The Honeymoon Machine


1h 27m 1961
The Honeymoon Machine

Brief Synopsis

Two sailors discover a way to beat the roulette tables in a Venice casino.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Jan 1961
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 Aug 1961
Production Company
Avon Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Golden Fleecing by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. (New York, 15 Oct 1959).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

After tracking missiles with an electronic brain (Operation Honeymoon), a U. S. battleship lays anchor off Venice. Almost immediately, young and brash Lieut. Fergie Howard hits upon the scheme of using the electronic computer to break the roulette table at the Lido casino. Aided by the reluctant Ensign Gilliam and civilian missile expert Jason Eldridge, Fergie blinker-signals all the data on the pattern of the casino game table to the ship, has the data fed into the machine, and receives back the likely winning numbers. Complications arise when Fergie falls for young Julie Fitch, who just happens to be an admiral's daughter; and Jason becomes involved with a former girl friend, a nearsighted millionairess named Pam Dunstan. The girls decide to cooperate, however, and once the plan is put into operation the boys amass a fortune. But further problems develop when the blinker communications are intercepted by Admiral Fitch and some Russians, both of whom mistakenly assume that they relate to aggressive military measures. An alcoholic signalman, Burford Taylor, stumbles upon the foursome, learns of their activities, and reveals all to the admiral. But, after a riot at the casino, Fergie talks his way out of a court-martial and even gets the admiral to accept him, albeit reluctantly, as a son-in-law. And young Jason decides that being married to a millionairess might not be so painful as he previously imagined.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Adaptation
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Jan 1961
Premiere Information
New York opening: 23 Aug 1961
Production Company
Avon Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Golden Fleecing by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. (New York, 15 Oct 1959).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

The Honeymoon Machine


Although he was making a name for himself as a gritty young character actor in such movies as Never So Few (1959) and The Magnificent Seven (1960), Steve McQueen was a couple of years from genuine stardom when he appeared in MGM's The Honeymoon Machine (1961), a fast-paced comedy based on a play by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. McQueen accepted this script after losing the lead in Pocketful of Miracles (1961), a role for which director Frank Capra had requested him after Frank Sinatra turned it down. Executives at United Artists didn't think McQueen had sufficient box-office appeal to justify hiring him, and Glenn Ford ended up with the role.

In The Honeymoon Machine McQueen plays a Navy lieutenant who programs his ship's computer, nicknamed "Max," to beat the odds at a casino in Venice, Italy, by receiving signals showing results at the roulette wheel. Farcical complications ensue when the fleet's admiral (Dean Jagger) believes the signals mean his ships are about to be attacked. McQueen's costars included the popular comedy team of Jim Hutton and Paula Prentiss. According to MGM press releases, the computer in the film was the real thing, with 4,000 vacuum tubes and 175 miles of wiring.

Playing in a film comedy for the first time, McQueen felt that his attempt to create a zany character had backfired. According to biographer William F. Nolan, the young actor walked out of an MGM executive preview shortly after the screening began. Dismayed by his own overacting, McQueen was convinced that he simply couldn't play comedy -- a notion he would disprove in such films as The Reivers (1969). He later said, "I decided to go after something gutty for my next one." So he signed up to play "a real mean son of a bitch" in Hell Is for Heroes (1962). The year after that he hit the big time with The Great Escape (1963).

Producer: Lawrence Weingarten
Director: Richard Thorpe
Screenplay: George Wells, from play The Golden Fleecing by Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Cinematography: Joseph LaShelle
Art Direction: Preston Ames
Film Editing: Ben Lewis
Original Music: Jack Brooks, Leigh Harline
Costume Design: Helen Rose
Principal Cast: Steve McQueen (Lt. Fergie Howard), Brigid Bazlen (Julie Fitch), Jim Hutton (Jason Eldridge), Paula Prentiss (Pam Dunstan), Dean Jagger (Adm. Fitch), Jack Weston (Signalman Burford Taylor), Jack Mullaney (Lt. j.g. Beau Gilliam).
C-88m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Roger Fristoe
The Honeymoon Machine

The Honeymoon Machine

Although he was making a name for himself as a gritty young character actor in such movies as Never So Few (1959) and The Magnificent Seven (1960), Steve McQueen was a couple of years from genuine stardom when he appeared in MGM's The Honeymoon Machine (1961), a fast-paced comedy based on a play by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. McQueen accepted this script after losing the lead in Pocketful of Miracles (1961), a role for which director Frank Capra had requested him after Frank Sinatra turned it down. Executives at United Artists didn't think McQueen had sufficient box-office appeal to justify hiring him, and Glenn Ford ended up with the role. In The Honeymoon Machine McQueen plays a Navy lieutenant who programs his ship's computer, nicknamed "Max," to beat the odds at a casino in Venice, Italy, by receiving signals showing results at the roulette wheel. Farcical complications ensue when the fleet's admiral (Dean Jagger) believes the signals mean his ships are about to be attacked. McQueen's costars included the popular comedy team of Jim Hutton and Paula Prentiss. According to MGM press releases, the computer in the film was the real thing, with 4,000 vacuum tubes and 175 miles of wiring. Playing in a film comedy for the first time, McQueen felt that his attempt to create a zany character had backfired. According to biographer William F. Nolan, the young actor walked out of an MGM executive preview shortly after the screening began. Dismayed by his own overacting, McQueen was convinced that he simply couldn't play comedy -- a notion he would disprove in such films as The Reivers (1969). He later said, "I decided to go after something gutty for my next one." So he signed up to play "a real mean son of a bitch" in Hell Is for Heroes (1962). The year after that he hit the big time with The Great Escape (1963). Producer: Lawrence Weingarten Director: Richard Thorpe Screenplay: George Wells, from play The Golden Fleecing by Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Cinematography: Joseph LaShelle Art Direction: Preston Ames Film Editing: Ben Lewis Original Music: Jack Brooks, Leigh Harline Costume Design: Helen Rose Principal Cast: Steve McQueen (Lt. Fergie Howard), Brigid Bazlen (Julie Fitch), Jim Hutton (Jason Eldridge), Paula Prentiss (Pam Dunstan), Dean Jagger (Adm. Fitch), Jack Weston (Signalman Burford Taylor), Jack Mullaney (Lt. j.g. Beau Gilliam). C-88m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer August 1961

CinemaScope

Released in United States Summer August 1961