The Marriage-Go-Round


1h 38m 1960
The Marriage-Go-Round

Brief Synopsis

A Swedish woman wants her American host to father her baby.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Adaptation
Release Date
Dec 1960
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 29 Nov 1960
Production Company
Daystar Productions
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Lakeland--Florida Southern College, Florida, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Marriage-Go-Round by Leslie Stevens and Stanley Colbert (New York, 29 Oct 1958).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

At a Florida campus, Professor Paul Delville and his wife Content, the Dean of Women, who have been happily married for sixteen years, lecture to their respective classes on matrimony. Both recount an experience from their own life as an illustration: One day, Paul and Content await the arrival of two houseguests--Paul's Swedish colleague, Professor Sveg and his daughter Katrin, whom they remember from their last meeting as a gawky teenager. Content, middle-aged and slightly insecure about her appearance, feels threatened when Katrin, who is now a statuesque blonde bombshell, appears and announces that her father has been delayed. After Content excuses herself to dress in preparation for a seminar that evening, Katrin informs the astounded Paul that she has chosen him to father her baby because of his brilliance. When Content enters the room, Paul tells her of Katrin's request, but she feigns amusement and leaves to attend the seminar. In reality, Katrin's declaration has rattled Content, and after her meeting, she turns to her friend Ross Barnett, a happily married language professor, for advice. At the Delville residence, meanwhile, Katrin presents Paul with a nude statue of herself that she has sculpted and then begins to "break down the barrier between them" by pulling a perfumed handkerchief from her bodice and handing it to Paul. As Katrin continues her dance of seduction, Paul hears the sound of Content's car roaring up the driveway and pulls away. Later that night, a sleepless Paul confesses to Content that Katrin threw herself at him and then reconfirms his love for his wife. To distract Katrin, Content asks the school's athletic director to invite them all to tea while the swim team is practicing. When Katrin appears clad in a fitted gold bathing suit, the boys leap out of the pool and flock around her, but she dismisses them as children. The next day, at the Delville house, Katrin lounges languidly in the sun with only a towel concealing her nakedness. Calling Katrin aside, Content scolds her for her behavior, to which Katrin protests that she does not want Paul, just his child. When Content warns her that Paul is off limits, Katrin blithely declares that that is Paul's choice to make. As the Delvilles anxiously await the arrival of Katrin's father, Katrin shows Paul a letter, written in Swedish by her father, stating that his work will prevent him from joining her. Content has gone to the market, and in her absence Katrin passionately kisses Paul. Feeling his resistance rapidly fading, Paul asks Katrin to leave. When Content returns from shopping, Paul tells her of his decision, but she chastises him for succumbing to Katrin's charms and suggests that he allow the girl to see his "true boring self." At Content's insistence, Paul invites Katrin to accompany him to a lecture that night. After Katrin and Paul leave, Content finds the letter and calls Ross to translate, arranging to meet him at the lecture hall. When Content arrives, however, she discovers that the lecture is scheduled for the following day and the hall is empty. After Ross translates Prof. Sveg's letter, Content is certain that Paul betrayed her. When Ross suggests making Paul jealous and starts to flirt with Content, she calls his bluff and asks Ross and his wife Marion to drive her to the airport so she can fly home to her mother in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, Katrin and Paul return home and find the empty envelope on the floor. Paul, concerned, asks Katrin not to tell Content about their failure to attend the lecture, and Katrin agrees on the condition that he kiss her. Just as they embrace, Content comes in and confronts Paul with the letter. After admitting that he took Katrin for a drive and a hamburger, Paul insists that the kiss was innocent. Furious, Content storms out of the house. Afterward, Paul observes that Katrin is really looking for a husband, and Katrin acknowledges that she is no longer interested in him as a biological mate. When Content returns to retrieve some papers, Katrin announces that she is leaving to find a man of her own. After she departs, Paul begs Content to stay, and after he declares that he greatly treasures their marriage, they reconcile.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Adaptation
Release Date
Dec 1960
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 29 Nov 1960
Production Company
Daystar Productions
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Lakeland--Florida Southern College, Florida, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Marriage-Go-Round by Leslie Stevens and Stanley Colbert (New York, 29 Oct 1958).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

The Marriage-Go-Round


Comedies about illegitimate children and sperm donors weren't the normal Hollywood fare in 1960, but they are the subjects of The Marriage-Go-Round (1961), produced by Twentieth Century-Fox, and starring Susan Hayward, James Mason, and Julie Newmar. In it, Hayward and Mason play Content and Paul Delville, who are happily-married for sixteen years, until their lives are upended when the daughter of one of Mason's university colleagues arrives from Sweden and announces that she wants Mason to be the father of her child, believing that her impressive physique and Mason's brains would produce the perfect baby.

Filmed on location at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida and Stage 4 on the Twentieth Century-Fox lot, and with a budget of $3,000,000, The Marriage-Go-Round was directed by Fox veteran Walter Lang, and based on the play by Leslie Stevens, who wrote the screenplay and produced the film. Julie Newmar had co-starred in the play on Broadway with Charles Boyer and Claudette Colbert, and won a Featured Dramatic Actress in a Play Tony Award for her performance, with Colbert nominated for Leading Actress in a Play. The Marriage-Go-Round opened at the Plymouth Theater on October 29, 1958 and ran until February 18, 1960 with an impressive 431 performances, but neither Colbert nor Boyer appeared in the film. The change in casting did not phase Newmar, who later called Mason "a darling, seductive man, but his gossip-columnist wife, Pamela, was very jealous - you had to watch for her claws."

When The Marriage-Go-Round was released in January 1961, the normally tough New York Times critic Bosley Crowther was won over, praising the film and the actors, particularly Newmar, who he called, "the most stupendous thing since the invention of women," and deeming both Mason and Hayward "excellent." Not everyone agreed. Time wrote that Mason "could not crack a joke if it were a lychee nut," and called Hayward "a bargain-basement Bette Davis whose lightest touch as a comedienne would stun a horse." Davidson Hanford in Films in Review thought that Mason appeared "to be having a wretched time, more because of Mr. Stevens' dialogue than because of Miss Newmar." In later years, James Mason would agree with Hanford, referring to The Marriage-Go-Round as "another candidate for the incinerator" and "clumsily and heavily directed, the film is as tedious as tasteless. Its approach to sex is hypocritical, sniggering and unfunny. I played my part in a permanent state of embarrassment."

By Lorraine LoBianco

SOURCES:
Crowther Bosley "Screen: Tangle of Libidos: 'Marriage-Go-Round' in Dual Premiere Here" The New York Times 7 Jan 61
Hanford, Davidson Films in Review Feb 1961
The Internet Broadway Database
The Internet Movie Database
McCarthy, Kevin The Book Lover's Guide to Florida
Reid, John Cinemascope Two: 20th Century-Fox
Sweeney, Kevin James Mason: A Bio-Bibliography
The Marriage-Go-Round

The Marriage-Go-Round

Comedies about illegitimate children and sperm donors weren't the normal Hollywood fare in 1960, but they are the subjects of The Marriage-Go-Round (1961), produced by Twentieth Century-Fox, and starring Susan Hayward, James Mason, and Julie Newmar. In it, Hayward and Mason play Content and Paul Delville, who are happily-married for sixteen years, until their lives are upended when the daughter of one of Mason's university colleagues arrives from Sweden and announces that she wants Mason to be the father of her child, believing that her impressive physique and Mason's brains would produce the perfect baby. Filmed on location at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida and Stage 4 on the Twentieth Century-Fox lot, and with a budget of $3,000,000, The Marriage-Go-Round was directed by Fox veteran Walter Lang, and based on the play by Leslie Stevens, who wrote the screenplay and produced the film. Julie Newmar had co-starred in the play on Broadway with Charles Boyer and Claudette Colbert, and won a Featured Dramatic Actress in a Play Tony Award for her performance, with Colbert nominated for Leading Actress in a Play. The Marriage-Go-Round opened at the Plymouth Theater on October 29, 1958 and ran until February 18, 1960 with an impressive 431 performances, but neither Colbert nor Boyer appeared in the film. The change in casting did not phase Newmar, who later called Mason "a darling, seductive man, but his gossip-columnist wife, Pamela, was very jealous - you had to watch for her claws." When The Marriage-Go-Round was released in January 1961, the normally tough New York Times critic Bosley Crowther was won over, praising the film and the actors, particularly Newmar, who he called, "the most stupendous thing since the invention of women," and deeming both Mason and Hayward "excellent." Not everyone agreed. Time wrote that Mason "could not crack a joke if it were a lychee nut," and called Hayward "a bargain-basement Bette Davis whose lightest touch as a comedienne would stun a horse." Davidson Hanford in Films in Review thought that Mason appeared "to be having a wretched time, more because of Mr. Stevens' dialogue than because of Miss Newmar." In later years, James Mason would agree with Hanford, referring to The Marriage-Go-Round as "another candidate for the incinerator" and "clumsily and heavily directed, the film is as tedious as tasteless. Its approach to sex is hypocritical, sniggering and unfunny. I played my part in a permanent state of embarrassment." By Lorraine LoBianco SOURCES: Crowther Bosley "Screen: Tangle of Libidos: 'Marriage-Go-Round' in Dual Premiere Here" The New York Times 7 Jan 61 Hanford, Davidson Films in Review Feb 1961 The Internet Broadway Database The Internet Movie Database McCarthy, Kevin The Book Lover's Guide to Florida Reid, John Cinemascope Two: 20th Century-Fox Sweeney, Kevin James Mason: A Bio-Bibliography

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

After the brief opening sequence, the story is told in flashbacks by both "Paul" and "Content." According to a March 1959 Los Angeles Examiner news item, Stanley Colbert, who co-wrote the play with Leslie Stevens and was his partner in Daystar Productions, was initially slated to collaborate on the screenplay with him. The extent of Colbert's contribution to the released film has not been determined, however. A July 1959 Los Angeles Times news item adds that Stevens wanted Charles Boyer and Claudette Colbert to reprise their Broadway roles for the film. Julie Newmar played "Katrin" on the stage and screen. Robert Paige, who had been working exclusively in television, returned from a seven-year retirement from the screen to play the role of "Ross." According to studio publicity contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library, backgrounds were shot at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL.
       According to an August 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item, when Paul Gregory, the play's producer, sold the motion picture rights to Twentieth Century-Fox, he retained future television rights to the property, marking one of the first times that the television rights were not included in the purchase of a play. Prior to selling the motion picture rights, Gregory had considered filming the stage play using a multicamera technique and then roadshowing the production, according to a August 28, 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 29, 1960

Released in United States January 1961

Film adaptation of the Broadway play of the same name.

CinemaScope

Released in United States January 1961

Released in United States Fall November 29, 1960