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Jeanne Crain as Ann Gilbreth
Myrna Loy as Mrs. Lillian Gilbreth
Debra Paget as Martha Gilbreth
Jeffrey Hunter as Dr. Bob Grayson
Edward Arnold as Sam Harper
Hoagy Carmichael as Thomas George Bracken
Barbara Bates as Ernestine Gilbreth
Robert Arthur as Frank Gilbreth
Verna Felton as Cousin Leora
Full Frame (1.33:1)
Running Time: 89 Minutes
This 1952 film is the sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen. It is based on the true story of the Gilbreth family.
After the death of her husband, Mrs. Lillian Gilbreth must face supporting her family alone. Though she has a degree in industrial engineering, she has a hard time picking up her husband's business due to male chauvinist engineers dominating the industry. Lillian must find other means to support her family.
Meanwhile, oldest daughter Ann Gilbreth falls in love with Dr. Bob Grayson. The two want to get married immediately, but how can Ann leave her family when she's needed by them the most?
Belles on Their Toes is not rated, but it's safe to say the material is G rated.
While I don't remember having seen "Cheaper by the Dozen" before, I do remember seeing its sequel "Belles on Their Toes". While the first film was a comedy drama, this one was a comedy musical. It has a few musical numbers that the first film did not have. It also has more of the moments that were borrowed by the recent remake starring Steve Martin.
The scenes I remembered most from Belles on Their Toes were the ones that still entertained me on my recent viewing. There's a hilarious scene where the boys in the family chase off a prospective suitor of one of their sisters. His perplexed look as the young boys barge in on his bath is classic. Another scene where the kids bottle their own root beer stuck with me as well.
Oddly enough, the dramatic moments were also memorable for me, too. I remember the male engineers turning Mrs. Gilbreth away from a ceremony they arranged to honor her. Other scenes of sexism stuck with me as well. Maybe it was the sheer injustice of it, but it struck me as wrong even as a younger kid seeing the movie.
While Myrna Loy was shoved into the background of the first film, she's definitely the star of this one. She gets a real opportunity to shine and show her character as a strong, dedicated woman. Jeanne Crain also becomes a romantic lead as the oldest daughter in love with Jeffrey Hunter's doctor character. These two actresses, as well as all the secondary character, deliver fine performances and make it seem fun to be part of a family with 12 children.
Of the two movies, I found Belles on Their Toes to be more enjoyable. I think you could check it out without having to see the first movie, but it would help if you did.
There are no extras on this DVD except for trailers for the films as well as the recent remake of Cheaper by the Dozen.
The Bottom Line:
If you're into old movies, Belles on Their Toes is worth checking out. You may also want to see it if you saw the recent Cheaper by the Dozen remake.