The Marriage-Go-Round

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The Marriage-Go-Round
Written by Leslie Stevens
Characters Paul Delville
Content Lowell (Mrs. Paul Delville)
Katrin Sveg
Ross Barnett[1]
Date premiered October 29, 1958 (1958-10-29)
Place premiered Plymouth Theatre
Original language English
Genre Sex comedy
Setting Traditional college town up the river from New York City, present-day[1]

The Marriage-Go-Round is a 1958 play written by Leslie Stevens. The 1961 film adaptation of the same name, written and produced by Stevens, stars Susan Hayward, James Mason and Julie Newmar.

The play was inspired by a suggestion that dancer Isadora Duncan supposedly made to playwright George Bernard Shaw: The two of them should have a child because "with your mind and my body, think what a person it would be!"[2] The play, a sex comedy, was a Broadway theatre success with a run of over 700 performances; the film, a box-office failure.[3]


The play's original production on Broadway starred Charles Boyer as Dr. Paul Delville, a professor of cultural anthropology at a New York college, Claudette Colbert as Dr. Content Lowell, the Dean of Women at the college and Delville's wife, Julie Newmar as Katrin Sveg, and Edmon Ryan as Ross Barnett.[4]


Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times called the Broadway production at the Plymouth Theatre "droll and buoyant" and its direction by Joseph Anthony "immaculate."[5]

At the 13th Tony Awards, Newmar won for her performance as Featured Dramatic Actress and Colbert received a Tony nomination for her performance as a Dramatic Actress.[6] Colbert lost to Gertrude Berg, who won for her performance in A Majority of One.

The play was in part a success due to charity theater parties, such as one sponsored by Maternity Center Association, which bought all seats for one night's performance in November 1958, paying $5,700 and netting $16,000 after selling tickets to its members that were priced between $10 and $30.[7]

Film adaptation[edit]

The Marriage-Go-Round
Directed by Walter Lang
Produced by Leslie Stevens
Written by Leslie Stevens
Starring Susan Hayward
James Mason
Julie Newmar
Music by Dominic Frontiere
Cinematography Leo Tover
Edited by Jack W. Holmes
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox
Release dates
  • January 6, 1961 (1961-01-06)
Running time
98 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.3 million (US/ Canada)[8]

The Marriage-Go-Round (1961) is a sex comedy film produced by Leslie Stevens for Twentieth Century-Fox and Daystar Productions, based on his play of the same name. It was adapted by Stevens, directed by Walter Lang, and stars Susan Hayward, Julie Newmar (who reprised her Broadway role), and James Mason.


  • Susan Hayward ... Content Delville
  • James Mason ... Paul Delville
  • Julie Newmar ... Katrin Sveg
  • Robert Paige ... Dr. Ross Barnett
  • June Clayworth ... Flo Granger
  • Joe Kirkwood Jr. ... Henry Granger
  • Mary Patton ... Mamie
  • Trax Colton ... Crew Cut/Party Guest


At a Florida college, professor Paul Delville and wife Content, who is the school's dean of women, anticipate a visit from Sweden. The people they expect are a former colleague, Professor Sveg, and his daughter Katrin.

Katrin arrives alone. The Delvilles are astounded that Katrin, whom they remember as a gangly teenage, has grown into a statuesque blonde bombshell. Their astonishment is just beginning, because Katrin brashly announces that she wants Paul to sire a baby with her, assuring offspring with both brains and beauty.

Paul is flustered by Katrin's unwillingness to take "no" for an answer. She gives him a nude statue of herself, suns herself at his house in nothing but a skimpy towel, then shows up at a practice of the men's swim team in a provocative bathing suit.

Katrin's come-ons become a greater temptation, causing Content to seek the advice of a friend on campus, Ross Barnett, a married professor. Ross dares her to "call his bluff," which is his way of trying to seduce Content herself. She returns home and finds her husband and Katrin in a passionate kiss, but when he swears his allegiance and that nothing has happened, Content believes him. Katrin finally gives up and decides to go try someone else.


Sol Siegel of MGM had originally bought the film rights for $400,000.[9]


Bosley Crowther called it a "giddily light and witty film" and a "mentally strip-teasing escapade"; he called Newmar a "specimen of modernity the likes of which we have never expected to see" who "looks like a twenty-first-century vision, standing a good 6 feet tall and being as beautifully proportioned and persuasive in personality as in physique."[2] Crowther also complimented producer Stevens and director Lang for "settings about as crisp and colorful as one could wish and the whole movement of the running dalliance tasteful and absorbing in the limited space."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Marriage-Go-Round at the Internet Broadway Database
  2. ^ a b The Marriage-Go-Round, a January 7, 1961 New York Times review of the film adaptation
  3. ^ "Marriage Go-Round" looks at love and fidelity from the website of the Redding Record Searchlight
  4. ^ The Marriage-Go-Round at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. ^ Joseph Anthony, 80, a Director And Stage and Film Actor, Dies, a January 22, 1993 obituary from The New York Times
  6. ^ The Marriage-Go-Round Awards from the Internet Broadway Database
  7. ^ Theater Parties, a December 1, 1958 article from Time magazine
  8. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p228. Please note figures are rentals accruing to distributors.
  9. ^ Delinquents Seen as Small Minority: Paul Gregory Will Treat 'Em Sympathetically in Picture Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 12 Aug 1959: C9.

External links[edit]