Film: Father Goose

Father Goose is a 1964 romantic comedy set in World War II, starring Cary Grant and Leslie Caron.

The film starts with a Commander Frank Houghton having to convince coerces an old friend, an American beachcomber Walter Eckland (Cary Grant), into becoming a coast-watcher for the Allies. Eckland, who is uninterested in anything other than fishing and drinking, is forced to land on a deserted Matalava Island to watch for Japanese planes. To ensure Eckland remains on duty Houghton's naval vessel "accidentally" hits his boat, leaving a large gaping hole in its hull.

Houghton later finds a replacement watcher who happens to be in distress, but Eckland has to retrieve him from nearby a nearby island. Eckland unexpectedly finds, not the island watchman, but a Frenchwoman by the name of Catherine Freneau and seven young schoolgirls under her care stranded there instead. She informs him that the man he came for was killed in an air raid, and Eckland reluctantly takes them back to Matalava with him.

Now having to take care of the prim and proper school teacher and her students Mr. Eckland tries to maintain his privacy and get the ladies off the island as fast as possible, a task easier said than done.

Tropes in the film

  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Played straight and inverted. Walter and Catherine have been sniping at each-other for a while and it eventually leads to Catherine slapping Walter. He returns the favor in a heartbeat.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: So belligerent that when Water requests a chaplain, the Commander thinks that he killed Catherine.
  • California Doubling: Takes place in and around Australia but all the location filming was done in Jamaica.
  • Children Are Innocent: Subverted, the girls know that they are taking advantage of Walter when Ms. Freneau asks them to steal his things. Though they get better by the end of the film.
  • Deadhat Shot: Subverted, after the Catherine is destroyed, Eckland's hat is recovered by the girls in the dinghy, followed by Eckland himself about a minute later.
  • Fake American: Englishman Cary Grant plays American Walter Eckland.
  • Flipping the Bird: It couldn't be shown onscreen at the time, but still made clear as day: "He...he made a gesture, sir!"
  • Gender-Blender Name: Harriet insists on being called Harry, which eventually gets her named as Walter's best man.
  • Hands-On Approach
  • Hidden Depths: Walter used to be a schoolteacher.
  • Houseboat Hero
  • Imaginary Friend: Gretchin.
  • Insistent Terminology: Walter refuses to use the fairy tale-based code names he's assigned. On the other side, Stebbings adheres to the code names so much that he uses them even in private conversations with his commanding officer.
  • Lampshade Wearing: At one point Ms. Freneau accidentally got drunk because of the mistaken belief she was bitten by a snake (long story). Later Mr. Eckland led her to believe she did dance naked with a lampshade on her head.
  • Meganekko: Elizabeth.
  • Only Sane Man: Walter, cynical though he may be he's usually in the right.
  • Playing Against Type: Instead of his usual suave, sophisticated and dashing fellow, Cary Grant plays a lazy, slovenly drunkard. note 
  • Royal Brat: Catherine mentions she is part of a rich and powerful family.
  • Spoiled Brat: Catherine
  • Spoiled Sweet: The girls.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: Elizabeth is this toward Walter, but gets over it pretty quickly.
  • Suck Out the Poison: Subverted, when Catherine thinks she's been bitten by a snake, Walter tries sucking out the poison before calling Houghton for information on whether poisonous snakes are on the island. Before going to check, Houghton warns Walter not to try sucking the poison out until they know what they're dealing with.
    Houghton: Oh and Walter. Don't try to be a movie hero and suck out the venom.
    Walter: (gets a worried look on his face)
  • Wartime Wedding
  • Wedding Smashers: Walter and Catherine marry while the shack is being shot at by Japanese fighters.
  • Women Are Wiser: Catharine is a firm believer of this due to her wealthy and sheltered upbringing, thankfully she gets better by the end of the movie.