Like a lot of hit '70's television sitcoms, Brian Cooke and Johnnie Mortimer's 'Father Dear Father' made the transition to the big screen. The series had ended shortly before the film opened. Possibly because they were heavily involved in the writing of their next project - 'Man About The House' - they decided to base their screenplay on a couple of episodes - 'The Proposal' and 'The Return Of The Mummy' from Season 1, and 'Show Me The Way To Go Home' from Season 2. As these had been made in black and white, Cooke & Mortimer probably felt they were in no danger of being repeated in the colour era and so it was safe to remake them ( I wonder what they'd have said had they known that someday the film would be available as part of a D.V.D. set featuring the entire series? ).
There is no actual plot as such, just sub-plots. It opens at a party at the Glover house. Patrick ( Patrick Cargill ) cannot sleep on account of the noise and phones the police. Anna ( Natasha Pyne ) angrily vows to get a flat of her own. Patrick thinks the best way to handle his wayward daughters is for him to marry again, and proposes to literary agent 'Georgie Thompson' ( Jill Melford ). She accepts. Patrick's first wife 'Barbara' ( Ursula Howells ), having left her husband 'Bill' ( Jack Watling ), moves in with her ex. A drunken Bill turns up and Patrick has to hide Barbara from him. Anna takes possession of her new flat, which is disgustingly filthy. Patrick, searching for her, ventures into the better-furnished flat downstairs, which belongs to a young black couple ( Clifton James and Elisabeth Adare ). The old boy thinks his daughter is living with the man, and is far from happy about it. When the misunderstandings have been cleared up, Patrick and Georgie walk up the aisle, and decide ultimately not to proceed with the wedding, but enjoy the honeymoon regardless...
Directed by William G.Stewart, this film is mediocre at best but proved most useful in the days when there were no repeats of 'F.D.F.' to be found anywhere on I.T.V. The Glovers sitting room is identical to the equivalent set in the show ( something the 'Man About The House' movie designer failed to do a year later ), the cast is mostly the same ( Jack Watling replaced Tony Britton's 'Bill', while Dawn Addams made way for Jill Melford as 'Georgie' ). The theme music here is better than the one on the show. Richard O'Sullivan's accident-prone 'Howard' is around, though for some unknown reason he's been rechristened 'Richard'. Joseph O'Connor's senile Vicar appeared in the very first episode of 'F.D.F.'. There is an added emphasis on visual comedy - such as Patrick stepping in a plate of spaghetti as he comes downstairs, and a running gag has Paul Luty ( from 'Love Thy Neighbour' ) as a milkman who keeps having objects, such as a ladder and H.G.'s bone, falling on his head.
Unfortunately, the scene with the black couple makes uncomfortable viewing now, especially as the Clifton James character is fond of doing eyeball-rolling 'yassuh, boss!'-type routines. Cargill gets to make several remarks which would today be regarded as offensively racist.
The funniest moment, however, involves dear Beryl Reid as a cleaner to whom Patrick has proposed marriage by mistake. "You would not be the first!", she tells him, and goes on to recount how she was seduced during the war by a G.I. who tempted her into his arms with a pair of nylon tights and a banana!