Cheaper by the Dozen (1950 film)

Cheaper by the Dozen (1950 film)
Cheaper by the Dozen
Directed by Walter Lang
Produced by Lamar Trotti
Starring Clifton Webb,
Myrna Loy,
Jeanne Crain,
Betty Lynn
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) April 17, 1950 (USA)
Running time 85 min.

United States

language = English

Cheaper by the Dozen is a 1950 film based upon the 1948 book Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. The film and book describe growing up in a family with twelve children in Montclair, New Jersey. It was made in Technicolor with Leon Shamroy as cinematographer. It was edited by James Watson Webb, Jr.[1]



The parents were time and motion study and efficiency experts Frank Bunker Gilbreth and psychologist Lillian Moller Gilbreth. The title comes from one of Gilbreth's favorite jokes which played out in the movie that when he and his family were out driving and stopped at a red light, a pedestrian would ask "Hey, Mister! How come you got so many kids?" Gilbreth would pretend to ponder the question carefully, and then, just as the light turned green, would say "Well, they come cheaper by the dozen, you know," and drive off. In the book Frank Gilbreth died of a heart attack while talking to his wife on the telephone; in the movie when his wife answers the telephone, there is no reply on the other end of the line, although she is told by the operator she is still connected. In the end, the family agrees that Lillian will continue with her husband's work; this enables the family to remain in their house (the alternative is to move to their grandmother's in California) although, with a single working mother and one income, the children will have to assume much greater responsibilities. The voice-over at the end informs the audience that Lillian Moller Gilbreth would go on to become the world's leading efficiency expert and Time Magazine Woman of the Year in 1948 (in fact, Harry S Truman was Man of the Year in 1948; however, in 1984 Dr. Gilbreth's image was put on a US postal stamp).



Because of the success of Cheaper by the Dozen, Gilbreth and Carey wrote a follow-up to their book, entitled Belles on Their Toes, which was also made into a movie by 20th Century Fox in 1952.

Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)

The version of Cheaper by the Dozen made in 2003 is not a straight remake of this motion picture. The similarity between the 2003 movie and the 1950 book and film is that both stories feature a family of twelve children and the family moves. However, the family in the 2003 release is fictional and bears no resemblance to the Gilbreth family; the parents in the 2003 release are a football coach and a housewife

  • The 2003 version does not have the bittersweet ending of the 1950 release
  • The 2003 version does not include the discussion of family planning and birth control included in the 1950 release
  • The 2003 version is characterized more by slapstick than the realism of the 1950 release


  1. ^ "J. Watson Webb, Former Head Of the Shelburne (Vt.) Museum". New York Times. June 14, 2000. Retrieved 2010-10-09. "J. Watson Webb Jr., the former president and chairman of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, whose family was among the country's pre-eminent art collectors, died on Saturday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 84 and had homes in Los Angeles and Shelburne." 

External links

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