The Birds and the Bees (film)

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For other uses of "the Birds and the Bees", see The Birds and the Bees (disambiguation).
The Birds and the Bees
Birds and Bees.jpg
Directed by Norman Taurog
Produced by Paul Jones
Written by Sidney Sheldon
Starring George Gobel
Mitzi Gaynor
David Niven
Music by Walter Scharf
Cinematography Daniel L. Fapp
Edited by Archie Marshek
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s)
  • March 20, 1956 (1956-03-20)
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.8 million (US)[1]

The Birds and the Bees is a 1956 screwball comedy film with songs, starring George Gobel, Mitzi Gaynor and David Niven. A remake of Preston Sturges' 1941 film The Lady Eve, which was based on a story by Monckton Hoffe, the film was directed by Norman Taurog and written by Sidney Sheldon. The costumes for the film were designed by Edith Head.

Plot[edit]

George "Hotsy" Hamilton (George Gobel), a very eligible but naive vegetarian heir to a meat-packing fortune, returns home to Connecticut by luxury cruise ship, accompanied by Marty Kennedy (Harry Bellaver), his valet, guardian and best friend, after spending three years together on a scientific expedition in the Belgian Congo looking for a rare snake. On board, the woman-shy George attracts a lot of attention from the opposite sex, despite being the consummate milque-toast, but the one he can't avoid is Jean Harris (Mitzi Gaynor), a beautiful con artist travelling with her equally larcenous father, Colonel Patrick Henry "Handsome Harry" Harris (David Niven), and his partner-in-crime Gerald (Reginald Gardiner).

The three con artists are out to fleece George of a small fortune, but even the best laid plans can go astray. First, Jean falls hard for George and shields him from her card sharp father. Then, when Marty discovers the truth about her and her father and tells George about them, he dumps her. Furious at being scorned, she re-enters his life masquerading as the posh "Countess Louise", the cousin of "Jacques Duc de Montaigne" (Hans Conreid), who is actually Frenchie, another con man who's swindling the rich folks of Connecticut. Jean is determined to get back at George, so she sets out to seduce him, again.

George's domineering father (Fred Clark) throws a party in honor of the visiting French royalty, and George is completely taken in by Jean's masquerade. Soon her hapless victim is so confused and bothered he doesn't know which way is up, but, in the end, after all the twists and turns, deceptions and lies, true love wins out.[2][3][4]

Cast[edit]

Songs[edit]

The songs in The Birds and the Bees were written by Harry Warren (music) and Mack David (lyrics):[5][6]

Two other songs were written for the film but not used:

  • "Each Time I Dream" - by Harry Warren (music) and Mack David (lyrics)
  • "The Songs I Sing" - by Walter Scharf (music) and Don Hartman (lyrics)[7]

Production[edit]

At the time The Birds and the Bees went into production, "Lonesome" George Gobel had the highest rated television show on NBC, which had been running since 1954, but he had not yet appeared in a film. This remake of The Lady Eve, the plot of which it follows closely, was designed as a vehicle for Gobel, and had the working titles "The George Gobel Comedy", "The Gobel Story" and "The Lady Eve". Paul Jones was the producer for both this version of the story and the original.[7]

David Niven, third-billed under Gobel and Gaynor for this film, starred in Around the World in Eighty Days later that same year.

The film was in production from mid July to 22 April 1955, and opened with a series of invitational premieres in thirty-two key cities across the United States on 20 March 1956, followed by a New York City premiere on 22 April and a general release in May.[7][8][9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956', Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957
  2. ^ TCM Full synopsis
  3. ^ Brennan, Sandra Plot synopsis (Allmovie)
  4. ^ IMDB Plot
  5. ^ TCM Music
  6. ^ IMDB Soundtracks
  7. ^ a b c TCM Notes
  8. ^ TCM Overview
  9. ^ IMDB Release dates

External links[edit]