The Boys from Syracuse (film)

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The Boys from Syracuse
Boys syracuse.jpg
Film poster
Directed by A. Edward Sutherland
Produced by Jules Levey
Written by William Shakespeare (play)
Paul Girard Smith (screenplay)
Charles Grayson
Starring Allan Jones
Cinematography Joseph A. Valentine
Edited by Milton Carruth
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • July 18, 1940 (1940-07-18)
(Syracuse, New York)[1]
Running time
73 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Boys from Syracuse is a 1940 American musical film directed by A. Edward Sutherland, based on a stage musical by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, which in turn was based on the play The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare. It was nominated for two Academy Awards; one for Best Visual Effects (John P. Fulton, Bernard B. Brown, Joe Lapis) and one for Best Art Direction (Jack Otterson).[2][3]



The film received mixed reviews from critics. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called the film "a light-weight story of mistaken identities which brushes quickly over the more intriguing implications of bedroom farce and relies in the main for its humors upon familiar low-comedy mugging and anachronistic gags. Some of them are funny—the first two or three times, anyhow ... But a lot of modern slapstick and confusion only goes so far in ancient dress—and, in this case, it isn't far enough."[4] Variety wrote, "Sophisticated audiences will find the gags too unsubtle and the action too obvious, but the greater part of the film audience will relish the out-and-out screwiness of the whole idea."[5] Harrison's Reports wrote that the film "should, for the most part, prove satisfying to the masses, for it has plentiful gags, a few good songs, and romance."[6] Film Daily called it "packed with laughs" and "definitely timely as escapist entertainment."[7] In a review for The New Yorker, Sally Benson reported that the film had revived the stage musical "not very successfully." However, she wrote, "if you can stand seeing double, and don't mind hearing American slang in ancient Greece, and can even smile feebly over chariots equipped with taximeters, you may be able to totter out of your nearest air-cooled theater with a sultry sort of satisfaction."[8]


  1. ^ Hanson, Patricia King, ed. (1993). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films, 1931-1940. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 2476. ISBN 0-520-07908-6. 
  2. ^ "The 13th Academy Awards (1941) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved August 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ "NY Times: The Boys from Syracuse". NY Times. Retrieved December 12, 2008. 
  4. ^ Crowther, Bosley (August 1, 1940). "Movie Review - The Boys from Syracuse". The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Boys from Syracuse". Variety. New York: Variety, Inc. July 17, 1940. p. 16. 
  6. ^ "'The Boys from Syracuse' with Allan Jones, Martha Raye and Joe Penner". Harrison's Reports: 114. July 20, 1940. 
  7. ^ "Reviews of New Films". Film Daily. New York: Wid's Films and Film Folk, Inc.: 7 July 15, 1940. 
  8. ^ Benson, Sally (August 10, 1940). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker. New York: F-R Publishing Corp. p. 45. 

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