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The Iron Petticoat

The Iron Petticoat(1956)


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The working title for the film was Not for Money. Although the February 2, 1957 New York Times review of the film states that writer Ben Hecht declined to have his name credited in the film, his credit on the viewed print reads "Screenplay by Ben Hecht." A February 2, 1957 Cue article stated that Hecht repudiated the script and the film. According to a February 2, 1957 Saturday Review (of Literature) article, star Bob Hope and Hecht feuded about the production. A biography of co-star Katharine Hepburn notes that Hope had brought his own comedic writers on location in England, where they rewrote the script to incorporate more of Hope's typical humor. Hecht subsequently decided to pull out of the production, which was then called Not for Money. In a biography of Hope, the star claimed that when he found the script unfinished at the beginning of production, he offered to complete it with his writers, who retitled the film The Iron Petticoat.
       As noted in a January 24, 1957 Los Angeles Times article, the film's plot about a staunch Soviet heroine who is converted to democracy by an American man bears some resemblance to Ninotchka, a 1939 film originally produced by M-G-M starring Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40) and then remade in 1957 by M-G-M as Silk Stockings, starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse (see below).
       According to an June 18, 1956 Daily Variety article, producer Harry Saltzman (1915-1994) set up a distribution deal through which the British-based company Romulus Films, Ltd. released the picture in England, while M-G-M distributed it to the rest of the world. The film credits state that the picture was also a Remus Films production, however, no further imformation about this company, which apparently was affiliated with Romulus, has been found. The Iron Petticoat was the first film production for Saltzman, who later became well-known as one of the producers of the James Bond films.
       Several of the film's reviews, as well as biographies of the stars, noted that Hepburn and Hope were miscast as a romantic team and the film was not a success for either star. Modern sources add Man Mountain Dean (Russian strong-arm man) to the cast.