Something for the Birds
|Something for the Birds|
|Directed by||Robert Wise|
|Produced by||Samuel G. Engel|
|Written by||I. A. L. Diamond
|Based on||stories by Alvin Josephy
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
Johnnie Adams, an engraver in Washington, uses some of the invitations his firm makes to crash Washington parties. He gets to be called "Admiral," and is accepted as part of the social group.
Johnnie meets Anne Richards, interested in preventing a gas company from drilling on certain west coast lands, destroying the breeding grounds of some California condors.
She enlists his aid, and he asks Steve Bennett, a lobbyist, for help. Bennett's company is also employed by the gas outfit.
When an investigating committee gets on the job, Johnnie's actual position is exposed, and he comes in for national publicity.
This makes it possible for the bird sanctuary to be saved, and Johnnie gets his job back, with a promotion. Steve, who has had a falling out with Anne, finds himself invited to his own wedding, with Anne.
- Victor Mature as Steve Bennett
- Patricia Neal as Anne Richards
- Edmund Gwenn as Admiral Johnnie Adams
- Larry Keating as Roy Patterson
- Gladys Hurlbut as Della Rice
The film was based on an original story by Joseph Petracca and Alvin Josephy about the romance between an environmentalist and a lobbyist. It was purchased by 20th Century Fox in October 1950 and assigned to producer Sam Engel. Boris Ingster wrote the script. The original stars were Anne Baxter (environmentalist), Paul Douglas (lobbyist) and Victor Moore (admiral). However, Douglas dropped out when his contract with Fox terminated, and he was replaced by Dana Andrews.
The film took some months to go into production. By April 1952, Baxter had dropped out and Jeanne Crain was to star. But Crain had just given birth and could not get medical clearance to make the movie so Patricia Neal was cast instead. The male romantic lead was given to Victor Mature, who was meant to be in Farmer Takes a Wife for Fox but was reassigned. At this stage the title had been changed to Old Sailors Never Die. The other lead role was given to Edmund Gwenn, who played a counterfeiter for Fox in Mister 880.
I.A.L. Diamond was bought in to rewrite the script.
"It's a nice script," said Neal. "I've appeared in comedies before but this is my first real comedy role."
Producer Julius Blaustein liked Mature and Neal so much he bought an original story from Francis Cockerell, The Desert, to reteam them but it was never made.
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- Looking at Hollywood: Vic Mature Cast as Fast Talking Lobbyist HEDDA HOPPER'S STAFF. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 26 Apr 1952: a2.
- NEWS NOTES ON PEOPLE AND PICTURES By A. H. WEILER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 28 Sep 1952: X5
- "Something for the Birds" at AFI
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