Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Father of the Bride (1950)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Father of the Bride (1950)

In director Vincente Minnelli's and MGM's satirical domestic comedy about a wedding ceremony, including all the travails and joys of a harrassed father experiencing his only daughter's expensive wedding:

  • in the opening voice-over narration of harrassed and exhausted father, Stanley T. Banks or "Pops" (Oscar-nominated Spencer Tracy), talked directly to the camera about the stresses before (and after) a lavish June wedding for his 20 year-old daughter Kay (Elizabeth Taylor), and his recollections of how she had grown up so fast to become engaged - with an extravagant marriage ceremony that had just occurred: ("I would like to say a few words about weddings. I've just been through one. Not my own, my daughter's. Someday in the far future, I may be able to remember it with tender indulgence, but not now. I always used to think that marriage was a simple affair. Boy and girl meet, they fall in love, get married, they have babies. Eventually the babies grow up, meet other babies, and they fall in love and get married, and so on and on and on. Looked at that way, it's not only simple, it's downright monotonous. But I was wrong. I figured without the wedding")
  • during the film's lengthy flashback that told the witty and contrived story of the previous three months leading up to the wedding, Stanley realized that his 'little girl' Kay was soon to be leaving in anticipation of her marriage ("All I could think of was a little girl in brown pigtails and dirty overalls")
  • Stanley desired to "get a peek at this Superman," his daughter's fiancee, Buckley Dunstan (Don Taylor) from the front window, and had a pained reaction
  • in the middle of the night, Stanley frantically worried to his wife Ellie (Joan Bennett) about Kay's choice of a fiancee: "We don't know a thing about him. Not a darn thing. Not where he comes from, what he makes, or what he makes making it"
  • they had a lengthy, one-sided "man-to-man" financial talk (three months before the nuptials) to determine if Buckley could suitably support Kay
  • during the required meeting of the Banks to get to know the wealthy in-laws the Dunstans, Herbert or "Herbie" (Moroni Olsen) and Doris Dunstan (Billie Burke), Stanley admitted: "We did more bare-faced lying in those few minutes than we had done in our entire lives"
  • in the scene of the Banks' party to announce the engagement, Stanley found himself confined to the kitchen and was unable to deliver his prepared speech
  • Stanley became exasperated about how everyone else was spending his money, but soon realized he would lose the battle for a small wedding: "From then on, I was a dead duck"
  • Stanley was completely flabbergasted by the amount of clothing being purchased for the event, and all of the other included expenses: ("It's only two syllables from Banks to bankruptcy...What are people gonna say when I'm in the gutter because I tried to put on a wedding like a Roman emperor?"); eventually, Stanley gave in to the entire guest list
  • Stanley faced his daughter's overbearing caterers, led by fussy caterer Mr. Massoula (Leo G. Carroll): ("An experienced caterer can make you ashamed of your house in 15 minutes")
  • once the RSVPs for the invitations began to arrive, Stanley was dismayed by the many positive responses
  • then, Kay abruptly announced that "the wedding's off" during a sudden explosion of emotion, after Buckley impulsively proposed that the couple go on a fishing trip in Nova Scotia for their honeymoon; Buckley arrived to sincerely apologize for his awful and selfish lack of judgment with Kay; Stanley was forced to intercede after the couple's fight and make things right between the feuding couple, and the two quickly reconciled their differences
  • during the botched church rehearsal for the wedding arrived, the groom Buckley and the minister Rev. Galsworthy (Paul Harvey) were absent from the proceedings, and the rehearsal run by the minister's assistant Mr. Tringle (Melville Cooper) was totally disorganized and chaotic
  • the night before the wedding, Stanley also experienced a nightmarish vision of what might happen at a disastrous wedding (he imagined himself appearing late, in tatters, and not able to walk down the springy and rubbery aisle, as his daughter screamed at him from the altar)
  • once he awoke from the nightmare during a midnight snack kitchen scene, he visited with his daughter as they shared a bottle of milk and sandwiches; she confessed her fears about the monumental wedding about to occur, and then complimented her father: "Nothing ever fazes you, does it?"
  • the day of the wedding dawned with massive distractions and confusion over preparations in the house for the reception, including collisions between caterers setting up and movers taking out the furniture; however, Stanley then saw his daughter in her wedding gown, reflected in a triple-paned full-length mirror ("She looked like the princess in a fairy tale") - it was a wonderfully visualized moment
  • as Stanley played his part to give Kay away, he felt ambiguity and confusion about losing his only daughter: ("What's it going to be like to come home and not find her. Not to hear her voice calling 'Hi Pops' as I come in. I suddenly realized what I was doing. I was giving up Kay. Something inside me was beginning to hurt")
  • the film concluded with the chaotic reception back at the Banks home; missing her throughout the entire reception in the crowded house, in the midst of the hubbub and catering staff and the crush of the hordes of guests, Stanley failed to see the throwing of Kay's bouquet from the front indoor staircase, and only caught a glimpse of her departing in the newlyweds' car. Crestfallen, he thought to himself (in voice-over): "She was gone. My Kay was gone. And I'd been too late to say goodbye to her." Later after the last guests departed, Stanley surveyed the "wreckage" in the house with Ellie, and suddenly felt how empty the house had become
  • in a concluding tearjerking scene, Kay made a post-wedding phone call (from the NY train station on her way to her Nova Scotia honeymoon) to lovingly say 'thank you' to her father: ("And Pops, you've been just wonderful. I love you. I love you very much. Bye bye")
  • Stanley delivered a memorable last line: ("Nothing's really changed, has it? You know what they say: 'My son's my son until he gets him a wife, but my daughter's my daughter all of her life.' All of our life")

Stanley's Voice-Over Narrated Flashback

Stanley's "Man-to-Man" Talk with Fiancee Buckley

The Wedding Caterers

Wedding Nightmare

Kay's Post-Wedding Thank You Phone Call to Her Father


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