77 user 32 critic

Father Goose (1964)

Approved | | Adventure, Comedy, Romance | 24 December 1964 (UK)
During World War II, a man persuaded to live on an isolated island and spot aircraft finds himself responsible for a teacher and several students, all female.


Ralph Nelson


Peter Stone (screenplay), Frank Tarloff (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Cary Grant ... Walter
Leslie Caron ... Catherine
Trevor Howard ... Houghton
Jack Goode ... Stebbings
Sharyl Locke Sharyl Locke ... Jenny
Pip Sparke ... Anne
Verina Greenlaw ... Christine
Stephanie Berrington ... Elizabeth
Jennifer Berrington Jennifer Berrington ... Harriet
Laurelle Felsette Laurelle Felsette ... Angelique
Nicole Felsette Nicole Felsette ... Dominique


During World War II South Sea beachcomber Walter Eckland is persuaded to spy on planes passing over his island. He gets more than he bargained for as schoolteacher Catherine Frenau arrives on the run from the Japanese with her pupils in tow! Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's a Surprise Invasion!!! When Cary's Private Island becomes the target for some of the "toughest" characters that ever popped out of the South Pacific!!! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Frank's remark to Walter that the Japanese had taken Singapore that morning fixes the date the film opens as February 15, 1942. The official surrender, however, did not take place until 5:15 in the afternoon. See more »


At the beginning of the movie when Commander Houghton's ship is escorting Eckland's small boat out of the harbor, the ship is displaying the Union Jack. Even though the Australian Navy was under the auspices of the UK, the British white naval ensign would normally be flown. See more »


Walter Eckland: [about the Coast Watching Service] We've been friends for a long time. Do you really think you can talk me into it?
Commander Frank Houghton RAN: No, I suppose you're right. Stebbings, confiscate all the small craft on this pier.
Lieutenant Stebbings RAN: But this is the only one there is, Sir.
Commander Frank Houghton RAN: Confiscate it.
Lieutenant Stebbings RAN: Yes, sir.
Walter Eckland: Frank, you can't do that! I'll go over your head! Who's in charge here?
Lieutenant Stebbings RAN: He is!
Walter Eckland: Frank, you can't do that to me! That boat's all I have!
Commander Frank Houghton RAN: You said we've been friends for a long time, Walter. Do you really think you can talk me out of it?
See more »


Featured in Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter (1982) See more »


Oh Promise Me
Written by Reginald De Koven and Clement Scott
Played on accordion over the radio during the wedding scene
See more »

User Reviews

Nice Film
4 January 2007 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

If you are looking for comparisons and don't mind a bit of a stretch, then you can consider "Father Goose" (1964) as another version of "Bringing Up Baby". In both Cary Grant gets to play a character experiencing a host of aggravations. Leslie Caron's Catherine Frenau is not as zany as Hepburn's Susan, but still manages to irritate Grant for most of the film until he finally realizes that he is in love with her. And instead of a leopard and a dog running amuck in rural Connecticut, "Father Goose" features seven schoolgirls of various nationalities running amuck on a Pacific island during WWII.

Everything works pretty well in this film although Grant is not quite up to an American accent so there are several awkward moments with the script. And the age difference makes the Grant-Caron romance unconvincing. Fortunately the producers skate over the romantic elements. In fact, the romance is treated so superficially that you wonder why they bothered to insert it into the story. A similar romance got much the same treatment that year in "My Fair Lady".

The film's real strength is the interaction between Grant and the seven schoolgirls as it manages a fair amount of believable characterization for each of them. The initially silent Jenny (Sharyl Locke), tomboy Harry (Jennifer Berrington), chronic complainer Anne (Pip Sparke), Elizabeth (Stephanie Berrington) and her imaginary friend Gretchen, coming of age Christine (Venina Greenlaw), and the French twins (Laurelle and Nichole Felsette). All have distinct personalities and it is obvious that Grant had a lot of fun working with each of them; so much so that he stayed in touch with them even after they grew up, married, and started their own families.

Grant's Walter Eckland is an American drifter hoping the war will just pass him by; illustrated during the opening credits by Digby Wolfe singing "Pass Me By" as Eckland (with an unwanted hitchhiking Pelican) steers his boat into the harbor. The war catches up with him there when the Harbor Master (Trevor Howard) tricks him into taking a coast-watching job until a replacement can be found.

His job is reporting by radio any movements by Japanese planes and ships near his island station. The reluctant recruit is rewarded with a bottle of whiskey (previously hidden somewhere on the island by the Royal Navy) each time one of his reports is confirmed.

Walter seems to thrive on this assignment until he has to share his island with a French teacher Catherine Frenau (Leslie Caron) and seven young charges. Miss Frenau hides the remaining whiskey bottles and the females take over Walter's hut.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

21 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 77 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





English | French | Japanese

Release Date:

24 December 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Father Goose See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granox Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed