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|Directed by||Sidney Sheldon|
|Produced by||Dore Schary|
Herbert Baker (screenplay)|
Alfred Lewis Levitt
Betta St. John
|Music by||Conrad Salinger|
|Cinematography||Milton R. Krasner|
|Edited by||George White|
It was directed by Sidney Sheldon and produced by Dore Schary, from a screenplay by Herbert Baker, Alfred Lewis Levitt and Sidney Sheldon. The music score was by Conrad Salinger, the cinematography by Milton R. Krasner and the art direction by Daniel B. Cathcart and Cedric Gibbons. The costume design by Herschel McCoy and Helen Rose received an Oscar nomination. The film's secondary stars included Walter Pidgeon and Betta St. John, with supporting performances by Eduard Franz, Buddy Baer, Richard Anderson, Dan Tobin, Dean Miller, and Movita.
The character of "Princess Tarji" was slightly resurrected in one of Sheldon's I Dream of Jeannie TV episodes, "This Is Murder" (4/9/66), portrayed by Gila Golan. Shortly after the release of this film, Cary Grant went into a self-imposed retirement from acting, subsequently turning down many film offers including Sabrina, in which he would have co-starred with Audrey Hepburn and A Star Is Born with Judy Garland. In 1955, director Alfred Hitchcock persuaded Grant to return to films with his classic thriller To Catch a Thief.
Businessman Clemson Reade (Cary Grant) breaks his engagement with workaholic U.S. diplomat girlfriend Effie (Deborah Kerr) for an adoring "old-fashioned" girl from the fictional country of Bukistan, Princess Tarji (Betta St. John). Reade wants a wife who can "just find having babies and taking care of a man" pleasurable.
While Reade tries to get closer to his bride-to-be, Effie, who has been assigned by the State Department to see that the marriage does not disturb a major oil deal with Bukistan, ends up educating the Princess about such Western ideas of the role of a wife and women's emancipation, while, simultaneously moderating some of her own ideas about making the happiness of her "man" (i.e. Grant) a primary concern. Grant's courtship of the Princess, which he attempts to conduct by "American" customs, must be adjusted to Bukistanian tradition, to protect the proposed oil deal.
Effie explains to him that the marriage, called "hufi", is followed by a prolonged period of celebration called "bruchah".[clarification needed] These terms are borrowed for comedic effect from the Jewish terms "huppah"—the canopy beneath which the marriage ceremony takes place (thus the ceremony itself is sometimes called "hupah") and "Sheva 'bruchis' or 'sheva brachot'" - 7 blessings ("bruchah" means "blessing", in the Ashkenazic pronunciation) that are recited as part of both the ceremony and a week-long celebration that follows.[clarification needed]
Effie teaches Tarji the English language, through books about important American feminists. Tarji embraces these lessons, choosing to wear American clothes and going for a walk through the city on her own, attracting the attention of multiple men. Because of the language barrier, they mistake Tarji's friendliness for romantic intent, and several of them arrive at her apartment at the same time. A fight between them and Reade ensues, with Tarji ending up imprisoned. Outraged, her father travels to the United States, with the intent of calling off his daughter's marriage. However, Effie is able to charm Tarji's father into reconsidering, much to Reade's dismay. Tarji speaks with Reade, telling him that since she does not love him, she no longer feels obliged to marry him. Reade, realizing his feelings for Effie, is overjoyed.
Tarji's father summons her and lectures her sternly; despite the earlier agreement she has reached with Reade, where she promised him she would not show up to their wedding, she shows up to her wedding with Reade, who is aghast. He attempts to rebuke her for abandoning her newfound feminist ideals, and ultimately succeeds in provoking her into calling off the marriage. Her father is outraged, but Effie slyly congratulates him, pointing out that he would not let a man like Reade ruin the oil deal he had with the United States, even though he was a scoundrel. Tarji's father agrees to uphold the treaty, despite the wedding not going through; however, he tells Effie that he realizes she must love Reade very much, implying he understood her true motives all along. The wedding is cancelled, and Reade and Effie kiss.
- Cary Grant as Clemson Reade
- Deborah Kerr as Effie
- Walter Pidgeon as Walter McBride
- Betta St. John as Tarji
- Eduard Franz as Khan of Bukistan
- Les Tremayne as Ken Landwell
- Donald Randolph as Ali
- Bruce Bennett as Charlie Elkwood
- Richard Anderson as Henry Malvine
- Dan Tobin as Mr. Brown
- Movita as Rima
- Gloria Holden as Mrs. Jean Landwell
According to MGM records the film earned $1,213,000 in the US and Canada and $672,000 elsewhere meaning it resulted in a loss of $456,000.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles, California: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study