Week-End with Father: Sirk’s Family Comedy, Starring Van Heflin and Patricia Neal

Before German émigré Doulas Sirk began making his signature “Sirkian” films (“Written on the Wind,” “Imitation of Life”), he helmed a wide array of genre films, some good, others mediocre.

Week-End with Father, a fluffy generic family comedy starring Van Heflin, Patricia Neal and Gigi Perreau, is one of Sirk’s lesser–and least known–features, and for good reasons.

As their children are leaving New York for summer camp, Brad Stubbs (Heflin) wishes his two daughters goodbye, while Jean Bowen (Neal) bids adieu with her sons.

The couple (neither married) meet again while walking their dogs,. They become acquainted and quickly, engaged.

Brad attempts to break the news to the actress he’s been seeing, Phyllis Reynolds (Virginia Fields), but she doesn’t take it well.

Brad and Jean then travel to the camp to inform their kids. Handsome camp counselor Don Adams is instantly attracted to Jean. Meanwhile, the kids mock Brad when he is not as good at camp activities as Don is.

When Phyllis shows up, she shocks Jean when she claims to be Brad’s wife-to-be.  In time, the children regret not accepting the new relationship and scheme to bring Brad and Jean back together, her boys even pretending to be lost in the woods so that Brad can be a hero and bring them home.


Van Heflin as Brad Stubbs
Patricia Neal as Jean Bowen
Gigi Perreau as Anne Stubbs
Virginia Field as Phyllis Reynolds
Richard Denning as Don Adams
Jimmy Hunt as Gary Bowen
Tommy Rettig as David Bowen
Janine Perreau as Patty Stubbs
Gary Pagett as Eddie Lewis
Forrest Lewis as Clarence Willett


Directed by Douglas Sirk
Produced by Ted Richmond
Screenplay by Joseph Hoffman, based on George F. Slavin and George W. George
Music by Frank Skinner
Cinematography: Clifford Stine
Edited by Russell F. Schoengarth
Produced and distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date: December 1951
Running time: 83 minutes


I am grateful to TCM for showing the film on January 14, 2020.