The Kissing Bandit (1949)

99-100 or 102 mins | Romantic comedy | January 1949

Director:

Laslo Benedek

Producer:

Joe Pasternak

Cinematographer:

Robert Surtees

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Randall Duell

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

According to an Aug 1944 HR news item, this film was to mark the screen debut of soprano Marion Bell, who was set for the leading female role. In Dec 1944, another HR news item announced that Frank Morgan and Lina Romay would appear in major roles. Although HR news items in Apr and late Aug 1945 listed John Carroll in the title role, an early Aug 1945 HR news item listed Morgan, Romay, Bell and John Hodiak in the top spots. The starring lineup was changed again in May 1946, when HR announced that Kathryn Grayson and Tony Martin were assigned the leads. Martin was later replaced by Frank Sinatra. In Jan 1947, a HR news item noted that Robert Z. Leonard was set to direct, but he did not participate in the final film. A HR news item notes that portions of the film were shot on location in Sonora, CA.
       The Kissing Bandit marked the first feature film directed by Hungarian-born Laslo Benedek, although he previously had directed retakes for the 1944 M-G-M film Song of Russia (see below). According to mdoern sources, Albert Sendrey provided some of the film's orchestrations. Subsequent to the release of The Kissing Bandit , the film became jokingly known as one of M-G-M's biggest "flops" and an acknowledged lowpoint in the careers of Sinatra and ... More Less

According to an Aug 1944 HR news item, this film was to mark the screen debut of soprano Marion Bell, who was set for the leading female role. In Dec 1944, another HR news item announced that Frank Morgan and Lina Romay would appear in major roles. Although HR news items in Apr and late Aug 1945 listed John Carroll in the title role, an early Aug 1945 HR news item listed Morgan, Romay, Bell and John Hodiak in the top spots. The starring lineup was changed again in May 1946, when HR announced that Kathryn Grayson and Tony Martin were assigned the leads. Martin was later replaced by Frank Sinatra. In Jan 1947, a HR news item noted that Robert Z. Leonard was set to direct, but he did not participate in the final film. A HR news item notes that portions of the film were shot on location in Sonora, CA.
       The Kissing Bandit marked the first feature film directed by Hungarian-born Laslo Benedek, although he previously had directed retakes for the 1944 M-G-M film Song of Russia (see below). According to mdoern sources, Albert Sendrey provided some of the film's orchestrations. Subsequent to the release of The Kissing Bandit , the film became jokingly known as one of M-G-M's biggest "flops" and an acknowledged lowpoint in the careers of Sinatra and Grayson. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Nov 1948.
---
Daily Variety
18 Nov 48
p. 5.
Down Beat
25 Feb 49
p. 8.
Film Daily
18 Nov 48
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 44
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 44
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 45
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 45
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 45
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 45
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 46
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 47
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 47
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 May 47
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 47
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 47
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 48
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 48
p. 3, 9
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Nov 48
p. 4397.
New York Times
19 Nov 48
p. 35.
Variety
17 Nov 48
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
DANCE
Fiesta dance specialty created by
Dance dir
MAKEUP
Hair styles designed by
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
STAND INS
Guitar playing double for Frank Sinatra
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col dir
Assoc
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Dance of Fury" by Nacio Herb Brown.
SONGS
"Tomorrow Means Romance," music by Nacio Herb Brown, lyrics by William Katz
"What's Wrong with Me?" "Love Is Where You Find It," and "Señorita," music by Nacio Herb Brown, lyrics by Earl Brent
"I Steal a Kiss," music by Nacio Herb Brown, lyrics by Edward Heyman.
DETAILS
Release Date:
January 1949
Production Date:
mid May--early August 1947
added scenes began mid March 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
10 November 1948
Copyright Number:
LP1942
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
99-100 or 102
Length(in feet):
9,025
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12671
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1830, when California was a colony of Spain, Chico, an innkeeper and former cohort of the fugitive outlaw known as the Kissing Bandit, learns that the bandit's son Ricardo will be visiting from Boston. In a letter to Chico, Ricardo has written that he has been attending college and intends to help Chico with his "business," but Chico misinterprets the letter and believes that the young man is coming to help him return to banditry. Chico and many of his pals eagerly await the arrival of Ricardo, whom they expect will be as brave and cunning as his father, but their excitement soon turns to disappointment when Ricardo approaches them too quickly, loses control of his horse and crashes through the window of Chico's inn. Ricardo, who knows nothing of his father's criminal legacy and has been told that Chico was a former associate of his father's, faints when Chico tells him the truth. Ricardo balks at Chico's expectation that he will become the new bandit chief, and instead insists that he has come to California to help Chico operate his inn. Determined to make a bandit leader out of Ricardo, Chico disregards Ricardo's objections and dresses the young man in his father's clothes. Although Ricardo proves that he is worthless as a holdup man during the first attempt to lead a stagecoach robbery, the other bandits decide to keep him in the gang and use him to distract the women they are robbing with kisses. During the robbery of a stagecoach carrying Teresa, the daughter of Governor Don Jose, Ricardo, stricken by the young woman's beauty, is unable to leave her with a cheap kiss. ... +


In 1830, when California was a colony of Spain, Chico, an innkeeper and former cohort of the fugitive outlaw known as the Kissing Bandit, learns that the bandit's son Ricardo will be visiting from Boston. In a letter to Chico, Ricardo has written that he has been attending college and intends to help Chico with his "business," but Chico misinterprets the letter and believes that the young man is coming to help him return to banditry. Chico and many of his pals eagerly await the arrival of Ricardo, whom they expect will be as brave and cunning as his father, but their excitement soon turns to disappointment when Ricardo approaches them too quickly, loses control of his horse and crashes through the window of Chico's inn. Ricardo, who knows nothing of his father's criminal legacy and has been told that Chico was a former associate of his father's, faints when Chico tells him the truth. Ricardo balks at Chico's expectation that he will become the new bandit chief, and instead insists that he has come to California to help Chico operate his inn. Determined to make a bandit leader out of Ricardo, Chico disregards Ricardo's objections and dresses the young man in his father's clothes. Although Ricardo proves that he is worthless as a holdup man during the first attempt to lead a stagecoach robbery, the other bandits decide to keep him in the gang and use him to distract the women they are robbing with kisses. During the robbery of a stagecoach carrying Teresa, the daughter of Governor Don Jose, Ricardo, stricken by the young woman's beauty, is unable to leave her with a cheap kiss. Teresa returns home dejected, and mistakenly concludes that she was not kissed because the bandit found her unattractive. In love with Teresa, Ricardo later serenades her, but as soon as he finishes singing, he is shot at by Don Jose's guards and forced to flee. Don Jose, who believes that the Kissing Bandit insulted his daughter by refusing to kiss her, orders the arrest of the young trespasser and sends Colonel Gomez to find him. Later, Spanish tax collectors Count Ricardo Belmonte and General Felipe Torro, who are en route to the governor's hacienda, rent a room at Chico's inn. When Belmonte catches Chico stealing money from the sleeping Torro, a fistfight ensues. After subduing Belmonte and tying both tax collectors to their beds, Chico and Ricardo discover that the men are important officials and that they are carrying a letter of introduction to Don Jose. Ricardo and Chico steal the letter and disguise themselves as the tax collectors to gain entry to the governor's hacienda. At Don Jose's hacienda, Ricardo resumes his romantic pursuit of Teresa, and Chico begins romancing Isabella, the governor's sister. While Chico and Ricardo continue to deceive the governor at a fiesta held in honor of the visiting tax collectors, the real tax collectors escape from Chico's inn and make their way to the governor's. By the time they arrive there, however, Chico and Ricardo have revealed their true identities to Don Jose and have won his friendship. After sending Torro and Belmonte back to Spain, the governor asks Ricardo to stay at the hacienda and gives his blessing to their romance. +

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

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