Tortilla Flat (film)

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Tortilla Flat
Poster - Tortilla Flat 01.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Victor Fleming
Produced by Sam Zimbalist
Screenplay by John Lee Mahin
Benjamin Glazer
Based on Tortilla Flat
by John Steinbeck
Starring Spencer Tracy
Hedy Lamarr
John Garfield
Frank Morgan
Akim Tamiroff
Music by Frank Loesser
Franz Waxman
Cinematography Karl W. Freund
Edited by James E. Newcom
Robert Kern
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • May 21, 1942 (1942-05-21) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,201,000[1]
Box office $2,611,000[1]

Tortilla Flat is a 1942 American romantic comedy film directed by Victor Fleming and starring Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, John Garfield, Frank Morgan, Akim Tamiroff, and Sheldon Leonard based on the novel of the same name by John Steinbeck.[2] Frank Morgan received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his poignant portrayal of The Pirate.


Danny (John Garfield) inherits two houses in the central coastal area of California, so Pilon (Spencer Tracy) and his poor, idle friends move in. One of them, the Pirate, (Frank Morgan) is saving money which Pilon endeavors to steal, until he discovers that it is being collected to purchase a golden candlestick which he intends to burn for St. Francis to honor the Pirate's dead dog. One of the houses burns down, so Danny allows his friends to move into the other house with him, and in gratitude Pilon tries to make life better for his friend. Things are fine at first until Danny's passion for a lovely girl (Hedy Lamarr) causes him to actually go to work in a fishing business. A misunderstanding caused by Pilon about a vacuum cleaner Danny had bought for the girl, enrages Danny; he becomes drunk and a bit crazy. He almost dies in an accident while interrupting the girl at her work in a cannery, but through Pilon's prayers, is restored to health. He then marries his sweetheart with the promise that he will become a fisherman now that Pilon has found the money to buy a boat. The happy ending is quite different from the novel's ending in which Danny dies after a fall.



According to MGM records the film earned $1,865,000 at the US and Canadian box office and $746,000 elsewhere, making the studio a profit of $542,000.[1][3]

Critical response[edit]

Film critic Bosley Crowther gave the film a positive review, writing that the film "is really a little idyll which turns its back on a workaday is filled with solid humor and compassion—and that is pleasant, even for folks who have to work."[4]




  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Tortilla Flat on IMDb
  3. ^ "101 Pix Gross in Millions" Variety 6 Jan 1943 p 58
  4. ^ Crowther, Bosley (May 22, 1942), "Review: Tortilla Flat", The New York Times, retrieved June 22, 2013.

External links[edit]