The Birds and the Bees


1h 34m 1956

Film Details

Also Known As
The Lady Eve
Release Date
May 1956
Premiere Information
New York opening: 22 Apr 1956
Production Company
Gomalco, Inc.; Paramount Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

Having just completed a three-year scientific expedition into the Belgian Congo to locate a rare snake, George "Hotsy" Hamilton II, an ophiologist and heir to the Hamilton meat-packing fortune, and Marty Kennedy, his valet, guardian and best friend, head home to Bridgewood, Connecticut. Aboard the luxury cruise ship, S.S. Southern Queen , the highly eligible George attracts the unsolicited attentions of numerous single women, especially Jean Harris, a beautiful cardsharp who is traveling with her con-artist father, Patrick Henry "Handsome Harry" Harris, and his partner, Gerald. After intentionally tripping the clumsy heir and causing him to break the heel of her shoe, Jean soon has George alone in her suite, where the bumbling scientist is little match for her feminine wiles. Despite her original intent to swindle George out of a small fortune, Jean finds herself falling in love with the innocent heir, and she tells her father that she intends to marry George and go straight. Harry insists on winning back his losses from an earlier bridge game with George, but in Jean's absence, he instead swindles his future son-in-law out of $32,000. That night, George proposes to Jean, but before she can confess her criminal past, Marty informs the ophiologist that the Harrises are well-known con-artists. The heartbroken George then breaks his engagement to Jean, pretending that he had known the truth about the thieves all along and was only amusing himself with her. Adding insult to injury, Harry accidentally drops the $32,000 check into George's hands as the ship docks, and George proceeds to tear it up in front of the helpless thieves. Later, at a New England racetrack, the Harrises run into their old friend and fellow con-artist, Frenchie, who tells them that he is now using the name "Jacques Duc de Montaigne" in order to swindle the snobbish upper classes in his new home of Bridgewood. Seeing a chance to even the score with George, Jean pretends to be Frenchie's cousin, the countess Louise. Horace Hamilton, George's domineering father, immediately holds a party in honor of the visiting French royalty, and although Marty recognizes the Harrises, George is completely taken in, arguing that the resemblance between Jean and Louise is too obvious to be anything but a coincidence. Later, Harry tells George that the couple he met on the ocean liner are the "black sheep" of his family, and he pleads with George to keep secret the existence of his crooked brother and niece. Once again, George falls for Jean's charms, and the two are quickly married. On their wedding night, however, Jean tells George fanciful stories of her numerous love affairs and children, only to have Marty arrive and expose the entire charade. A shattered George then leaves his new bride, telling Marty that he wants to return to Africa. Realizing that the innocent George had previously lied about his playboy lifestyle, Jean confesses to Harry that she is still in love with her husband. Back aboard the S.S. Southern Queen , George is once again tripped by Jean, and though he still loves her, tells her that he is now married. Jean informs him that she is recently married as well. As they enter his stateroom, George proclaims that he knew "it was the same girl all the time."

Cast

George Gobel

George "Hotsy" Hamilton II

Mitzi Gaynor

Jean Harris, also known as Countess Louise

David Niven

Patrick Henry "Handsome Harry" Harris, as known as Count Pierre

Reginald Gardiner

Gerald

Fred Clark

Horace Hamilton

Harry Bellaver

Marty Kennedy

Hans Conried

Jacques Duc de Montaigne, also known as "Frenchie"

Margery Maude

Mrs. Hamilton

Clinton Sundberg

Purser

Milton Frome

Assistant butler in Hamilton's house

Rex Evans

Burrows, butler in Hamilton's house

King Donovan

Waiter

Mary Treen

Mrs. Burnside

Charles Lane

Charlie Jenkins, bartender in Hamilton's house

Bartlett Robinson

Guest

Douglas Evans

Guest

Barry Bernard

Guest

Kathryn Card

Guest

Peggy Moffitt

Penny

Valerie Allen

Girl

Sally Yarnell

Girl

Marilyn Hanold

Girl

Frances Farwell

Girl

Donna Jo Gribble

Girl

Betty Lynne

Girl

John Benson

Guest

Harold A. Miller

Guest

Mary Benoit

Guest

Vera Burnett

Guest

Jean Vachon

Guest

Hans Moebus

Guest

Richard H. Gordon

Guest

Audrey Conti

Guest

Greta Granstedt

Guest

Leota Lorraine

Guest

Stuart Holmes

Guest

Renate Hoy

Countess Von Lindorff

James Scott Melville

Andre

Kevin Corcoran

Hans

Steven Geray

Bartender

Norma Varden

Passenger

Charles Meredith

Passenger

Matt Moore

Passenger

James Burke

Steward

Charles Evans

Father

Charles Cane

Waiter

James Parnell

Waiter

Roscoe Ates

Vendor

Kenneth Washington

Native

Paul Thompson

Native

Don Blackman

Native

Edit Angold

German mother

Kitty Kelly

Mother

Bess Flowers

Mother

Estelle Etterre

Mother

Evelen Ceder

Mother

Marion Gray

Mother

Cynthia Leighton

Designer

Rolfe Sedan

Cabin steward

Anne Brunius

Swedish mother

Cy Stevens

Tailor

Paul Power

Jewelry salesman

Nina Borget

French mother

Robert Carson

Grady Sutton

Film Details

Also Known As
The Lady Eve
Release Date
May 1956
Premiere Information
New York opening: 22 Apr 1956
Production Company
Gomalco, Inc.; Paramount Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were The George Gobel Comedy, The Gobel Story and The Lady Eve. According to Variety, the production company Gomalco was owned by the film's star, George Gobel, and his partner, David P. O'Malley. The Birds and the Bees marked Gobel's feature film debut and one of only two films in which he played the lead. (For information on Gobel's other starring role, please consult the entry below for the 1958 RKO production I Married a Woman). At the time of the film's production, Gobel, known as "Lonesome George Gobel," was a major television comedian, having starred in his own network variety show since 1954. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Gobel had the highest rated show on the NBC network when The Birds and the Bees began production. According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Paramount submitted the song "The Songs I Sing" (music by Walter Scharf, lyrics by Don Hartman) for approval for use in The Birds and the Bees, but it was not performed in the released film.
       Hollywood Reporter news items and production charts include John Daly, Hal Rand, Jim Larrett, Torben Meyer, Joan Corbett, Arthur Lovejoy, Sally Jane Bruce, Louis Sorrano, Helen Spring, John Marshall, Jack Peconic, George Peconic, Woody Strode, Carleton Young, Francis Sanford, Mike Winkleman, Caroline Craig and Mary Ellen Gleason in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The Birds and the Bees opened with a series of invitational premieres in thirty-two key cities throughout the country on March 20, 1956, according to Hollywood Reporter. The film is a remake of the 1941 Paramount film The Lady Eve, which starred Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck under the direction of Preston Sturges (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). Sturges, who wrote the screenplay for The Lady Eve, is credited as co-author of the screenplay of The Birds and the Bees, though, according to modern sources, he had no direct participation in the 1956 film. Both films were produced by Paul Jones.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring May 1956

VistaVision

Released in United States Spring May 1956