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The Bachelor Party

The Bachelor Party(1957)

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In the closing credits, the actors' and characters' names are superimposed over their photographs, in the reverse order of the opening credits. Writer-producer Paddy Chayefsky adapted the screenplay for The Bachelor Party from his 1953 Goodyear TV Playhouse telefilm of the same name. Director Delbert Mann also directed the television program, which starred Eddie Albert. According to a June 1956 Daily Variety news item, Chayefsky and Mann were trying to retain the entire crew from their previous production, Marty, which won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Film (see below). Although this did not occur, many crew members, including the producer, director, writer, cinematographer Joseph La Shelle and art director Edward S. Haworth, worked on both pictures.
       According to a September 19, 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item, Diana Darrin was considered for a lead role. As noted in studio press materials, interiors were shot at Samuel Goldwyn Studios in Hollywood, while exteriors were shot on location in New York City, including in Greenwich Village, Stuyvesant Town and the BMT subway. A August 14, 1956 Daily Variety item reported the final budget as $750,000. Nancy Marchand, who played "Clara" in the television version of Marty, Philip Abbott and Larry Blyden made their feature film debuts in The Bachelor Party. Although a August 29, 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item adds Rita Greene and Paula Houston to the cast, their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
       Although letters contained in the MPAA/PCA file on the film in the AMPAS Library, dated as late as September 11, 1956, list several objections the PCA had to the film, including the suggestion of abortion and the intended extramarital affair, the picture was approved for a seal on September 18, 1956. The National Catholic Legion of Decency awarded the film a "B" rating, stating that "only a positive conclusion averts a more stringent classification." Although press materials declare that The Bachelor Party contains the first use in film of the term "pregnant," the term had been used in at least one earlier film, Full of Life (Columbia, 1957, see below).
       In April 1957, the MPAA's Advertising Code Administration failed to approve advertisements for the film that made reference to extramarital relations. Despite the fact that this would mean a withdrawal of the PCA seal, UA decided to run the advertisements, as reported in a April 10, 1957 Variety article. That article pointed out that UA had resigned from the MPAA in 1956 over a dispute pertaining to The Man with the Golden Arm (see below for more details), after which MPAA president Eric A. Johnston had personally requested that the studio rejoin the organization. On April 17, 1957, Daily Variety reported that for the first time, Johnston had overruled the Advertising Code Administration's decision and allowed the ads. That article notes, however, that the Boston Globe refused to run the ads.
       Upon its release, The Bachelor Party was hailed by critics as even more gritty and entertaining than Marty. It was selected as one of four American films to run in the May 1957 Cannes Film Festival.