The Catered Affair

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The Catered Affair
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Brooks
Produced by Sam Zimbalist
Written by Gore Vidal
Based on TV play by Paddy Chayefsky
Starring Bette Davis
Ernest Borgnine
Debbie Reynolds
Barry Fitzgerald
Rod Taylor
Music by André Previn
Cinematography John Alton
Edited by Gene Ruggiero
Frank Santillo
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • June 14, 1956 (1956-06-14)
Running time 92 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,008,000[1]
Box office $1,467,000[1]

The Catered Affair (1956), also known as Wedding Party, is a family drama film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed by Richard Brooks and produced by Sam Zimbalist from a screenplay by Gore Vidal, based on a television play by Paddy Chayefsky. The film score was by André Previn and the cinematography by John Alton.

The film stars Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald and Rod Taylor. It was Taylor's first film for MGM after having been signed by the studio to a long-term contract.[2]


Agnes Hurley (Davis) is a frowsy and disillusioned housewife, married to Bronx cabdriver, Tom Hurley (Borgnine). She wants something better for her daughter, Jane (Reynolds). When Jane announces her engagement to Ralph Halloran (Taylor), Aggie sees this as an opportunity to have an elaborate wedding, with caterers and all the trimmings, despite the fact that the family cannot afford it and the daughter does not want it. The film deals with the ensuing conflicts within the family, which also involve Uncle Jack Conlon (Fitzgerald) and most of the neighborhood. It is not until the end of the film that the vain mother realizes what a fool she has been in forcing her own fantasy onto her family.

Television play[edit]

The television play A Catered Affair, written by Paddy Chayefsky, was first shown on television as part of the Philco Television Playhouse. It was broadcast on May 22, 1955. The cast included Pat Henning, Thelma Ritter, and J. Pat O'Malley. [3]


According to MGM records the film earned $947,000 in the US and Canada and $520,000 in other countries, resulting in a loss of $106,000.[1]

Stage musical[edit]

The play has been adapted to a stage musical called A Catered Affair, with book by Harvey Fierstein and lyrics and music by John Bucchino. It premiered at the Old Globe Theatre and played on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The cast included Faith Prince, Tom Wopat, Leslie Kritzer and Fierstein.


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood, Bear Manor Media, 2010 p 53
  3. ^ Internet Movie database

External links[edit]