Weekend with Father (1951)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Satire  |   Release Date - Dec 1, 1951 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 83 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Weekend with Father is a surprising entry from director Douglas Sirk, whose reputation for melodramatic masterpieces that dissect the insular world of 1950s American life doesn't prepare one for this light, breezy and inconsequential family comedy. Although it does share some of the Sirk trademarks, such as an emphasis on the way in which children can be manipulative force upon their parents, Weekend is out for laughs rather than for introspection. Playing much like an earlier version of Yours, Mine and Ours or The Brady Bunch, Weekend 's screenplay is so light that it threatens to float away. Fortunately, it's diverting enough that even with its familiarity, most viewers will find themselves having a surprisingly good time. Credit the cast, starting with stars Van Heflin and Patricia Neal, who make a very likable and engaging couple, and who reveal themselves at experts when it comes to this kind of material. There's some very amusing support as well from health nut Richard Denning and self-absorbed starlet Virginia Field, but it's the kids that give pep to the picture. Avoiding cloying cuteness, they play the material straight, with pleasant results. It's also fun watching Sirk work without his trademark props, such as architectural structures that add volumes to the story and the characters; he's out for a silly romp, and he achieves his goal.