Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

2h 5m / PG-13 / Comedy

It’s a tale as old as time: Daniel, an out-of-work voice actor (Robin Williams) – with boundless love for his family but a flighty disposition – Infuriates his interior designer wife (Sally Field) with his nonstop antics. She files for divorce, which leaves Daniel no choice but to rope his makeup artist brother Frank (Harvey Fierstein) and Frank’s partner to design him a fully-featured and entirely undetectable full-body prosthetic woman suit, so the doting father can pretend to be an elderly Scottish au pair and maintain some kind of relationship with his children. Draw a triangle with the vertices labeled The Parent Trap, Mary Poppins and Some Like It Hot, and Mrs. Doubtfire will appear at the geometrical center.

Late, lamented treasure Robin Williams used to tell stories about walking through the streets of San Francisco in full costume. Imagine for a second sitting on a park bench in Nob Hill in 1992, eating an ice cream cone and popping Automatic for the People in your Walkman, when here comes one of the world’s greatest comedians bobbling down the sidewalk and chirping “good morning, dearie” in your direction. San Francisco used to be different, is the point. Director Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Adventures in Babysitting) shot the movie with multiple cameras for every shot like a documentary, just so they could capture the rest of the cast’s genuine reactions to Williams’ improv. The result is one of the most memorable performances in a prolific movie career. It’s a rollicking, warmhearted comedy gem that has only improved in the 30 years since it was released.

The Summer Classics Movie Series has been presented by Bank of America since 2015. Promotional support for the series is provided by WEDU-PBS.