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One Touch of Venus (film)

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One Touch of Venus
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam A. Seiter
Screenplay byHarry Kurnitz
Frank Tashlin
Produced byWilliam A. Seiter
Lester Cowan
John Beck (associate)
StarringRobert Walker
Ava Gardner
Dick Haymes
CinematographyFranz Planer
Edited byOtto Ludwig
Music byAnn Ronell
Kurt Weill
Artists Alliance
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • August 1948 (1948-08) (United States)
  • October 28, 1948 (1948-10-28) (New York City)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States

One Touch of Venus is a 1948 American black-and-white romantic musical comedy film directed by William A. Seiter starring Robert Walker, Ava Gardner, Dick Haymes, and Eve Arden. released by Universal-International, and based on the 1943 Broadway musical of the same name, book written by S. J. Perelman and Ogden Nash, with music composed by Kurt Weill (lyrics by Nash). However, the film omits most of Weill's music. The actors did their own singing, except for Ava Gardner (Venus) whose singing was dubbed by Eileen Wilson. The plot is from an original 1885 novella by Thomas Anstey Guthrie.

In 1945, Mary Pickford announced that she would produce a film version of this musical with the Broadway cast, including Mary Martin, filmed in Technicolor, directed by Gregory La Cava, and released by United Artists. However, Martin became pregnant and Pickford sold the rights to Lester Cowan at Universal in August 1947. Ann Ronell, Cowan's wife, wrote the additional music that replaced much of Weill's material.


Wealthy department-store mogul Whitfield Savory II buys a statue of Venus for $200,000. He plans to exhibit it in the store. Eddie Hatch, a window dresser, kisses the statue on a whim. To his shock, Venus comes to life. She leaves the store and Eddie is accused of stealing the work of art. Nobody believes the truth, including secretary Molly Stewart, who is Savory's right-hand woman, and Kerrigan, a detective. Venus turns up at Eddie's apartment, forcing him to hide her from girlfriend Gloria and roommate Joe.

Entranced by a Venus song of love, Joe falls for Eddie's girl Gloria. At the store, meanwhile, Venus has fallen asleep on a sofa and is discovered there by Whitfield, who is instantly smitten. Kerrigan decides it's time for Eddie to be placed under arrest for the statue's theft. Venus, to save Eddie, is willing to seduce Whitfield, but a threat by Molly to leave him brings Whitfield back to his senses. He realizes it's Molly he truly loves. Venus is called home by Jupiter and must return to Mount Olympus, so she returns to her pedestal. Whitfield can now display his work of art to the public. Eddie is the only one left alone, at least until he meets a new salesgirl who is a dead ringer for the goddess of love.


The statue of Venus[edit]

To achieve a realistic-looking living statue, the studio sent Ava Gardner to sculptor Joseph Nicolosi. Gardner posed in a bikini but the drape of the top seemed wrong to the sculptor, so Gardner removed her bikini top and Nicolosi continued with his sculpture. Nicolosi was not aware that the sculpture had to resemble a Venus in Grecian robes, and when he presented the work to the studio he was forced to change it accordingly for the film. However, the studio had 12-inch tall copies of the Nicolosi sculpture made in Bakelite and presented them as promotional items to theater owners and members of the media.[1]

Song list[edit]

  1. "Don't Look Now But My Heart is Showing" – played over opening credits and sung by a chorus
  2. "Speak Low" – sung by Ava Gardner (dubbed by Eileen Wilson) and Dick Haymes
  3. "That's Him" – sung by Ava Gardner (dubbed by Eileen Wilson), Olga San Juan and Eve Arden
  4. "Don't Look Now But My Heart is Showing" (reprise) – sung by Dick Haymes, Olga San Juan, Robert Walker, Ava Gardner (dubbed by Eileen Wilson) and chorus
  5. "Speak Low" (reprise) – sung by Ava Gardner (dubbed by Eileen Wilson)


  1. ^ Alexiadis, Jane (2 March 2012). "What's it Worth? Statue of Ava Gardner as Venus". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 3 March 2012.

External links[edit]