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Poster - Phffft 01.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byMark Robson
Written byGeorge Axelrod
Based onPhfft: Chronicle of a Happy Divorce
by George Axelrod[1]
Produced byFred Kohlmar
StarringJudy Holliday
Jack Lemmon
Jack Carson
Kim Novak
CinematographyCharles Lang
Edited byCharles Nelson
Music byFriedrich Hollaender
Color processBlack and white
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release dates
  • November 10, 1954 (1954-11-10) (New York City)
  • December 3, 1954 (1954-12-03) (United States)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,550,000 (US)[2]

Phffft is a 1954 American comedy romance film starring Judy Holliday, Jack Lemmon, and Jack Carson and featuring Kim Novak in a supporting role. The picture was written by George Axelrod and directed by Mark Robson. It was the second film starring Holliday and Lemmon that year, after It Should Happen to You.


Nina and Robert Tracey (Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon), married for eight years, suffer marital problems and divorce. Robert shares the home of his womanizing Navy buddy Charlie Nelson (Jack Carson) while Nina looks to her interfering mother for guidance.

Robert spends an evening with Janis (Kim Novak), who finds the dashing Robert "real cute", but he feels uncomfortable with Janis and other girls he dates. Nina also tries to date other men. Although they try to ignore each other when they accidentally meet, it is obvious that the past is not dead.[3]

Then one night, they find themselves in a nightclub, dancing the mambo together; they had both learned to dance since their divorce. Later, after a disastrous meeting at her home with Charlie, Nina tells her mother on the phone that she is still in love with Robert.

He accidentally overhears the conversation, having dashed to her home because of his friend's reputation. Nina and Robert reconcile and remarry.



The script was an original by George Axelrod. Columbia bought it from him for $80,000.[4]

  • During filming, Jack Lemmon left the set as his first wife, actress/model Cynthia Stone gave birth to their son, Chris Lemmon.
  • This was the second film in which Jack Lemmon appeared with Judy Holliday. Lemmon's debut feature film It Should Happen to You also starred Holliday.
  • The title "Phffft" comes from Walter Winchell's column, which was widely syndicated during the 1950s. When a celebrity couple's marriage broke up, Winchell would describe the break-up as "phffft".
  • Columbia Pictures approached George Axelrod to produce a film version of his popular play, The Seven Year Itch, but the film rights were tied up as long as it was running on Broadway. He instead offered them Phffft! - an earlier play of his dealing with a similar subject.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Judy Holliday was nominated for "Best Foreign Actress" at the BAFTA Awards in 1955.
  • The film was also nominated for "Best Written American Comedy" at the Writer's Guild of America.


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956
  3. ^ Phffft (1954) - IMDb, retrieved 2022-01-29
  4. ^ BY WAY OF REPORT: Independent Group to Make CinemaScope Pictures in England -- Other Matters By A. H. WEILER. New York Times 13 Dec 1953: X9.

External links[edit]