Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Spencer's Mountain" Reaches a New Peak

Cleveland Press June 27, 1963

First we had the adult western.

Now we have the adult family movie.

Warner Brothers turned the trick in a film called "Spencer's Mountain," now showing at the Allen.

This is a grab bag full of sure fire entertainment situations -- laughs, sentiment, tears, puppy love and the great outdoors.

Henry Fonda heads the cast as Clay Spencer, a hard working, hard swearing, hard drinking father of nine. Maureen O'Hara is his wife and James MacArthur their oldest son.

Have Typical Problems

There's also granddad and grandma and Clay's eight brothers and they all live on Spencer's mountain.

The typical problems of this typical family during a typical summer concern finding the means of getting MacArthur into college, the boy's own romantic problems with a pretty neighbor girl (Mimsy Farmer), building a dream house on top of the mountain, getting father to church, assorted accidents and even death.

Wally Cox Is Funny

Miss Farmer is a cute blond who goes about with her lips parted and a meaningful look in her eyes. Her favorite subject at school, she announces, is marriage and the family, and she just can't wait to discuss it and perhaps even more.

"You've grown," says the lad awkwardly.

"Yes, 34-24-34," she answers figuratively.

In a similar vein, there's much suggested but little that happens.

Wally Cox is cast as the new minister and in one of the funniest scenes in the picture fishes and tipples with Fonda and shows up before his new congregation thoroughly soused.

Fonda Sets Fast Pace

Fonda drawls and cusses all over the place, but keeps matters moving with a performance that is more than just that of the typical movie hick.

The young Spencers are portrayed by a talented bunch of attractive youngsters who utter too cute remarks -- the sort that cause parents to die of embarrassment when said in front of company.