Three Blind Mice


1h 15m 1938

Brief Synopsis

Three sisters take their small inheritance and move from Kansas to California in search of rich husbands. To start with Pamela poses as a socialite and Moira and Elizabeth pretend to be her staff.

Film Details

Release Date
Jun 17, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Three Blind Mice by Stephen Powys (London, 26 Apr 1938).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,736ft (8 reels)

Synopsis

After the three Charters sisters, Pamela, Moira and Elizabeth, receive a small inheritance, they leave their Kansas chicken farm for Santa Barbara, California. At a fancy hotel, Pam poses as a wealthy socialite, with Moira playing her maid and Liz her secretary, in order to find a rich husband. They learn from bartender Mike Brophy that likely candidates are rancher Steve Harrington and Van Dam Smith, who comes from a socially prominent family. The next day, Pam arranges to meet Steve and Van, and the young men quickly become enamored of her. Both men accompany her on a whirlwind succession of dinners and dances and jealously fight for her attention. Meanwhile, Mike and Moira fall in love and become engaged. When the sisters realize that they are out of money and will be $100 short even if they check out the next day, Pam convinces Moira to borrow the money from Mike. Pam tells her suitors about her imminent departure, hoping that her announcement will induce one of them to propose. Liz accompanies Pam, Steve and Van on their dinner date and keeps Steve distracted long enough for Van to propose. Pam, who is really in love with Van, confesses to him that she is not wealthy and that she came to Santa Barbara to find a rich husband. He in turn reveals that his family is penniless and that he also came to seek a well-off spouse. Pam promises that their love will be wealth enough, but Van insists that she pursue Steve in order to realize her dream of a better life. Heartbroken, Pam returns to her room, while Van gallantly informs Steve that Pam is in love with him. Steve rushes to Pam and proposes, and after she accepts, the sisters prepare to drive with Steve to his ranch. While they are packing, Mike overhears them discussing their success and angrily denounces them as gold diggers. They lock him in the bathroom so that he does not inform Steve of their deception and then go to the ranch. There they meet Steve's high-spirited sister Miriam, and the next night, the young people go to a club. Van is also there, and Miriam flirtatiously invites him to stay at the ranch, much to Pam's dismay. Pam is more shocked the next day upon discovering that Miriam has hired Mike as a waiter. Mike admonishes the sisters to act like ladies or else he will reveal their schemes, and soon everyone is planning for the wedding, which is to be held the next day. After a celebratory party that night, Pam realizes her love for Van outweighs all else, and she rushes to his room. Van agrees that they must marry, and after Steve finds them kissing, he realizes that he is actually in love with Liz, with whom he has more in common than with Pam. Liz joyfully accepts Steve's proposal, and Moira reveals that she and Mike were secretly married the day before. Mike, who was working in Santa Barbara merely to "experience" life, informs his new sisters-in-law that he and his bride will be going to Montana, where he owns a huge ranch. The correctly paired couples laugh and embrace, while Miriam bemoans her still single status.

Film Details

Release Date
Jun 17, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Three Blind Mice by Stephen Powys (London, 26 Apr 1938).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,736ft (8 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Contemporary sources note that actors Joel McCrea and David Niven were borrowed from Samuel Goldwyn, and that the picture was partially shot on location at Triunfo, CA. Actor Herbert Heywood's name is spelled "Herb Heywood" in the onscreen credits. According to Hollywood Reporter and Los Angeles Examiner news items, Twentieth Century-Fox, in addition to purchasing the motion picture rights, bought the American stage rights to Stephen Powys' play, and executive producer Darryl Zanuck was considering mounting a stage production before the film was released. While information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, including a letter written by Guy Bolton, state that Bolton wrote the play using Powys as a pseudonym, other sources indicate that Powys was the pseudonym for Virginia Lanty, who in 1939 became Bolton's wife. In an autobiography written by Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse, the authors discuss an idea for a musical comedy show that they presented to Florenz Ziegfeld in 1927. Their show, to be called "The Gibson Girl," had a very similar plot to Three Blind Mice, although its relation to the later work has not been determined. Powys' play was later adapted into a musical, entitled Walk with Music, by Bolton, Parke Levy and Alan Lipscott (New York, 4 June 1940), and was filmed by Twentieth Century-Fox two more times. The 1941 version, entitled Moon Over Miami, was directed by Walter Lang and starred Don Ameche and Betty Grable, and the 1946 production, entitled Three Little Girls in Blue, was directed by Bruce Humberstone and starred June Haver and George Montgomery. Both of these pictures were musicals.