The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963) - Glenn Ford in a Dramedy

Glenn Ford plays widower Tom Corbett who raises his young son, Eddie (Ron Howard), alone, but the son has other ideas in The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963).

Perhaps Dollye could be his father's new wife. Dollye Daly (Stella Stevens) is a random stranger Eddie meets in an arcade. Dollye is going through a confidence course and Eddie helps her break through her debilitating shyness. Her unassuming presence also relaxes Tom enough to reintroduce the idea of romance.

Dina Merrill is Rita Behrens the "other woman" in our play. This is the inevitable "evil" gal whom father dates but child doesn't like. Though this is the type of character who often muses cattily about shipping children off to boarding school to have daddy all to herself, the script wisely stays away from this bent, casting Rita as your average, lovely socialite. She seems evil to Eddie mostly because she resembles the villains in his comic book.

Plus, Eddie considers someone else for his father to marry.

That someone else could be Elizabeth. Shirley Jones plays Elizabeth Marten, a  neighbor, friend of the family and a nurse, who is on hand to soothe physical and emotional ailments in both father and son. Since Elizabeth knew the late Mrs. Corbett, she is the one with  whom Tom shares his most intimate thoughts about how to raise Eddie and deal with grief.

Howard as precocious little Eddie, is particularly winning with his deadpan delivery and double entendre. Ford is gentle and impatient, yet warm - many of the conflicting emotions necessary to play a father and grieving widower.

Courtship is based on a novel by Mark Toby and is directed by the great Vincente Minnelli. A highly recommended tender comedy which does not shy away from the elephant in the room - death.

Other movies which handle the widower angle pretty well are these:  
The Sound of Music, Jane Eyre, Corrina, Corrina and Houseboat.


  1. I really like this movie, but it always seems odd to me that Glenn Ford starts dating basically days after his wife dies. It would've made more sense to me if the action had started 6 months or a year afterwards, not a week later!

    I like that Dina Merrill isn't a cliched evil-stepmother type. She's just not a kid person. I love her wardrobe - so elegant.

    Ronnie Howard was the cutest little boy, and such a good child actor. The scene with the goldfish breaks my heart, and the last bit ("Yes, my excellent strong man!") always cracks me up.

    1. LOL! Yes, the role playing to help his father is so endearing and hilarious. The timing of renewed interest in dating often too soon in movies.

      Thanks for adding your thoughts,

  2. I quite like Glenn Ford in this movie. He's created a very likeable character.

    Ron Howard, as you've pointed out, is sooo cute!


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