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    • CommentAuthorJRadley
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2009
    Re: Lillian Moller Gilbreth

    Cheaper By the Dozen was written by two of her children and is autobiographical (though, I think, fictionalised). The 1950 film with Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy is a faithful adaptation.

    The recent Steve Martin remake is - how shall I put this? - an abortion...
  1.  (3652.22)
    @JRadley: Yes. I specifically DIDN'T mention Cheaper by the Dozen just because that seems to be all most people now remember the Gilbreths for. The two kids (Frank Gilbreth Jr and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey) also wrote a sequel, Belles on Their Toes, which picks up the family's life immediately after their father's death and focuses much more on Lillian, and was also made into a film with Loy reprising her role. Again, a fairly faithful adaptation but more Disneyfied than I liked (focuses more on the kids and shoehorns in several pleasant but inconsequential musical numbers by Hoagy Carmichael, playing a sanitized version of the family's roughneck Irish cook and handyman.)

    The books are mildly fictionalized - Cheaper glosses over the uncomfortable bits, such as one of the "dozen"'s death early in childhood and Lillian's miscarriage of a thirteenth baby - but they're not overly sentimental. There's a more recent full biography of Lillian Gilbreth, Making Time, that I intend to latch onto at the earliest opportunity.