Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Domestic Comedy, Ensemble Film  |   Release Date - Apr 17, 1950 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

A big hit in its time, and a favorite for many year after, Cheaper By the Dozen has lost a considerable amount of its appeal in more recent times. Simply put, while it has its charms and some considerable assets, Cheaper is dated. For some, this won't be much of a problem, but others will find it challenging to watch a man who is basically a dictator, who cares little for the opinions of others (while professing otherwise) and whose obsession with efficiency may strike some as a bit monomaniacal. Cheaper has some other problems, notably that it's basically just one long series of incidents and vignettes rather than a single cohesive story. However, it also has a warmth and charm about it, and many of the sequences do inspire genuine laughter. This is especially true of the "birth control lecture" sequence, which is just about perfect and which also benefits from a spot-on performance by Mildred Natwick. And whatever issues one may have with the father, there's no denying that he is played to the hilt by Clifton Webb. Myrna Loy plays another of her perfect wives to perfection, and Edgar Buchanan does well as the family doctor. Jeanne Crain is a bit stiff as the eldest daughter, though Barbara Bates as the next in live is quite good. Walter Lang's direction keeps things moving and is ultra-professional, if a bit impersonal.