Good Sam


1h 53m 1948
Good Sam

Brief Synopsis

A family man helps out people in need and ends up broke in the process.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Release Date
Sep 1, 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Rainbow Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,295ft

Synopsis

Inspired by Reverend Daniels' Sunday sermon on charity and goodness, compulsive do-gooder Sam R. Clayton offers his neighbors, the Butlers, the use of his car for their one-day vacation after their own car breaks down. Sam's kindness annoys his good-natured wife Lu, who protests the gesture with a string of sarcastic barbs. Lu also protests the continuing presence of her deadbeat brother Claude, an ex-serviceman who, at Sam's insistence, has been sponging off of them for six months. That night, the Butlers call to inform Lu that they are keeping the car for an extra day, and the next morning, Sam is forced to pay mechanic Mr. Nelson for fixing the Butlers' car. Much to Lu's frustration, Sam also invites the chatty Nelson to breakfast and cajoles her into agreeing to prepare goose grease for Nelson's asthmatic wife. Later at the department store where Sam is the general manager, his boss, H. C. Borden, scolds him for spending too much time conversing with the customers and not pushing the Christmas merchandise. Dismissing Borden's complaints, Sam then comforts Shirley Mae, a young music department clerk, who is seriously depressed because her married lover has dumped her and left her homeless. That night, Nelson and his wife show up at Sam's house and all but invite themselves to dinner. During the meal, Mrs. Nelson, who is a real estate agent, mentions that a wonderful house may go on the market, exciting Lu about the possibility of finally buying her own home. Sam is then called to see the Adamses, a young couple to whom he loaned money when Mrs. Adams discovered she was pregnant and was considering an abortion. The Adamses tell Sam that, even though the gas station they bought with his money is now a success, they can repay him only in small installments because they have invested in a house for themselves and their soon-to-arrive baby. Although understanding, Sam feels frustrated about the money and announces to Lu, who knows nothing about the Adamses' loan, that he is finally "through with people." He then begins to denounce the Butlers, unaware that the family is in his living room, having told Lu that the nearsighted Mr. Butler was in an accident in Sam's car and is being sued by the other party. In addition, because the car is registered to Sam, and Mr. Butler has lost his job, Sam will be forced to pay for all the damages. After Sam throws the Butlers out, Lu suggests that they also throw Claude out and is thrilled when her brother calls to announce that he is leaving to play pool in Cincinnati. Before the couple can enjoy their first night alone together in six months, however, their daughter Lulu interrupts, demanding a bedtime story. Just as Sam and Lu get Lulu to sleep, Claude returns, having changed his mind about Cincinnati, and Shirley Mae, who has taken an overdose of pills, is dropped off by a cab driver who found Sam's address in her pocket. At her wit's end, Lu later confers with Reverend Daniels and confesses that her marriage is in trouble because of Sam's incorrigible goodness. Daniels promises to talk discreetly to Sam, but the next day, a bemused Sam reports to Lu that the reverend's marriage is faltering. Lu's spirits are finally lifted when she takes a tour of her dream house and believes that their $5,000 "nest egg" can be used as a down payment. When Sam reveals that he loaned the Adamses their house savings, Lu breaks down in tears. Then, in the midst of their ensuing argument, Reverend Daniels arrives to discuss a charity bazaar for which Sam has volunteered Lu's services. Although Lu participates in the bazaar, she tells Sam afterward that Borden has offered her a job buying for the store in Europe. As Sam and Lu argue about the offer, they overhear Claude romancing Shirley Mae on the porch, causing Lu to call the clerk an immoral gold digger. A crushed Shirley Mae leaves the house, and to Sam's surprise, the Adamses then show up with a check for $6,000, having sold their gas station for a huge profit. After Sam tells Lu that he will never change, Lu begins to feel contrite, especially after she learns that Claude, who has taken a job at the Adamses' new gas station, has proposed to Shirley Mae. Sam, meanwhile, is put in charge of the store's Christmas charity dinner and is robbed of all his money after he has already paid for the turkeys with part of the house savings. Sam tries to secure a bank loan, but is turned down because of his unstable credit history. Unable to face Lu, who has already moved into the new house and is preparing a celebratory dinner, Sam seeks refuge in a bar. While his family waits nervously for his return, the bank officer who rejected Sam announces to Lu that he has changed his mind about the loan. Just as Lu is about to panic, a very drunken Sam is escorted home by a Salvation Army band, and Sam learns that not only will he receive the loan, but has been made vice-president of the store. A relieved Lu then lovingly embraces her inebriated husband.

Cast

Gary Cooper

Sam [R.] Clayton

Ann Sheridan

Lu Clayton

Ray Collins

Reverend Daniels

Edmund Lowe

H. C. Borden

Joan Lorring

Shirley Mae

Clinton Sundberg

Nelson

Minerva Urecal

Mrs. Nelson

Louise Beavers

Chloe

Dick Ross

Claude

Lora Lee Michel

Lulu [Clayton]

Bobby Dolan Jr.

Butch [Clayton]

Matt Moore

Mr. Butler

Netta Packer

Mrs. Butler

Ruth Roman

Ruthie

Carol Stevens

Mrs. Adams

Todd Karns

Joe Adams

Irving Bacon

Tramp

William Frawley

Tom [Moore]

Harry Hayden

Banker [Mr. Drew]

Irmgard Dawson

Girl

Jane Allen

Girl

Tom Dugan

Santa Claus

Sara Edwards

Mrs. Gilmore

Ruth Sanderson

Sam's secretary

Marta Mitrovich

Mysterious woman

Mimi Doyle

Red Cross nurse

Franklin Parker

Photographer

Ida Moore

Old lady

Anne O'neal

Mrs. Finnerty

Ruth Brennan

Mrs. Kelly

Florence Auer

Woman on bus

Dick Wessell

Melvin Z. Wurtzberg, bus driver

Sedal Bennett

Woman chasing bus

James Horne

College boy

Ann Duncan

Jitterbugger

Johnny Duncan

Jitterbugger

Ronnie Ralph

Johnson boy

Peggy Miller

Johnson girl

Cliff Clark

Probation officer

Robert Dudley

Clerk in probation office

Hal Melone

Boy in probation office

Jack Gargan

Parent

Bess Flowers

Parent

Almira Sessions

Landlady

Garry Owen

Taxi driver

William Haade

Taxi driver

Stanley Mckay

Young minister

George Ovey

Usher

Pat Davis

Usher

W. J. O'brien

Usher

Bert Roach

Whispering usher/Politician

Bob Tidwell

Telegraph boy

Dick Elliott

Politician

Ann Lawrence

Salvation Army Girl

Joe Hinds

Salvation Army worker

Francis Stevens

Salvation Army worker

Charles Williams

Little man

Joseph Crehan

Casey

Louis Mason

Mr. Duffield

Effie Laird

Mrs. Duffield

Frank Pharr

Ted Mapes

Helen Foster

Roger Moore

Ken Terrell

Bert Moorehouse

Jean Andrew

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Release Date
Sep 1, 1948
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Rainbow Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,295ft

Articles

Good Sam


The light-hearted comedy/drama Good Sam (1948) stars Gary Cooper as Sam Clayton, a well-meaning do-gooder who can never say no to a person in need. Sam's excessive generosity with others often leads him to put himself and his own family last, much to the frustration of his long-suffering wife Lu (Ann Sheridan). When Sam is taken advantage of one time too many, it looks as if he is headed for financial ruin. Will there be anyone there to return the favor in Sam's time of need?

Director Leo McCarey was coming off of two major successes (the Oscar®-winning Going My Way (1944) in 1945 and Academy Award-nominated The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) in 1946) when he made Good Sam. The film represented a return to a more comedic style that had helped define his earlier career with such hits as Duck Soup (1933) and The Awful Truth (1937).

Good Sam came along for Gary Cooper at a time when his film career was lagging, and there was hope that this film would help reignite his star power. Although Good Sam was a solid effort, it failed to catch fire at the box office. Cooper, however, did manage to sign a new long-term contract with Warner Bros. during the making of Good Sam and would go on to win his second Academy Award as Best Actor just a few years later with High Noon (1952).

Producer: Leo McCarey
Director: Leo McCarey
Screenplay: Ken Englund (screenplay); Leo McCarey, John Klorer (story)
Cinematography: George Barnes
Art Direction: John B. Goodman
Music: Robert Emmett Dolan
Film Editing: James McKay
Cast: Gary Cooper (Samuel R. 'Sam' Clayton), Ann Sheridan (Lucille 'Lu' Clayton), Ray Collins (Rev. Daniels), Edmund Lowe (H.C. Borden), Joan Lorring (Shirley Mae), Clinton Sundberg (Mr. Nelson), Minerva Urecal (Mrs. Nelson), Louise Beavers (Chloe, Lu's Maid), Dick Ross (Claude, Lu's Brother), Lora Lee Michel (Lulu Clayton).
BW-114m.

by Andrea Passafiume

Good Sam

Good Sam

The light-hearted comedy/drama Good Sam (1948) stars Gary Cooper as Sam Clayton, a well-meaning do-gooder who can never say no to a person in need. Sam's excessive generosity with others often leads him to put himself and his own family last, much to the frustration of his long-suffering wife Lu (Ann Sheridan). When Sam is taken advantage of one time too many, it looks as if he is headed for financial ruin. Will there be anyone there to return the favor in Sam's time of need? Director Leo McCarey was coming off of two major successes (the Oscar®-winning Going My Way (1944) in 1945 and Academy Award-nominated The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) in 1946) when he made Good Sam. The film represented a return to a more comedic style that had helped define his earlier career with such hits as Duck Soup (1933) and The Awful Truth (1937). Good Sam came along for Gary Cooper at a time when his film career was lagging, and there was hope that this film would help reignite his star power. Although Good Sam was a solid effort, it failed to catch fire at the box office. Cooper, however, did manage to sign a new long-term contract with Warner Bros. during the making of Good Sam and would go on to win his second Academy Award as Best Actor just a few years later with High Noon (1952). Producer: Leo McCarey Director: Leo McCarey Screenplay: Ken Englund (screenplay); Leo McCarey, John Klorer (story) Cinematography: George Barnes Art Direction: John B. Goodman Music: Robert Emmett Dolan Film Editing: James McKay Cast: Gary Cooper (Samuel R. 'Sam' Clayton), Ann Sheridan (Lucille 'Lu' Clayton), Ray Collins (Rev. Daniels), Edmund Lowe (H.C. Borden), Joan Lorring (Shirley Mae), Clinton Sundberg (Mr. Nelson), Minerva Urecal (Mrs. Nelson), Louise Beavers (Chloe, Lu's Maid), Dick Ross (Claude, Lu's Brother), Lora Lee Michel (Lulu Clayton). BW-114m. by Andrea Passafiume

Quotes

Trivia

Director Leo McCarey shot two different endings and let remarks by preview audiences determine which one to use.

Notes

Hollywood Reporter and Los Angeles Times news items add the following information about the production: Jean Heather was first announced as the film's second female lead. In June 1947, John Goodman replaced William Flannery as art director on the picture so that Flannery could finish work on Dudley Nichols' film Mourning Becomes Electra . Leo McCarey's Rainbow Productions borrowed Ann Sheridan from Warner Bros. for the film. McCarey used a twenty-five-piece high school band, assembled from various Los Angeles schools, for a sequence in the picture. Technical advisor Rev. J. Herbert Smith was the pastor of All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, CA. St. James Episcopal Church was used as a model for the film's church interior. In April 1947, Hollywood Reporter announced that locations were being scouted in Arizona and New Mexico, but it is not known if any scenes were actually shot there. In January 1948, McCarey was reportedly shooting two additional scenes for two different endings, from which sneak preview audiences were to select the final ending. The contents of the second ending is not known. Gary Cooper was called away from the production so that he could testify as a friendly witness at the HUAC meetings in Washington, D.C. on October 23, 1947. During filming, Cooper, whose career was floundering at the time, signed a significant contract with Warner Bros. Ann Sheridan reprised her role in a September 25, 1950 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast, co-starring Joel McCrea.