Just before turning his attention to An American in Paris (read about that here), Director Vincente Minnelli chose to work on Father of the Bride.
MGM purchased the rights to the novel for 100 thousand dollars, and the film was shot in only 28 days – that’s shorter than it takes to plan a wedding! Learn more about the comedy below.
1. The parents were almost different.
Hedy Lamarr turned down the role of the mother before it went to Joan Bennett. Jack Benny wanted the male lead and even tested for the part. However, Minnelli thought that only Spencer Tracy could do the part justice. Unfortunately, Spence turned the part down at first. Enter Katharine Hepburn. She invited the two over for dinner, and Tracy accepted the part then. Interestingly, Tracy and Joan Bennett worked together previously on Me and My Gal.
2. Taylor got married in real life.
Coincidently, while her character was getting married, so was Elizabeth Taylor. The studio jumped at the chance to tie-in her actual nuptials with the film, and she wed on May 6, 1950, only twelve days before the movie’s release. Taylor's dress was designed by the Oscar-winning costume designer Helen Rose, who gave her a satin train that was fifteen feet. It cost $3,500, and unfortunately, it was only loaned to Taylor for the big day. In 2013, that dress sold for over 180 thousand dollars.
3. Taylor and Spence became friends.
"He was 'pops' and I was 'kitten' and we kept those names until the day he died," Elizabeth Taylor said. The pair got along famously and would goof around on set, teasing and chasing each other. But along with a friendship, Taylor grew a deep admiration for the actor. "Even at eighteen I learned so much by just watching Spence... It seemed as if he wasn't doing anything, and yet he was doing everything. It came so subtly out of his eyes. Every muscle in his face,” she said. Read what other actors said about Tracy here.
4. It was a box office smash.
Even before its release, MGM anticipated a box office hit, and during production, they announced a sequel titled at that time Now, I’m a Grandfather. It would later be renamed Father’s Little Dividend. Father of the Bride was indeed a success, and it earned more than 4 million dollars. It was also nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Actor for Spencer Tracy, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay.