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Decades may pass, but The Courtship of Eddie's Father never loses any of its abundant charm. Long before he became an Oscar®-winning director, 8-year-old "Ronny" Howard (then appearing on TV's The Andy Griffith Show) costarred with Glenn Ford in this heartwarming family classic, later adapted into a TV series (1969-72) starring Bill Bixby and Brandon Cruz. While the later show adopted a hip, late-'60s sensibility, this 1963 production is more straight-laced and, for its time, remarkably frank--and disarmingly funny--about the many questions that precocious son Eddie (Howard) has for his widower father (Ford) as they recover from the death of wife and mother. A perfect director for this delicate material (wonderfully adapted from Mark Toby's novel), Vincente Minnelli hits all the right notes of sadness, hope, and parental concern; Ford's unspoken love for a helpful neighbor (Shirley Jones) may be a foregone conclusion, but romantic subplots (and Eddie's diligent matchmaking) add plenty of domestic drama. Sweet but never saccharine, this timeless Courtship is guaranteed to make you smile. --Jeff Shannon
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