For Glenn Ford, Dear Heart was a difficult film to shoot. According to his son, Peter, Ford had recently been devastated when his ex-girlfriend Hope Lange married producer (and later director) Alan J. Pakula. "Dad remained inconsolable for months. He went back to work on another film at the end of 1963, Dear Heart, costarring the gracious and talented Geraldine Page, and it was a wonderful experience; but he still had Hope Lange on his mind - constantly."
Composer Henry Mancini wrote in his autobiography, "It was a sweet story. We decided that there should be a song. [Johnny] Mercer wasn't available, so I called in Jay Livingston and Ray Evans to write the lyric. [...] They read the script, looked at [Page's] character, and came up with the title Dear Heart.
It was a charming song, a waltz right straight down Middle America, with a bow toward the South. Everyone liked it, including Jack Warner, who said, 'Let's call the picture Dear Heart, it's a better title than The Out-of-Towners."
The song was released before the film, and unlike today, there was no one definitive recording, although Mancini wrote, "Warner Bros. was undecided about when to release the picture. Larry Shayne and I had half the publishing in the song, and we retained administrative control. We asked Jack Warner if there was any chance of having the picture released in time to qualify the song for the Academy Awards. Warner thought a minute and said, 'Yes, I'll release it - if you'll pay for the advertising.' He referred only to local advertising. By the rules of the Academy, a picture had only to be released in Los Angeles and play for one week for anything in it to qualify for nomination. Warner said $10,000 would cover the ads. Larry and I concluded it was worth that to try for a nomination on a song that was already showing up on the charts. We paid for the advertising in Los Angeles, and the song did get a nomination [Best Original Song], which helped establish it. For the money involved, it was well worth it."
The song ended up being more popular with the public than the film. In her review for Life, Eleanor Perry roasted the entire concept of Dear Heart as being created for average, plain, middle-class folks. "While you're seeing the film you are supposed to get plenty of laughs, a few tears, and some homely philosophy about how we must all open the doors of our hearts to each other. And finally, you're supposed to drive away misty-eyed because the drab spinster is going to make it with the footloose fun-and-games salesman. [...] So you go home and let the dog out and put the kids to bed and naturally you talk about the picture. [...]And sitting there over a beer at the kitchen table you are not supposed to get the feeling that plain folks like yourself have been condescended to and patronized. You're supposed to get a nice flowing feeling about being just folks. But will you?"
Producer: Martin Manulis
Director: Delbert Mann
Screenplay: Tad Mosel (screenplay and story)
Cinematography: Russell Harlan
Art Direction: Joseph C. Wright
Music: Henry Mancini
Film Editing: Folmar Blangsted
Cast: Glenn Ford (Harry Mork), Geraldine Page (Evie Jackson), Angela Lansbury (Phyllis), Michael Anderson, Jr. (Patrick, Phyllis' Son), Barbara Nichols (June Loveland), Patricia Barry (Mitchell), Charles Drake (Frank Taylor), Richard Deacon (Mr. Cruikshank), Neva Patterson (Connie Templeton), Ken Lynch (The Masher).
BW-115m. Closed Captioning.
by Lorraine LoBianco
Ford, Peter and McGilligan, Patrick. Glenn Ford: A Life
Mancini, Henry and Lees, Gene. Did They Mention the Music?
Perry, Eleanor. "Marty's Spoiled Rich Sister," Life 5 Feb 65