Cinderella Liberty

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Cinderella Liberty
Cinderella liberty movie poster.jpg
Promotional movie poster for the film
Directed by Mark Rydell
Produced by Mark Rydell
Written by Darryl Ponicsan
Based on Cinderella Liberty
1973 novel 
by Darryl Ponicsan
Starring James Caan
Marsha Mason
Eli Wallach
Burt Young
Dabney Coleman
Allan Arbus
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Vilmos Zsigmond
Edited by Patrick Kennedy
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • December 18, 1973 (1973-12-18) (U.S.)
  • April 7, 1974 (1974-04-07) (Sweden)
  • September 30, 1974 (1974-09-30) (Germany)
  • September 27, 1974 (1974-09-27) (Belgium)
  • November 8, 1974 (1974-11-08) (Finland)
Running time
117 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,465,000[1]
Box office $3.7 million (rentals)[2]

Cinderella Liberty is a 1973 DeLuxe film drama which tells the story of a sailor who falls in love with a prostitute and becomes a surrogate father for her 11-year-old mixed race son. It stars James Caan, Marsha Mason and Kirk Calloway. It was directed by Mark Rydell.

The cast also includes Eli Wallach, Burt Young, Allyn Ann McLerie, Dabney Coleman, Jon Korkes and Allan Arbus.

The title is derived from the plot point that the sailor's personnel file has been misplaced by the Navy, and thus he can't be assigned any duties. He is therefore allowed to go on leave each day from his naval base but must return by midnight.

The movie was adapted by Daryl Ponicsan from his novel. Ponicsan previously authored another Navy-themed book that became a successful film, The Last Detail.

It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Marsha Mason), Best Music, Original Dramatic Score and Best Music, Song (John Williams and Paul Williams for "Nice to Be Around").

The movie was filmed in Seattle, Washington.


Peacetime sailor John J. Baggs (James Caan) is unable to get paid or receive new orders because somehow the U.S. Navy has lost his file. He is able to come and go from the base until curfew.

One night in a bar, he spots an attractive woman hustling guys at a pool table. He challenges her himself and develops an interest in the woman, Maggie (Marsha Mason), who turns out to be a prostitute living in a tenement with a young black son, Doug (Kirk Calloway).

Baggs begins spending time with Maggie at the apartment, where Doug is often left to fend for himself. His attempts at creating a normal life for her succeed for a while, but Maggie cannot change the way she is. Doug, suspicious and cynical at first, bonds with Baggs, who devotes his free time to the kid and even gets his teeth fixed. But both know that soon Baggs will be reassigned and gone for good.

The Navy's mix-up continues to baffle Baggs until one day a veteran sailor named Forshay (Eli Wallach)not only finds the file, but volunteers to change places with Baggs and ship out under a false name. Baggs and Doug may not have Maggie around any more, but they've got each other.



Caan says the film is one of his favorites. This film received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture.[3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p257
  2. ^ Solomon p 232. Please note figures are rentals, not total gross.
  3. ^ James Caan's career hitting tough times Siskel, Gene. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill] 27 Nov 1977: e6.
  4. ^ "Cinderella Liberty (Intrada Special Collection)". Intrada Records. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 

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