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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Father Goose
Father Goose
Artisan // Unrated // September 18, 2001
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Holly E. Ordway | posted December 9, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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Walter Eckland (Cary Grant) just wants to be left alone to putter around the South Pacific with his boat and his hefty stock of whiskey. But there's a war on... World War II, to be precise... and Eckland's old friend Commander Houghton (Trevor Howard) is determined to put him to good use for the British Navy as a spotter of incoming Japanese fighter planes. Eckland is far from willing to "volunteer" for this thankless duty, but Houghton is just as stubborn, and sneaky, as he is, setting the stage for a battle of wills... which is suddenly made all the more interesting by the arrival of a stranded French teacher (Leslie Caron) who is a force to be reckoned with!

Father Goose is a light-hearted and highly entertaining film. Director Ralph Nelson has a light hand with the film. Though it's set during World War II, I'd hesitate to call it a "war movie": the story is tightly focused on the characters and their interactions in a tiny corner of the world during a brief moment in time. The war is still going on when the credits roll, but our sympathies are completely with the individual characters who we've gotten to know over the course of the movie: good-hearted people who are doing their best not just to survive, but also to carry on with their lives in a world that's gone crazy.

Not surprisingly, Father Goose won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Story and Screenplay. Beginning with a basic dilemma – Eckland is stuck with a job he doesn't want – the story keeps developing as the movie progresses, with new plot elements and character development all the way through. Father Goose is a pleasantly relaxed kind of comedy, which creates its humor through the interactions of sympathetic, spirited characters. Cary Grant does an excellent job as the beach-bum Eckland, with just the right balance of bluster and humanity.

Video

Like That Touch of Mink, Father Goose is disappointingly non-anamorphic. Fortunately, the 1.85:1 aspect ratio of the Father Goose DVD transfer is, in fact, the original aspect ratio.

The image shows some minor edge enhancement, and some bleeding of colors occurs during a few scenes in the film. Apart from this, Father Goose looks quite good. The colors are bright and cheerful, with natural-looking skin tones, the contrast is good, and the image is quite clean, with minimal noise.

Audio

Father Goose's Dolby 2.0 mono soundtrack doesn't offer anything special, but it carries the film satisfactorily. Even in mono, sound effects such as fighter jets and machine-gun fire stand out quite well. The dialogue is always clear, and the volume level stays consistent throughout.

Extras

Cast and crew information is the only special feature that is included on this DVD.

Final thoughts

It looks like Artisan's Cary Grant Collection is somewhat uneven in quality, both in the films themselves and in the DVD transfers of the films. Father Goose is on the better end of the scale; it's a fun, funny movie that looks quite good in its DVD presentation. For anyone looking to discover (or re-discover) some of the "golden oldies" of film, Father Goose is certainly worth picking up.
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