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Cary Grant stars in one of his funniest roles as a boozy beachcomber sitting out WWII in peace - until the Allies recruit him to bea lookout on the South Pacific isle. During an enemy attack, he answers a distress call and discovers a beautiful French schoolmarm (Leslie Caron) and her seven girl students. And so begins a hilarious battle of the sexes between a messy American, a prim Mademoiselle, and seven mischievous little girls. Who will win is anybody's guess, but you can be sure that FATHER GOOSE delivers plenty of romantic fun and adventure along the way.
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Cary Grant's penultimate feature before retirement was this cheerful 1964 effort to overturn his career-long image of urbane sophistication. As the unshaven, messy misanthrope Walter Eckland, a World War II-era beach bum who monitors Japanese air activity for the Australian navy in exchange for booze, Grant makes a convincingly hard-bitten, hard-drinking antihero. Until, that is, a pretty French schoolmistress (Leslie Caron) and her seven little charges (all girls) survive a nearby plane crash and invade Eckland's raunchy isolation. Directed by 1960s hit-maker Ralph Nelson (The Lilies of the Field, Charly), Father Goose is a glossy comedy that also does justice to its more suspenseful scenes (a deadly snakebite suffered by Caron's character is especially memorable) and leaves plenty of room for Grant to indulge in some entertaining if atypical screen behavior. All in all, this is a minor treat in the actor's magnificent filmography. --Tom Keogh
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