Good Neighbor Sam

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Good Neighbor Sam
Good Neighbor Sam 1964 poster.jpg
1964 Theatrical Poster
Directed by David Swift
Produced by David Swift
Written by Everett Greenbaum
James Fritzell
Jack Finney (novel)
Starring Jack Lemmon
Romy Schneider
Dorothy Provine
Mike Connors
Edward G. Robinson
Music by Frank De Vol
Cinematography Burnett Guffey
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) July 22, 1964
Running time 130 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $9,072,726[1]
VHS Home Video Cover

Good Neighbor Sam is a 1964 American comedy film co-written and directed by David Swift and starring Jack Lemmon, Dorothy Provine and Romy Schneider.

It was based on the novel by Jack Finney. The screenplay was the motion picture debut of James Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum, who had written many American television situation comedies[citation needed] including Mr. Peepers (created by David Swift). Greenbaum also created the mobile sculpture featured in the film.[2]


Lemmon plays Sam Bissell, a hard-working advertising executive, with two young daughters and a loving wife, Min (Dorothy Provine).

An extremely important client, Simon Nurdlinger (Edward G. Robinson), is considering taking his business elsewhere when he believes there are no "family men" working at Sam's company. Sam's boss, Mr. Burke (Edward Andrews), introduces the client to Sam. The client is delighted by Sam and agrees to do business with him and the company. Sam feels his career is now on the way up and he goes home to celebrate with his wife. There, he meets his wife's longtime friend and their new next-door neighbor, Janet (Romy Schneider), and they all have dinner together to celebrate his promotion and Janet's new home.

Janet, a beautiful woman, is recently divorced from her husband Howard (Mike Connors) and is happier than ever. She has also come into a large inheritance from her grandfather, which carries the stipulation that she must still be married to Howard in order to receive the inheritance. State law dictates that a divorce is not final until a year from final settlement. Since only six months have passed, Janet decides to hide the divorce from her cousins Irene (Anne Seymour) and Jack (Charles Lane) who stand to inherit if Janet is disqualified.

With Howard unavailable, Sam is pressed to impersonate him when Irene and Jack arrive for a visit. Having never met Howard, Irene and Jack seem convinced but begin watching the couple, forcing Janet and Sam (with Min's complicity) to continue the charade for several days. When caught pretending by Mr. Burke and Mr. Nurdlinger, Sam and Janet are then forced into a double charade in which Janet pretends to be Min. The situation begins to unravel when Irene and Jack hire a private investigator to keep watch on Sam and Janet, and Howard re-enters the picture.



The film, set in San Francisco, makes use of 'obligatory' exterior shots, including a long montage of scenes of Sam driving his car all over the City, stereotypically up & down hills and the curvy block of Lombard Street, as so many directors love to portray. The remainder of the film was shot in the Los Angeles area, both on location and at the studio.


The film grossed $9,072,726 at the box office,[1] earning $5.3 million in rentals.[3]


  1. ^ a b Box Office Information for Good Neighbor Sam. The Numbers. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1964", Variety, 6 January 1965 p 39.

External links[edit]