Peter Stone (Charade, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three) and cinematographer Charles Lang (Some Like It Hot, One-Eyed Jacks).
When discussing the Golden age of Hollywood cinema, one would be hard pressed to name an actor who had a more graceful and timely exit from the stage, then Cary Grant.
From the moment, that he arrived in Hollywood and over the span of his four decades in cinema. He would create a body of work that is defined by its consistently. And where time would catch up with the majority of his contemporaries. He would experience, a career renaissance during the latter half of career.
Content wise, though Father Goose does have many elements that have since become synonymous with his most celebrated films. There is one area where it is notably different and that is in regards to the character he portrays. Where his looks and charm had played a large role in the films that he appeared in before Father Goose. This time around, he would portray a disheveled alcoholic with a short fuse and a sharp tongue.
From a production standpoint, the narrative is well constructed and pacing is not an issue as things move along at good momentum. Though there are more melodramatic moments, it is during its more light-hearted moments that this film and its leading man shine brightest.
Besides Cary Grant’s (Bringing Up Baby, North by Northwest) aforementioned performance in the role of Walter Eckland, the rest of the cast are very enjoyable in their respective roles. With other performances of note including, Trevor Howard (Brief Encounter, The Third Man) in the role of a Royal navy Captain named Houghton, who coherces Walter Eckland into being a lookout for him and Leslie Caron (An American in Paris, Gigi) in the role of governess named Catherine Freneau.
Father Goose comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release was sourced from new restoration from 4K scan of original camera negative. The source used for this transfer is in very good shape. And the end result is a transfer that vastly improves upon Olive Films previous Blu-ray release.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles have been included with this release. The audio sounds, clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, Universal newsreel footage featuring Leslie Caron (2 minutes 32 seconds), an interview with internet pioneer Ted Nelson who discusses director Ralph Nelson (11 minutes 26 seconds), an interview with Marc Eliot, author of Cary Grant: A Biography titled Unfinished Business: Cary Grant’s Search for Fatherhood and His Oscar (18 minutes 12 seconds) and an audio commentary film historian David Del Valle.
Topics discussed in the extras include, Cary Grant, Ralph Nelson, Leslie Caron, screenwriter Peter Stone, composer Cy Coleman, cinematographer Charles Lang and background information about Father Goose.
Rounding out the extras is a eight page booklet with an essay titled Father Goose written by Bilge Ebiri. This extra can also be accessed on the Blu-Ray disc in the extras section.
Overall Father Goose gets a solid release as part of their Signature Series.
Note: Olive Films DVD for this film is a bare bones release and the extras included with this release are exclusive to Olive Films Signature Series.