Cast & Crew
When serviceman and author Jim Scott returns from Paris to New York City, his hometown, he is flabbergasted to discover that his well-meaning but unrealistic wife Connie has invested his wages in a run-down apartment building. Connie has been transforming the basement into an apartment for herself and Jim, and furnishing the rest of the building with inherited antiques. Despite Connie's hopes that being a landlord will give Jim time to write a novel, Jim realizes that the building will require much work and will barely give them enough income. Nonetheless, Jim is happy to see his lovely wife, although their reunion is interrupted by the arrival of smooth-talking Charley Patterson, an older man searching for a room. Unknown to the Scotts, Patterson is a confidence man who romances and swindles wealthy widows. After the Scotts rent a room to Patterson, Jim decides that he will save money by fixing a leaky sink himself, but his efforts make the problem worse, and a plumber is called in. Several more costly repairs convince Jim to delay writing his novel and prepare a few magazine stories to make some quick money. Meanwhile, Charley meets his neighboor in the building, gentle widow Eadie Gaynor and her daughter Florence, and becomes enamoured of Eadie even though she is poor. Later, Connie becomes suspicious of Charley when a potential tenant thinks that she recognizes him as a man who swindled her years earlier. After the woman leaves, however, a pleased Jim persuades Connie to rent the vacant apartment to his old Army buddy Bobbie. When Bobbie arrives, Connie is shocked to see that she is a stunning former WAC named Roberta Stevens. Jim tries to alleviate Connie's jealousy by offering to take her out for their wedding anniversary the next day. Soon after, FBI agent Gray arrives and questions them about Charley, although he refuses to explain his interest in him. The next night, Connie and Jim go to a nightclub, and there see Charley dining with a woman they do not recognize, even though he had told Eadie that he would be on business in Baltimore. Later, an inspector from the Department of Housing and Building informs the Scotts that the exposed wiring in their building is a serious code violation, and that if it is not fixed within fifteen days, the building will be condemned. That night, Charley and Eadie announce their engagement, worrying Connie. Charley and Eadie leave the next day to be married, after which Jim learns that it will be so expensive to fix the wiring that he must sell the building. Jim and Connie have received no offers by the time Charley and Eadie return, and Charley lends Jim the $800 needed for the repairs. Jim still wants to sell, however, as he is convinced that the building will drive them deeper into debt. Connie and Jim argue about the building and Bobbie, of whom Connie is still jealous, and Jim storms out of their apartment to sleep in a hammock in the back yard. Jim ends up sleeping in Bobbie's empty apartment, as he knows that she is away on a modeling assignment, but the next morning, Bobbie returns home, and Connie mistakenly assumes that she and Jim have spent the night together. Connie's anger is deflected by a newspaper story concerning Mrs. Frazier, the woman she saw in the nightclub with Charley, who has been cheated by an "elderly Casanova" named Charley Price. The article details Price's career, stating that he has bilked numerous women in several states. Jim and Connie confront Charley, who admits that the charges are true. Charley assures them that he truly loves Eadie and has now retired, and defends himself by pointing out that he gave the widows romance in return for their money. When Jim warns him about the FBI, Charley decides to leave and send for Eadie later, but the police arrive before he can escape. As he is being taken away, Charley reassures Eadie that she is the only woman he has ever loved. Charley, who insists on paying for his crimes by pleading guilty, arranges for Jim to get arrested for receiving the $800 from him, as it was part of the money he took from Mrs. Frazier. Jim is infuriated when he is thrown in a cell with Charley, but the older man explains that he needed time to tell Jim his life story so that he can write a book about him. Jim is released the next day and writes Charley's book, which becomes a best-seller. After eighteen months, Charley is released from prison and reunites with Eadie. Later, Jim and Connie, who have beautified the apartment building with Jim's royalties, watch with amusement as Eadie and Charley take their newly born twin daughters for a walk.
Louis Torres Jr.
Tony De Mario
Suds, A Cat
John Edward Court
I. A. L. Diamond
Louis A. Hirsch
Harry M. Leonard
George L. Patrick
J. Watson Webb Jr.
Haver's career took off earlier than Monroe's, becoming a star at the tail end of the Golden Age. Monroe's career began in fits and starts in the post-WWII era, but it was not on track until she signed her second contract with Twentieth Century-Fox in December 1950. The studios were at the peak of their power and influence during the Golden Age, and Haver benefitted from the systems and practices that defined the studio system. Under contract to Twentieth Century-Fox, she was 17 when she was cast in her first starring role in Irish Eyes Are Smiling (1944). Groomed by Fox to be one of its signature blonde performers, Haver could sing and dance like the studio's established stars Alice Faye and Betty Grable. Haver was dubbed "the Pocket Grable" to ensure that the press and public saw her in that tradition, but her sweet, bubbly personality gave her star image its distinction.
Personal tragedy affected her attitude toward her career. Her fiancé, Dr. John L. Duzik, fell ill and died in the fall of 1949 following complications from routine surgery. After Duzik died, Haver grew disenchanted with her career, devoting more and more time to the Church. After Love Nest, she starred in only one more film, The Girl Next Door (1953), before asking Fox to terminate her contract so that she could join a convent. For reasons only Haver knew, the convent was not the answer, and she left a few months later. She finally found contentment with former costar Fred MacMurray, whom she married in 1954.
Haver was at a turning point in her life when she was cast as the lead in Love Nest, but any personal turmoil is not apparent on the screen. Her character, pony-tailed Connie Scott, is a cheerful, optimistic wife who purchases an old brownstone in New York while her husband, Jim, played by William Lundigan, is completing his military service. Her dream is to fix up the building so that she and Jim can become landlords, allowing him time to write his novel. After Jim comes home, he spends much of his time doing chores and fixing pipes, which puts a kink in Connie's ambitious plan--as does tenant Bobbie Stevens, played by Monroe. Bobbie is Jim's old pal from the service, but Connie worries that the former WAC may be her romantic rival. As the well-built blonde who turns the male characters into putty, Monroe played into her burgeoning bombshell image.
By 1951, Monroe had already been under short-term contract twice. In 1947, she was signed to Fox for six months as a contract player, but no one at the studio saw her potential, and her contract was not picked up. In 1948, she signed with Columbia for six months, where she made only one film, Ladies of the Chorus. As Monroe was trying to establish herself in the postwar era, the studios were affected by a Supreme Court decision known as the Hollywood Anti-Trust Case. Decided in 1948, the ruling forced the studios to give up business practices considered monopolistic. As the financial ramifications of this decision reverberated around Hollywood, the studios grew more tight-fisted and selective about grooming contract players for stardom.
Despite being without a contract, Monroe continued to work with the help of high-powered William Morris agent Johnny Hyde, who got her a small but showy role in All About Eve (1950). Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck caught Monroe's performance and was impressed enough to offer her a screen test and sign her to a six-month contract. Zanuck orchestrated the construction of Monroe's star image as a glamorous sex symbol with a touch of innocence. She was cast in a nondescript role as a secretary in As Young as You Feel (1951), but the part was beefed up to draw attention to her. To give her exposure and circulate her star image, Zanuck cast in her any film that called for a gorgeous blonde, including Love Nest. Love Nest is a cut above most of these films because it was penned by prominent screenwriter I.A.L Diamond, who later partnered with Billy Wilder.
During production, Fox threw a party to wine and dine theater exhibitors at the studio. Zanuck required his stars to attend in order to impress the theater owners. Monroe arrived over an hour late, making a calculated entrance in a black strapless gown. She sat with Fox president Spyros Skouras at the head table. The event became part of her build-up as a star. Based on the positive reactions of the exhibitors, Zanuck arranged a new seven-year contract for Monroe, which not only bumped her salary but improved her billing. Though she has only three or four scenes in Love Nest, she received fourth billing. Haver may have been the star, but the publicity during production was devoted to Monroe. She appeared on the cover of Look magazine, was interviewed for Colliers, and showed up in an article in Life. This time around, the studio was taking a hand in ensuring her stardom.
Costar Jack Paar, who later achieved fame on the small screen as the smooth-tongued host of late-night talk shows, received fifth billing in Love Nest--below Monroe. Long after he left Hollywood, Paar spoke unkindly of her, poking fun at her attempts to read classic literature by recalling how she carried around books by Marcel Proust but never opened one. He remarked, ". . . beneath the façade of Marilyn there was only a frightened waitress in a diner." Some biographers claim that she was taking adult extension courses at UCLA in literature and art appreciation around this time, which would account for the books. However, a 1952 photo essay arranged by the studio showed Monroe on the UCLA campus. The text claimed she attended classes, and the photos depict her studying, buying supplies at the book store, and browsing in the library. The stunt was part of Fox's publicity campaign for her; whether the story was capitalizing on an actual part of her personal life, or whether it was fabricated is debated in Monroe biographies.
Paar claimed to be unimpressed by Monroe, but June Haver, who had had her turn at stardom, offered a different opinion. She insisted that "Marilyn had that electric something. . . ."
By Susan Doll
Producer: Jules Buck for Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Joseph Newman
Screenplay: I.A.L. Diamond from a novel by Scott Corbett
Cinematography: Lloyd Ahern
Editor: J. Watson Webb, Jr.
Music: Cyril Mockridge
Art Directors: Lyle Wheeler and George L. Patrick
Cast: Connie Scott (June Haver), Jim Scott (William Lundigan), Charley Patterson (Frank Fay), Bobbie Stevens (Marilyn Monroe), Ed Forbes (Jack Paar), Eadie Gaynor (Leatrice Joy), George Thompson (Henry Kulky), Mrs. Quigg (Marie Blake), Florence (Patricia Miller), Mrs. Arnold (Maude Wallace), Mr. Hansen (Joe Ploski), Mrs. Thompson (Martha Wentworth), Mrs. Frazier (Faire Binney), Mrs. McNab (Caryl Lincoln)
1951 B&W 84 mins.
This was June Haver's only film in black & white. All of her other films were made in three-strip Technicolor, making hers a near-record.
The working titles of this film were The Reluctant Landlord and A WAC in His Life. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, first Anne Baxter and then Jeanne Crain were set to star in the film. Love Nest marked the return to the screen of Frank Fay, who had not appeared in a picture since the 1943 Banner production Spotlight Scandals, and of Faire Binney, who had last appeared in the 1925 Chord Pictures production The Lost Chord (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 and AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30).
Released in United States 1951
Released in United States on Video June 25, 1992
Released in United States 1951
Released in United States on Video June 25, 1992