LGTTM – ‘Father Goose’ – ‘…And Justice for All’


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FATHER GOOSE (1964)                             

This was the penultimate film of Cary Grant’s long career, and it was the last time he played a romantic lead.  In the following year he refused the romantic lead in his final movie, 1966’s Walk Don’t Run, which was a re-make of The More the Merrier (1943), but set during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. At sixty-one, Grant felt he was too old to be a believable love interest for the much younger leading female character. He had been genuinely concerned about this when he made Charade in 1963, alongside Audrey Hepburn. In that film he insisted that Audrey pursue him in the picture, rather than the other way around. Grant had hoped to get Audrey for the female lead in Father Goose, but she had already committed to My Fair Lady.

Cary Grant in Father Goose » BAMF Style

Cary in Father Goose’

Cary plays a scruffy, whiskey-swilling beachcomber in this movie. He is considered to be cast against type for the role, quite antithetical to his suave, sophisticated, debonair on-screen persona. Nevertheless, he classed playing such a character as one of his favorite projects. He always maintained his role in this picture was most like his real personality. He even claimed that he kept in touch with most of the girls as they grew up and had families of their own.

Father Goose (1964) Trevor Howard | Father goose, Trevor howard, Classic hollywood

Trevor Howard

Trevor Howard, playing a naval commander in the film, was inspired by Grant, even though the plot required most of their communication be through radio. ‘Grant was always there on the set, Howard recalled. ‘If a line of comedy didn’t work he’d immediately call up his writers to polish it up and, consequently, I think I played some of my best comedy scenes in Father Goose. Leslie Caron said of her co-star: ‘Cary kept you on your toes. He electrified the set; you had to be as bright and brilliant as possible.’

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The dinghy scene

One scene in Father Goose might well have ended in tragedy but for quick action by directors and producers. The scene in the dinghy where the small boat gets passed by two large ships was filmed on the Universal Studios back-lot in a large tank on a sound set. One of the child stars, Stephanie Berrington who played Elizabeth, spoke in an interview of how things almost went terribly wrong. ‘It was a large tank like a swimming pool. We had wave-making machines, which were logs attached to steel arms that kept slapping the water to make waves’, she recalled. ‘The larger ships were actually projected onto screens above the water. At first, the dinghy was just floating free and was not attached to anything In one of the first few takes, it took on so much water that it sank (it wasn’t supposed to) and most of the children were thrilled. It was like going for a swim. There was one child, however, who did not know how to swim, so the directors and producers jumped into the water in their good clothes and expensive watches to save us. Needless to say, most of us didn’t want to be saved at all!

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… AND JUSTICE FOR ALL (1979)                                

Lawyer Arthur Kirkland (played by Al Pacino) is forced to defend a guilty judge (John Forsythe as Judge Henry T. Fleming) on a rape charge, while defending other innocent clients and attempting to find punishment for the guilty and justice for the innocent. When Pacino was cast here he was contemplating the lead in Kramer vs. Kramer, but eventually rejected it in favor of the role as Kirkland. Both he and Dustin Hoffman were nominated as Best Actor for the two films. Ironically, Hoffman won the Oscar for his performance in Kramer vs. Kramer.

And Justice for All (1979) - Photo Gallery - IMDb

Jack Warden

…And Justice for All is notable for one particular scene in which the character played by Jack Warden, Judge Francis Rayford, actually fires a pistol in court! Director Norman Jewison stated in the audio-commentary that the scene was based on a Judge in Texas who had, unbelievably, taken a gun to court. In fact, in one American borough, Jewison cited research that showed that five out of six criminal justice judges wore firearms! Even so, in legal circles the film was criticized for its portrayal and depiction of legal eagles, lawyers and judges. Jewison himself described the film as ‘a terrifying comedy’. Warden, incidentally, is seen sitting on the ledge of the law building four stories up, while eating his lunch. The actor was wearing a security cable harness under his clothes as a safety precaution in case he slipped.

The character of Jeff McCullough (played by Thomas G. Waites) was based on a real life person who spent months in prison for a minor traffic violation, due to an administrative error. Dramatic license was employed here that saw the character shot dead by marksmen during a later incident. Happily, that did not occur in real life.

For non-Americans throughout the world, the title of this film consists of the last four words of the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ recited daily by US schoolchildren. Its full version reads: ‘I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’ We are left to ponder on whether or not Native Americans and African Americans recite those words with the same fervor as everyone else.

Jeffrey Tambor - Actor and comedian - Speakers Associates

Jeffrey Tambor

Jeffrey Tambor portrays Kirkland’s fellow lawyer Jay Porter, the one who shaved his head when a client of his killed again after Porter had got him off a murder charge on a technicality. In February 2018, Amazon Studios fired Tambor from its series Transparent after multiple allegations of sexual harassment against the actor arose. Amazon, who owns and produces the Soloway series, had been investigating the allegations and made an official decision not to cast the actor in any role in Season Five.

In the final shot of the last scene of …And Justice for All, Al Pacino breaks the ‘fourth wall’ and looks straight into the camera with a look of disbelief.

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