26 January 2014 | MartinHafer
'...as far as the audiences knew, we were one big, happy family...'
'I love him when he's angry...and he's angry all the time'--Mrs. Foy in "The Seven Little Foys" I had a hard time with this movie. And, as I read through the reviews, I was actually rather surprised that more reviewers weren't appalled by the leading character. Kentrasmussen noticed this but most of the rest of the reviews never really get to the problem I had with the film--that the main character seemed about as unlikable as possible. It's a shame, as there are things to like about the film--but without a lead who is likable, there really isn't much reason to see this one.
The film purports to being the story of Eddie Foy and his children--who, collectively, were known as 'Eddie Foy and His Seven Little Foys' on stage. How close Bob Hope's portrayal of Foy's personality is the real Foy, I have no idea. But, as I said above, if this is the real Foy, he wasn't a particularly nice or likable guy. No,...he's a jerk.
When the film begins, Foy's been on the vaudeville circuit for some time. What the film never mentions is that he had already been married and this wife died. And, for a decade, he apparently had a common law relationship with another woman who also died. The film instead picks up much later--just before his second marriage. At this time, Foy is a self-absorbed guy who met his future wife but has zero interest in marrying her. He only does so later in order to get to go to Broadway--a very strange reason to marry someone. Over the course of the next 20-odd years (it seemed like far less in the movie), Foy leaves his ever-pregnant wife at home while he travels the country performing on stage and becoming famous. According to the movie, he is almost never home and is, at best, a very distant father. Despite saying several times in the film that he doesn't like or want kids, the couple has seven kids. However, the wife dies and Foy decides to incorporate the kids into his act--otherwise he's either stuck at home with them (God forbid) or will be forced to give them to someone else. During this time on the road with his kids, he continues to be rather distant from his kids. Eventually there is a schmaltzy ending which seems to come out of no where--as he had been thoroughly horrible as a father.
The plot sucked. I'll be honest. However, Bob Hope surprised me in this one. While I didn't care for his comedy (Foy was a dancer/comedian), I was impressed by his dancing. While not exactly Fred Astaire, it was quite good. And, the production values in the film were quite nice. I am just surprised that they either did just make Foy nice (as Hollywood OFTEN made creeps seem nice in the old days) or make an entirely fictional story with a nicer and more sympathetic leading character. Flawed but mildly interesting.