Cast & Crew
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."
Donna Jo Gribble
Harold A. Miller
Richard H. Gordon
James Scott Melville
Daniel L. Fapp
John P. Fulton
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.
Released in United States Spring May 1956
Released in United States Spring May 1956