Father Goose

Synopsis: During World War II South Sea beachcomber Walter Eckland is persuaded to spy on planes passing over his island. He gets more than he bargained for as schoolteacher Catherine Frenau arrives on the run from the Japanese with her pupils in tow!
Director(s): Ralph Nelson
Production: Universal
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
118 min

This is the Australian Broadcasting

Commission. And now the news.

Japanese forces continue their

heavy attack on the Philippines

and Dutch East Indies.

Occupation of Manila is now complete

with American and Philippine forces

under the command of General MacArthur

withdrawing to the Bataan Peninsula.

His Majesty's forces are carrying

out an orderly evacuation

of the New Guinea coast, in preparation

for defence of Port Moresby and...

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

s M/ I got me ten fine toes to wiggle in the sand

s M/ Lots of idle fingers snap to my command

s M/ A lovely pair of heels

s M/ that kick to beat the band

s M/ Contemplating nature can be fascinating

s M/ Add to these a nose that I can thumb

s M/ And a mouth, by gum, have I

s M/ To tell the whole damn world

s M/ if you don't happen to like it

s M/ Deal me out, thank you kindly, pass me by

s M/ Pass me by, pass me by

s M/ If you don't happen to like it, pass me by

Hey, hey, hey.

Get off.


Here, just a minute.

Where do you think you're

going with those, hmm?

Do you know who I am?

Um... Not exactly, no.

Well, we'll let it go this time.

Yes, sir. I understand. Salamaua

will be cleared by noon the latest.

Nothing left that the

Japanese will be able to use.

Sir, there's a chap

outside who...

May I respectfully remind the admiral that

I was harbour master here for 20 years?

I helped put the docks together so I should

certainly be able to blow them apart.

Sir, there's a chap outside

who's pinching our petrol.

All coastal watching stations

are assigned, except...

- Matalava, sir.

- Except Matalava, sir.

I haven't been able to find

a replacement for Anderson.

I don't believe there's a civilian

left on the entire north coast.

We could have transferred George Dickens

if he hadn't got himself eaten that way.

You needn't make him sound

such a shirker, Stebbings.

What's that, sir? For want of a nail?

The war was...

Yes, I'm well aware

of that, sir.

Hello, hello, hello.

I think I may have

found our nail, sir.

A rusty one, I grant you, but they don't

come any sharper. Excuse me, sir.

Sir, that's the chap I

was telling you about.

Later, Stebbings.

Who is he, sir? Is he

someone I should know?

His name's Walter

Eckland, an American.

He knows these islands

like the back of his hand.


Oh well, now that America's in the war,

he's probably on his way back to enlist.

Eckland's not on his way

anywhere, Stebbings.

Hasn't been for years.

Hello, Walter.

Frank! That you inside there, Frank?

What have you done to yourself?

- There's a war on, Walter.

- Everybody's saying that.

At the moment, we're losing it.

I guess you must be.

Cheek of the man!

That's quite a boat you have there, Walter.

Doesn't it belong to old Van Der Hoeven?

- No!

- Whose is it, then?

- Mine.

- How did you get it?

- I bought it from old Van Der Hoeven.

- What with?

American dollars.

You've never had more than $200

at one time since I've known you.

You can't tell me Van Der Hoeven

sold you an $18,000 launch for $200.

- No, it cost me $400.

- $400?

You know, that's exactly

the way he said it.

Only, I pointed out to him

he might as well sell

it to me as let the

Japanese have it for free.

What impresses me, Walter, is the

fact that you even had $400.

Well, I didn't.

I only had 200,

just as you said.

I owe him the rest.

Well, come along. Lend a hand.

Come on.

Empty hands

make idle minds.

Here, pick those up.

No, no, no.

Two, come on.

? Contemplating nature can be fascinating ?

Do you know what the coastwatching

service is, Walter?

- I beg your pardon?

- The coast watching service.

It's a chance to become a hero.

Why would I want to do that?

It's a cushy assignment for anyone

who knows these waters intimately.

With never a dull moment, I can tell you!

Working behind the enemy lines...

Stebbings, please.

Walter, listen to me.

There's nothing to it really. Each man is

assigned an island, often uninhabited.

He stays there alone and

radios to headquarters

any movement of Japanese

planes or ships which...

- You're not listening to me, are you?

- Hold it, hold it.

Hey, hey, hey! Come on! Beat it, scram!

Come on! Get off!

Did you hear what I was saying?

- No, what were you saying?

- About the coastwatchers.

Matalava will be in the centre of things

when the Japanese move towards New Guinea.

It's important work, Walter.

Damned important.

I'd like you to volunteer.

Oh, I'd love to, Frank,

but I've only just volunteered for

another important watching service,

the 'Watch Out For

Walter Eckland' service.

A great many lives are

at stake, Mr Eckland.

Now listen to me, both of you.

Several years ago, I made

peace with the world.

If the world isn't bright

enough to make peace

with itself, it'll have to

settle things without me.

It isn't anything

permanent, Walter.

It's just until I find

a replacement for you.

The other man went down with fever

and we had to take him off.

Well, now, Frank. You've

known me a long time.

Do you really think you're

gonna talk me into it?

No, I suppose not.

Stebbings, confiscate all the

small craft on this pier.

- But this is the only one there is, sir.

- Confiscate it.

- Frank, you won't get away with that.

- Proceed with your orders, Stebbings.

- Aye-aye, sir.

- Frank, you can't do this to me!

I'll go over your head.

Rate this script:3.5 / 2 votes

Peter Stone

Peter Hess Stone (February 27, 1930 – April 26, 2003) was an American writer for theater, television and movies. Stone is perhaps best remembered by the general public for the screenplays he wrote or co-wrote in the mid-1960s, Charade (1963), Father Goose (1964), and Mirage (1965). more…

All Peter Stone scripts | Peter Stone Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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