A Gift from Heaven (1951)

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German title A godsend
Original title Father's Little Dividend
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1951
length 82 minutes
Director Vincente Minnelli
script Albert Hackett
Frances Goodrich
production Pandro S. Berman (producer) for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
music Albert Sendrey
camera John Alton
cut Ferris Webster

A Gift from Heaven (Original Title: Father's Little Dividend ) is an American comedy film directed by Vincente Minnelli for MGM in 1951 . The film is a sequel to the hit film Father of the Bride .


The place of the action is a city in the USA, the time the present. Kay Banks married Buckley Dunstan (see Father of the Bride ) and is expecting their first baby. While Ellie is in her element because she is allowed to organize the pregnancy and birth of her daughter, Kay's father, Stanley, starts to ponder. He has hardly come to terms with his daughter's choice of love, and the fact that he is about to become a grandfather unexpectedly forces him to come to terms with his own aging.

Ellie takes care of setting up the nursery, the baby shower and finding a name for the child. As a man, Stanley is excluded from all of this. He only finds his own way to grandfatherhood when he realizes how badly Kay needs him. She is increasingly suffering from the incapacitation of her mother and her in-laws, who interfere in everything that has to do with the baby and do not allow her to make independent decisions, while Stanley soon shows solidarity with his daughter and her with his quiet manner Backing that she needs at this moment. His loyalty is put to the test when Kay is enthusiastic about the unconventional ideas of a “modern” gynecologist, which Stanley is actually shocked about. Because Kay depends on his support, he comes to terms with it anyway. He is needed again when Kay runs away from her husband because she believes he is cheating on her. Stanley succeeds in clearing up the underlying misunderstanding and reconciling the couple. He also has to comfort Kay as the birth approaches and her fear of this event increases.

The child is eventually born. Stanley does not succeed in making friends with his grandson straight away, because the child on his arm always begins to scream. The ice between grandfather and grandson is only broken when the child Stanley is lost during a walk, is taken to the station by the police and Stanley has to beg the police officer to surrender the child without the women finding out about the incident.

The film ends with Kay and Buckley's announcement that their child will be named "Stanley" in honor of their grandfather.


The plot of the film is told entirely from Stanley's perspective. For this purpose he speaks directly to the audience.

In some scenes the film, which otherwise follows the patterns of a comedy, approaches the vacillating , for example in the scene in which Stanley sleeps in his daughter's girl's bed because his wife has moved him out of the bedroom. With the lavish ruffles that adorn this bed and that contrast bizarrely with Tracy's furrowed face, he is fighting like a dragon in this scene.

Production and reception

Production history

The production staff and main characters for A Gift from Heaven were largely the same as for Father of the Bride . Only the composer was exchanged.

After the bride's father was a godsend , the second film in which Spencer Tracy in the role of compassionate and loyal father of a full-fledged daughter was visible. In Theaterfieber (1953) and Rat mal, Wer zum Essen (1967), he developed this character type further. The role of a man who was repeatedly underestimated by his female environment and condemned to be mute was tailor-made for Tracy and gave him ample opportunity to show what he was best at as an actor: complex feelings without words, only with the means of his face to express.

Theatrical release

The film premiered in the United States on April 27, 1951. While Father of the Bride had grossed more than $ 4 million at the box office, A Gift from Heaven was still $ 3.1 million.

In the United States, the film is now in the public domain .


"Slightly playful comedy close to the vacillating, brilliantly played and staged."

“Continuation of 'Father of the Bride', which does not keep the level of the previous one. The bride's father at that time can now be seen in the difficult role of the grandfather. "


The film's director, Vincente Minnelli, was nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award in 1951 . In the end, however, the prize was awarded to Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Gaston Glass for everything about Eva . The script won the 1952 Writers Guild of America Comedy Award .



  • Donald Deschner: The Complete Films of Spencer Tracy. Citadel, Secaucus NJ 2000, ISBN 0-8065-1038-2 .
  • Romano Tozzi: Spencer Tracy. Pyramid illustrated History of the Movies (= Pyramid Books 3248). Pyramid Publications, New York NY 1973, ISBN 0-515-03246-8 (German edition: Spencer Tracy. His films - his life (= Heyne books 32, 9). Heyne, Munich 1990, ISBN 3-453-86009- 8 ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. A gift from heaven. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed May 24, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. Critique No. 293/1951