“He wanted as many kids between him and the audience as possible.”
Eddie Foy, Jr.
The Seven Little Foys (1955) is a highly interesting Bob Hope comedy/drama. It is amusing like most Bob Hope films, but I have also found it intriguing because Hope portrays Foy at the beginning of the film as a selfish loner who wants absolutely nothing to do with a wife, let alone kids. In the film his ambitions to lead a selfish solitary life are thwarted by love. First, love for his wife and then, after her death, love for their numerous children. At the end of the film we even see love of God starting to enter into Foy’s life, as he goes to Mass for the first time in years. His attempt to lead a life devoted to self alone ends in flat failure!
Like most Hollywood films some of the details of the actual Foy and his children are distorted, but it does not deter from the central message of the film. Humans only have true happiness by loving others and doing good for them. It seems a simple enough concept, and it certainly lies at the heart of Catholicism, but most of the evil in the world is a testament to how elusive many people find this core truth of human life.
Seeing Foy throughout the film grow into the role of father, with many hurdles, makes it a great film for Father’s day. Go here for film clips from the film.
I cannot leave this film without showing the clip of the legendary dance routine between Bob Hope and James Cagney, reprising his role from Yankee Doodle Dandy as James M. Cohan. Cagney had his salary for the role donated to charity, regarding it as a tribute to Eddie Foy, who in the twenties had helped out struggling young actors, including Cagney.
What do you need friends for?… you’ve got all the friends and enemies you need right here in the family.
Eddie Foy (Bob Hope), The Seven Little Foys (1955)