Time to go home. Well, sort of…
I have to say, I’ve never done a review like this before. One of my favorite blogs is Hooked On Houses, but it’s the kind of thing where I look but don’t touch. Part of this is because I live in an apartment, so I have no skin in the real estate game, and the other part is I tend to be more interested in the actors than in the sets around them.
Still, I get to wishing sometimes.
I have always enjoyed seeing the Banks’ abode in the 1950 version of Father of the Bride, starring Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett, and Elizabeth Taylor. Ordinarily, a house like this would be a little too formal for me–the styles I like best are Kraftsman and twenties bungalows–but there’s something about the Banks house that’s very warm and inviting.
We meet the Banks house thusly. It’s a straight-ahead colonial that’s so typical of the East Coast. I’m presuming the story is set in Connecticut or New York State, but the actual house was built on the M-G-M backlot.
The first thing we see inside the house is the foyer. The characters spend a lot of time here–about a third of the movie’s action takes place in this area.
Off to the left facing the stairs, we have the living room, and it seems to be a mix of colonial and Victorian furniture, but it’s more classic than hodgepodge.
Then on the right is the formal dining room. Very timeless and obviously made for entertaining, but Kay still feels comfortable coming to dinner in her grubbies.
Speaking of Kay, here’s her bedroom upstairs, and I think it’s perfect. I would love to have a room like this. Window seat and everything. Yas.
Meanwhile, Moms and Pops have a spacious bedroom with their own window seat. Twin beds, of course. Kay also has two younger brothers, but we don’t get to see their rooms for some reason. Oh well.
Here we have the bathroom. I can’t imagine this whole giant house having only one full bathroom, but evidently this house does. At least, it’s the only one we see. For that matter, we never see the toilet in this bathroom either, but this was before Leave It To Beaver. No one in film or TV had dared to show a porcelain throne until then. Thanks, Hays Office! 🙂 Anyway, I like all the chrome in this bathroom, especially the towel rack and the shower. It’s very clean and streamlined.
The house also has a den, which becomes the repository for all the wedding gifts, including a rather hideous Venus de Milo clock.
I think my favorite room in the house is the kitchen. Older houses tend to have public spaces and private spaces instead of the open floorplans we have now, and kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms were considered private. As such, the kitchen is plainer than the other rooms, and it’s fitting that the characters act differently in the kitchen than in any other place. It’s where Stanley gets stuck making drinks during Kay’s entire engagement party, and sprays himself with Coke when trying to use the bottle opener. It’s also the room where he and Kay have a heart-to-heart over a sandwich the night before the wedding. The room is obviously meant to be where the characters get vulnerable.
No visit to the Banks house would be complete without seeing it transformed for Kay’s wedding, of course.
The calm before the storm:
Let the festivities begin…
The wedding is the only time we get to see a little bit of the backyard:
All good things must come to an end, though, and after Kay and her new husband go off on their honeymoon, Stanley and Ellie end the night on a romantic note:
And there we have the Banks’ house. And Spencer Tracy. He’s in pretty much every scene, but that’s by no means a bad thing. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading, and if you want to see more favorite film and TV houses, there are plenty of them at Phyllis Loves Classic Movies today and Love Letters To Old Hollywood will have more tomorrow. Thanks for hosting, ladies! Coming up next…
Rick’s running the show, so please pay him a visit if you want to contribute. See you later!
This film is available on Amazon.