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On Christmas Eve screenwriter Dick Powell is visited by two Los Angeles policemen he knows and gets an unexpected gift in the form of delinquent Debbie Reynolds, leading to a May-December romance that's played out over the holiday season. RKO's Susan Slept Here (1954) has the distinction of being the only film in history narrated by an Academy Award. The Oscar® statuette, won by the screenwriter, fills us in on how a policeman delivers the rambunctious teen-ager to its owner's door because juvenile delinquency is the subject of his latest screenplay. The screenwriter's fiancee, played by Anne Francis, is not amused by the complications that ensue.
Twenty-two-year-old Reynolds and 50-year-old Powell form an unlikely yet engaging couple in the satirical comedy, which takes aim at psychiatry, conspicuous consumption and the Hollywood establishment. The Francis character's new romantic interest allows for an unbilled guest-star appearance, the surprise of which won't be spoiled here. It does seem safe, however, to note that the mother of producer Harriet Parsons, gossip maven Louella Parsons (also uncredited), provides a telephone voice. Susan Slept Here won Oscar® nominations for Best Song, the Jack Lawrence/Richard Myers "Hold My Hand," and for John Aalberg's Sound Recording.
The movie proved to be the swan song as an actor in feature films for Powell, whose career had begun as a baby-faced crooner in such Warner Bros. musicals as 42nd Street (1933) and took a surprising turn when he switched to tough-guy roles beginning with hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet (1945). By the time of Susan Slept Here, Powell had already begun producing and directing feature films. He remained active through the early 1960s in television, where, with his Four Star Productions, he was considered a leader in the development of dramatic anthology series.
Producer: Harriet Parsons
Director: Frank Tashlin
Screenplay: Steve Fisher, Alex Gottlieb, from their play Susan
Art Direction: Carroll Clark, Albert S. D'Agostino
Costume Design: Michael Woulfe
Cinematography: Nicholas Musuraca
Editing: Harry Marker
Original Music: Leigh Harline, Jack Lawrence, Richard Myers
Musical Direction: C. Bakaleinikoff
Choreography: Robert Sidney
Cast: Dick Powell (Mark Christopher), Debbie Reynolds (Susan Landis), Anne Francis (Isabella), Glenda Farrell (Maude Snodgress), Alvy Moore (Virgil), Horace MacMahon (Sgt. Monty Maizel)
C-99m. Close captioning.
by Roger Fristoe