The Seven Little Foys (1955) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Seven Little Foys (1955)

The Seven Little Foys





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With his movie career fading in 1955, Bob Hope was amenable to writer/director Mel Shavelson's suggestion that Hope try something different. The Seven Little Foys was the first of Hope's two "straight" biopics (the second was 1956's Beau James). Though not completely abandoning his patented persona, Hope does an admirable job of impersonating legendary Broadway song-and-dance man Eddie Foy, right down to the soft-shoe shuffle and affected lisp. A successful "single" in vaudeville, Foy meets and marries lovely Italian songstress Madeleine Morando (Milly Vitale). The union results in seven children, moving the Foys' priest to comment "we're running out of Holy water" after the seventh baptism. Hardly an ideal family man, Foy leaves Madeleine and her sister Clara (Angela Clarke) behind in their Connecticut home to raise the kids, while he rises to spectacular career height. Returning home after attending a testimonial for George M. Cohan (James Cagney, who played this unbilled cameo on the proviso that Hope turn over Cagney's salary to charity), Foy discovers that his wife has died of pneumonia. Months pass: Foy sulks in his rambling house, while his seven kids run roughshod. Foy's manager (George Tobias) suggests that the entire family be assembled into a vaudeville troupe called The Seven Little Foys. Though the kids are profoundly bereft of talent, the act gets by on its charm, and before long Foy is a bigger success than ever. But when Foy and the kids are booked into the Palace on Christmas Day, Aunt Clara decides that the kids are being cruelly exploited, and arranges for the authorities to arrest the act on charges of violating a state law barring children from singing and dancing. The authorities decide to drop the charges when the kids rally around their father, declaring their genuine love for him--but the deciding factor is a quick demonstration that the kids can't sing or dance to save their lives! The Seven Little Foys is a standard Hollywood whitewash job, emphasizing Eddie Foy's virtues (including his on-stage heroism during the infamous Iroquois Theatre fire of 1903) and soft-pedaling or ignoring his faults (e.g. his capacity for alcohol). Wisely, the scenes between Bob Hope and the seven children playing the Little Foys (including Father Knows Best's Billy Gray, The Real McCoys' Lydia Reed and Leave It to Beaver's Jerry Mathers) are refreshingly free of cloying sentiment. Also, Hope is a good enough natural actor to convince us that he deeply cares for his children without gooey effusions of emotion. The film's hands-down highlight is the "challenge dance" between Foy (Bob Hope) and Cohan (James Cagney)--a lasting testament of the superb terpsichorean talents of both men. The Seven Little Foys was narrated by Eddie's son Charley Foy, a fine comedian in his own right.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Musical & Performing Arts, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Melville Shavelson, Jack Rose
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 21, 2000
Paramount Pictures


Bob Hope
as Eddie Foy
Milly Vitale
as Madeleine Morando Fo...
George Tobias
as Barney Green
Richard Shannon
as Stage Manager
Billy Gray
as Brynie
Lee Erickson
as Charley
Paul De Rolf
as Richard Foy
Lydia Reed
as Mary Foy
Linda Bennett
as Madeleine Foy
Jimmie Baird
as Eddie Foy, Jr.
James Cagney
as George M. Cohan
Lester Matthews
as Father O'Casey
Joe Evans
as Elephant act
George Boyce
as Elephant act
Oliver Blake
as Santa Claus
Milton Frome
as Driscoll
King Donovan
as Harrison
Jimmy Conlin
as Stage doorman
Marian Carr
as Soubrette
Renata Vanni
as Italian Ballerina Mi...
Betty Uitti
as Dance Specialty Doub...
Jack Pepper
as Theater Manager
Billy Nelson
as Customs inspector
Joe Flynn
as 2nd Priest
Jerry Mathers
as Brynie at Age 5
Harry V. Cheshire
as Stage Doorman at Iro...
Lewis Martin
as Presbyterian Ministe...
Eddie Foy Jr.
as Narrator
Joe Flynn
as 2nd Priest
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Seven Little Foys

Critic Reviews for The Seven Little Foys

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Good Hope vehicle and a pretty good whitewashed biopic.

August 11, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

August 3, 2005

August 22, 2003
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

Audience Reviews for The Seven Little Foys

One of Hope's more serious pieces.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

I've seen this several times, just the kind of Heartwarming Old Movie one needs to fight off the Blues, pure entertainment that warms the heart

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