Take Her, She’s Mine (1963): Jimmy Stewart as Overprotective Father of Sandra Dee

In the 1960s, Jimmy Stewart matured into playing a series benevolent screen fathers, not the rigid patriarch, in several comedies, many directed by Henry Koster, some of which were popular at the box-office.

Our Grade: C+ (*1/2 out of *****)

His early 1960s comedy fare represents the last era in Hollywood, just before the Vietnam War and anti-War and other protest movements, that the American family was depicted in a naively positive and upbeat, old-fashioned way.

Stewart excelled as a father figure in the 1962 comedy Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, which depicts the (mis)adventures of Stewart, his wife Maureen O’Hara, and their clan, when they rent a house by the ocean for the summer.

Directed by vet Henry Koster, this mildly entertaining comedy was extremely popular at the box-office. It’s not a coincidence that it bears some thematic and tonal resemblance to Father of the Bride, Minnelli’s far superior family fare with a towering, Oscar-nominated performance from Spencer Tracy, as both were based on books written by Edward Streeter.

In 1963, in the likable but inconsequential Take Her, She’s Mine, Stewart was cast as the overprotective father of a rebellious teenage daughter, played by America’s sweetheart at the time, Sandra Dee.

The schmaltzy, old-fashioned comedy, was scripted by Nannally Johnson from a Broadway play by Henry and Phoebe Ephron (parents of writer-director Nora Ephron).

The character of Mollie, played by Elizabeth Ashley on Broadway, was based on the then 22-year-old Nora Ephron. Ashley’s performance won her a Tony Award and served as the launchpad for her career.  Art Carney played the Jimmy Stewart role on stage.

The popular Israeli song, “Hava Nagila,” is sung in Hebrew (with heavy accent).

The film, directed by Henry Koster, features an early film score by the prolific composer Jerry Goldsmith.

The movie was later unofficially remade as The Impossible Years.

James Brolin, who would emerge as a major TV actor, appears briefly in an airport setting.


Produced and  drected by Henry Koster
Script by Nunnally Johnson, based on play by Henry Ephron and Phoebe Ephron
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography: Lucien Ballard
Edited by Marjorie Fowler
Distributed by 20th Century-Fox
Release date: November 13, 1963
Running time: 98 minutes

James Stewart as Frank Michaelson
Sandra Dee as Mollie Michaelson
Audrey Meadows as Anne Michaelson
Robert Morley as Mr. Pope-Jones
John McGiver as Hector G. Ivor
Bob Denver as coffeehouse singer
Philippe Forquet as Henri Bonnet
Monica Moran as Linda Lehman
Cynthia Pepper as Adele
Jenny Maxwell as Sarah
Charla Doherty as Liz Michaelson
Maurice Marsac as M. Bonnet
Marcel Hillaire as Policeman
Irene Tsu as Miss Wu
Charles Robinson as Stanley