The Hucksters (1947)

115 mins | Comedy-drama | August 1947

Director:

Jack Conway

Cinematographer:

Harold Rosson

Editor:

Frank Sullivan

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Urie McCleary

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

This picture marked the American film debut of British actress Deborah Kerr (1921--2007). The novel on which the film is based was a national bestseller. An Apr 1946 HR news item noted that M-G-M paid $200,000 for the motion picture rights to Frederic Wakeman's novel. Although Clark Gable was immediately announced as the film's star, less than a month after M-G-M purchased the rights, a DV news item reported that Gable had turned down the role after reading the script. A biography of Gable quotes the actor's assessment of Wakeman's novel as "filthy and not entertainment." Gable biographies also note that he accepted the role only after major alterations were made in the story, including changing Kerr's character from a married woman to a widow, and the toning down of the novel's sharp indictment of Madison Avenue. In addition, the film ends on a positive note, whereas the novel ends with "Vic Norman" breaking up with "Kay Dorrance" just after quitting the advertising firm.        According to a Mar 1947 NYT news item, second unit director John Waters photographed backgrounds for the film in New York City, including the Fulton Fish Market and Sutton Place. The news item also notes that although Waters shot approaches to Jones Beach in New York, the beach scenes themselves were filmed in California. According to M-G-M studio publicity material, the beach scenes were filmed at Pismo Beach, CA, and the train station sequence was filmed at the Santa Fe station in Albuquerque, NM. A Jul 1947 M-G-M News news item noted that the film was set to open simultaneously in one ... More Less

This picture marked the American film debut of British actress Deborah Kerr (1921--2007). The novel on which the film is based was a national bestseller. An Apr 1946 HR news item noted that M-G-M paid $200,000 for the motion picture rights to Frederic Wakeman's novel. Although Clark Gable was immediately announced as the film's star, less than a month after M-G-M purchased the rights, a DV news item reported that Gable had turned down the role after reading the script. A biography of Gable quotes the actor's assessment of Wakeman's novel as "filthy and not entertainment." Gable biographies also note that he accepted the role only after major alterations were made in the story, including changing Kerr's character from a married woman to a widow, and the toning down of the novel's sharp indictment of Madison Avenue. In addition, the film ends on a positive note, whereas the novel ends with "Vic Norman" breaking up with "Kay Dorrance" just after quitting the advertising firm.        According to a Mar 1947 NYT news item, second unit director John Waters photographed backgrounds for the film in New York City, including the Fulton Fish Market and Sutton Place. The news item also notes that although Waters shot approaches to Jones Beach in New York, the beach scenes themselves were filmed in California. According to M-G-M studio publicity material, the beach scenes were filmed at Pismo Beach, CA, and the train station sequence was filmed at the Santa Fe station in Albuquerque, NM. A Jul 1947 M-G-M News news item noted that the film was set to open simultaneously in one thousand theatres on 15 Jul, and that it would constitute the largest pre-release opening in film history. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Jun 1947.
---
Daily Variety
16 May 1946.
---
Daily Variety
27 Jun 1947.
---
Film Daily
27 Jun 47
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 1946.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jan 47
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Mar 47
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 47
p. 3.
Independent Film Journal
18 Jan 47
p. 44.
Life
28 Jul 47
pp. 103-04.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
28 Jun 47
p. 3701.
New York Times
9 Mar 1947.
---
New York Times
18 Jul 47
p. 21.
Variety
2 Jul 47
p. 13.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Jean Ransom
Harry V. Cheshire
Billy Benedict
Drew Demarest
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost supv
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hair styles des by
Makeup created by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Hucksters by Frederic Wakeman (New York, 1946).
SONGS
"Don't Tell Me," music and lyrics by Buddy Pepper.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
August 1947
Production Date:
early January--late March 1947
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
26 June 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1093
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
115
Length(in feet):
10,368
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
12336
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

War veteran and fast-talking adman Victor Albee Norman returns to his home in New York City, determined to land a high-paying advertising job with the Kimberly Advertising Agency. During his interview with the head of the agency, the nervous Mr. Kimberly, Victor secures Kimberly's permission to take on the company's toughest client, Evans Beauty Soap, which is run by the mercurial Evan Llewellyn Evans. Victor likes the idea of Kimberly's new advertising campaign, in which twenty-five women, whose names have been selected from the social register, are to give testimonials for the soap in exchange for a donation to their favorite charity. The most important socialite on the list, Englishwoman Francis "Kay" X. Dorrance, is easily won over by Victor because she is in need of money, and she readily consents to have her publicity photograph taken. At the photographer's studio, Victor and a representative from the Kimberly agency argue over how Kay should appear, with Victor defending Kay's objections to being photographed in a sultry evening dress. The argument results in an emergency board meeting, during which Victor first becomes acquainted with Evans' unconventional business style. To illustrate his point that consumers can be shocked into paying attention to advertisements, Evans startles the board members by spitting on the table. Although Evans states his belief that a radio ad should irritate its listeners in order to be best remembered, Victor persuades him that the soap should emphasize cleanliness. Victor then dazzles Evans with a new slick, but toned-down radio ad. To celebrate their success with the Evans account, Kimberly and his wife take Victor and Kay out to the dinner ... +


War veteran and fast-talking adman Victor Albee Norman returns to his home in New York City, determined to land a high-paying advertising job with the Kimberly Advertising Agency. During his interview with the head of the agency, the nervous Mr. Kimberly, Victor secures Kimberly's permission to take on the company's toughest client, Evans Beauty Soap, which is run by the mercurial Evan Llewellyn Evans. Victor likes the idea of Kimberly's new advertising campaign, in which twenty-five women, whose names have been selected from the social register, are to give testimonials for the soap in exchange for a donation to their favorite charity. The most important socialite on the list, Englishwoman Francis "Kay" X. Dorrance, is easily won over by Victor because she is in need of money, and she readily consents to have her publicity photograph taken. At the photographer's studio, Victor and a representative from the Kimberly agency argue over how Kay should appear, with Victor defending Kay's objections to being photographed in a sultry evening dress. The argument results in an emergency board meeting, during which Victor first becomes acquainted with Evans' unconventional business style. To illustrate his point that consumers can be shocked into paying attention to advertisements, Evans startles the board members by spitting on the table. Although Evans states his belief that a radio ad should irritate its listeners in order to be best remembered, Victor persuades him that the soap should emphasize cleanliness. Victor then dazzles Evans with a new slick, but toned-down radio ad. To celebrate their success with the Evans account, Kimberly and his wife take Victor and Kay out to the dinner club where Victor's old flame, Jean Ogilvie, is singing, but the night is almost ruined when Kimberly gets drunk. After separating from the Kimberlys, Victor and Kay spend a romantic evening together, culminating in Kay's acceptance of Victor's invitation to meet him at his favorite hotel, the Blue Penguin Inn. On the day of their rendezvous, Victor is surprised to discover that the hotel is under a new and less-than-attentive management. When Kay arrives, she takes one look at the accomodations and, misinterpreting Victor's intentions, immediately returns home. Victor continues to wait for Kay but leaves when he is summoned back to New York. There he is assigned by Evans to go to Hollywood to sign up radio personality Buddy Hare for his show. En route to Hollywood, Victor encounters Jean, and when they fail to rekindle their romance, Jean realizes that he is still in love with Kay. Victor later finds the remorseful Kay waiting for him in his bungalow and they kiss. After Victor and Kay become engaged, Victor works diligently to successfully complete his Hollywood assignment. To do this, Victor blackmails Hare's agent to force the performer to sign up with Evans. Upon returing to New York, Victor suffers a humiliating insult by Evans, who then praises him for his good work. Victor finds the insult so reprehensible that he calls Evans a tyrant, pours water on him and leaves his huckster life for good. Thinking that Kay will leave him now that he has quit, Victor sadly breaks the news to her, but she tells him that she will marry him regardless of his finances. +

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

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