Cactus Flower (1969)

103 mins | Comedy | 16 December 1969

Director:

Gene Saks

Producer:

Mike Frankovich

Cinematographer:

Charles Lang Jr.

Editor:

Maury Winetrobe

Production Designer:

Robert Clatworthy

Production Company:

Frankovich Productions, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

Columbia Pictures' acquisition of screen rights to Cactus Flower, Abe Burrows's adaptation of the 1964 French play, Fleur de cactus, was announced in the 12 Nov 1965 DV. At the time, the play was still in previews at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., and was scheduled to debut on Broadway at the Royale Theatre on 8 Dec 1965. Columbia reportedly purchased the property with a down payment of $250,000, plus an "escalator payment" of up to $750,000, depending on the length of the Broadway run. An item in the 16 Jan 1968 DV confirmed that, due to the escalating clause, the payment had increased significantly, as the play was still in its first run at the Royale.
       On 26 Oct 1967, an LAT brief reported that I. A. L. Diamond was hired to adapt the script. Months later, the 27 Jun 1968 DV named Gene Saks as director, and stated that Lauren Bacall was under consideration to reprise the role of "Stephanie Dickinson," which she had originated on Broadway. Dick Van Dyke was briefly considered to play the leading role of "Julian Winston" before the 29 Jul 1968 DV confirmed that Saks had chosen Walter Matthau, with whom he had recently worked on The Odd Couple (1968, see entry). In addition to a salary, the 17 Feb 1969 DV noted that Matthau was promised a percentage of the profits, as was Saks. Matthau was also given co-star approval, and initially he wanted Lee Grant to play Stephanie Dickinson, but the actress had other commitments, the 21 Oct 1968 ... More Less

Columbia Pictures' acquisition of screen rights to Cactus Flower, Abe Burrows's adaptation of the 1964 French play, Fleur de cactus, was announced in the 12 Nov 1965 DV. At the time, the play was still in previews at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., and was scheduled to debut on Broadway at the Royale Theatre on 8 Dec 1965. Columbia reportedly purchased the property with a down payment of $250,000, plus an "escalator payment" of up to $750,000, depending on the length of the Broadway run. An item in the 16 Jan 1968 DV confirmed that, due to the escalating clause, the payment had increased significantly, as the play was still in its first run at the Royale.
       On 26 Oct 1967, an LAT brief reported that I. A. L. Diamond was hired to adapt the script. Months later, the 27 Jun 1968 DV named Gene Saks as director, and stated that Lauren Bacall was under consideration to reprise the role of "Stephanie Dickinson," which she had originated on Broadway. Dick Van Dyke was briefly considered to play the leading role of "Julian Winston" before the 29 Jul 1968 DV confirmed that Saks had chosen Walter Matthau, with whom he had recently worked on The Odd Couple (1968, see entry). In addition to a salary, the 17 Feb 1969 DV noted that Matthau was promised a percentage of the profits, as was Saks. Matthau was also given co-star approval, and initially he wanted Lee Grant to play Stephanie Dickinson, but the actress had other commitments, the 21 Oct 1968 LAT reported. Ingrid Bergman, who ultimately won the role, was sent a print of The Odd Couple to view prior to her casting. The 22 Nov 1968 NYT noted that Cactus Flower marked Bergman's first American film in twenty years.
       When she was cast as "Toni Simmons," actress Goldie Hawn was a regular performer on the variety television show, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (NBC, 22 Jan 1968-14 May 1973), the 2 Jan 1969 LAT reported. Despite conflicting production schedules, Hawn received permission from the show's producers to film Cactus Flower during the day and tape Laugh-In segments at night, as stated in the 7 Jan 1969 DV. The movie role marked her feature film debut.
       Rehearsals were underway by early Feb 1969 at Columbia Pictures studio lot in Hollywood, CA, the 7 Feb 1969 DV stated. A production chart in the 14 Feb 1969 DV announced the start of principal photography on 10 Feb 1969.
       An early Aug 1969 preview screening in Santa Barbara, CA, was met with positive reviews, according to the 5 Aug 1969 DV. The film premiered months later, on 15 Dec 1969, at two separate charity events held in New York City. One premiere, held at the Paris Theatre, benefitted the Children's Division of International Social Service (WAIF), while the other, held at the Astor Theatre, raised funds for Greek Orthodox Charities. The film opened the following day in New York City and Los Angeles. It received positive reviews in the 16 Dec 1969 LAT and 17 Dec 1969 NYT, and went on to become the seventh highest-grossing picture of 1970, as noted in the 6 Jan 1971 Var, with $11.3 million in film rentals, to that time.
       For her portrayal of Toni Simmons, Goldie Hawn won an Academy Award for Actress in a Supporting Role, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture. Other Golden Globe Award nominations included New Star of the Year - Actress (Goldie Hawn), Actress in a Leading Role - Musical or Comedy (Ingrid Bergman), Best Original Song - Motion Picture ("The Time For Love Is Any Time"), and Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy.
       Although the 30 Jan 1969 DV reported that Neal Hefti was signed to score Cactus Flower, Hefti was not involved in the final production. The score, composed by Quincy Jones, was slated to be released on Columbia's Bell Records subsidiary, as noted in a 21 Oct 1969 DV brief.
       According to a 29 Aug 1968 DV brief, Las Vegas performer Wayne Newton might have been considered for a role. The following actors and actresses were listed as cast members in DV casting announcements published between 20 Feb 1969 and 18 Mar 1969: Ralph Roberts; Rick Lamson; Sylvia Stone; Hy Chase; Toni Kaye; Robert Street; Robert Styles; and Don Fergau. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 Nov 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Jan 1968
p. 18.
Daily Variety
27 Jun 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1968
p. 1.
Daily Variety
29 Aug 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Jan 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
29 Jan 1969
p. 16.
Daily Variety
30 Jan 1969
p. 8.
Daily Variety
6 Feb 1969
p. 30.
Daily Variety
7 Feb 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 Feb 1969
p. 10.
Daily Variety
17 Feb 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
20 Feb 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
21 Feb 1969
p. 6.
Daily Variety
28 Feb 1969
p. 8,.
Daily Variety
6 Mar 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
12 Mar 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
17 Mar 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
18 Mar 1969
p. 4.
Daily Variety
13 Jun 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
5 Aug 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Sep 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
21 Oct 1969
p. 11.
Daily Variety
8 Dec 1969
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
26 Oct 1967
Section C, p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
21 Oct 1968
Section F, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
2 Jan 1969
Section F, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1969
Section I, p. 1, 13.
New York Times
31 Jul 1968
p. 33.
New York Times
22 Nov 1968
p. 39.
New York Times
16 Nov 1969
p. 92.
New York Times
17 Dec 1969
p. 62.
Variety
6 Jan 1971
p. 11.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Stills
Gaffer
Best boy
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Props
Props
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's ward
MUSIC
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Ingrid Bergman's makeup supv
Makeup
Body makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Craft serviceman
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Cactus Flower by Abe Burrows (New York, 8 Dec 1965) and the play Fleur de Cactus by Pierre Barillet and Jean Pierre Gredy (Paris, 19 Sep 1964).
SONGS
"A Time for Love Is Anytime," words and music by Quincy Jones and Cynthia Weil, sung by Sarah Vaughan.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 December 1969
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 15 December 1969
Los Angeles and New York openings: 16 December 1969
Production Date:
began 10 February 1969
Copyright Claimant:
Frankovich Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 December 1969
Copyright Number:
LP37305
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
103
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22193
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When middle-aged New York dentist Julian Winston breaks their date, his twenty-one-year-old mistress, Toni Simmons, attempts suicide. She is rescued, however, by Igor Sullivan, an aspiring young author and her neighbor. Despite his bachelor status, Winston has told Toni that he is married and the father of three. Impressed by Toni's abortive attempt on her life, Winston considers marrying her. Knowing that she hates liars, the dentist fabricates a divorce from his nonexistent wife. In so doing he elicits the cooperation of his spinster assistant, Stephanie Dickinson, who, unbeknownst to the dentist, has loved him for ten years. Stephanie plays the role of wife so well that Toni relents, and Winston realizes that his nurse is not only the perfect professional associate but the ideal ... +


When middle-aged New York dentist Julian Winston breaks their date, his twenty-one-year-old mistress, Toni Simmons, attempts suicide. She is rescued, however, by Igor Sullivan, an aspiring young author and her neighbor. Despite his bachelor status, Winston has told Toni that he is married and the father of three. Impressed by Toni's abortive attempt on her life, Winston considers marrying her. Knowing that she hates liars, the dentist fabricates a divorce from his nonexistent wife. In so doing he elicits the cooperation of his spinster assistant, Stephanie Dickinson, who, unbeknownst to the dentist, has loved him for ten years. Stephanie plays the role of wife so well that Toni relents, and Winston realizes that his nurse is not only the perfect professional associate but the ideal mate. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.