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The Grass Is Greener

The Grass Is Greener(1961)

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The title sequence designed by Maurice Binder features babies playing with props that reflect the credit being listed. Many reviewers praised Binder's creativity in the titles' design. Executive producer-star Cary Grant and producer-director Stanley Donen, co-owners of the film's independent co-production company, Grandon Productions, purchased the rights to the play The Grass Is Greener after its London debut in December 1958. The film was Grandon's second and final release. [The company's first production was Indisctreet (see below).] According to a January 24, 1961 Los Angeles Mirror article, Grant originally cast himself as "Charles Delacro," Kay Kendall as "Hilary Rhyall," her real-life husband Rex Harrison as "Victor Rhyall" and Deborah Kerr as "Hattie Durrant." Kendall died soon after, however. The filmmakers considered casting Ingrid Bergman as Hilary, but eventually assigned the role to Kerr, after which Grant took over the role of Victor. Moray Watson made his feature film debut in The Grass Is Greener recreating the role of "Sellers," which he had originated on the London stage.
       The film referenced the practice, at the time relatively new, of inviting sightseers to tour England's stately homes in order to raise revenue for insolvent aristocrats. As noted in a July 1960 Los Angeles Mirror article, it was shot partially on location at Osterely Hall, the ancestral home of the Earl of Jersey, the second husband of Grant's first wife, Virginia Cherrill. By the time of the film's production, Osterley was owned by England's National Trust. Interiors were shot at Shepperton Studios using furniture and artifacts from several real-life stately homes. A June 24, 1960 Daily Variety item stated that Donen had closed the studio to the British press, due to their reputation for "needling film stars."
       Contemporary reviewers commended Donen's skill with the split-screen technique in the scene in which both couples are on the phone, having a parallel conversation. In this scene, Victor identifies himself to the hotel operator as "Rock Hudson." Although April and May 1960 Hollywood Reporter news items stated that Andrew Faulds was to play a television commentator and that Gwen Watford was cast in the film, their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. A June 26, 1960 New York Times article mentions "censorship trouble"; however, there are only a few, minor censorship issues listed in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library. The American press response to The Grass Is Greener was generally poor, including the Hollywood Reporter review, which called the picture "one of the year's most disappointing films."