Rock-a-Bye Baby (1958)

95 or 103 mins | Comedy-drama | July 1958

Director:

Frank Tashlin

Writer:

Frank Tashlin

Producer:

Jerry Lewis

Cinematographer:

Haskell Boggs

Editor:

Howard Smith

Production Designers:

Hal Pereira, Tambi Larsen
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HISTORY

Frank Tashlin's screen story and screenplay were inspired by Paramount's 1944 comedy classic, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek , which starred Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton under the direction of Preston Sturges, who also wrote that film's original screenplay (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ) and is given an onscreen story creit on Rock-a-Bye Baby . In Mar 1951, HR reported that George Cukor had been signed to direct a Twentieth Century-Fox production entitled Rock-a-Bye Baby , from an original screenplay by Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon. Later, in Dec 1952, LAT reported that producer Hal Wallis had purchased an unproduced play by the same title and planned to adapt it into a Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis vehicle. Neither of these aborted productions, however, is related to this film.
       Although the opening credits indicate that the picture marked Connie Stevens' film debut, she had appeared in two features the previous year. In numerous cases, contemporary reviews list character names that do not match those used in the film. According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the song "Me and My Baby," with music by Sammy Cahn and lyrics by Harry Warren, was submitted by Paramount for use in Rock-a-Bye Baby , but was not included in the released film. The image of noted comedian Jack Benny appears briefly in the film, as a photograph of "Carlos," the deceased Mexican bullfighter secretly married to "Carla Naples" and the biological father of her children. Rock-a-Bye Baby features Jerry Lewis' son Gary in a small role, that of Lewis' ... More Less

Frank Tashlin's screen story and screenplay were inspired by Paramount's 1944 comedy classic, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek , which starred Eddie Bracken and Betty Hutton under the direction of Preston Sturges, who also wrote that film's original screenplay (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ) and is given an onscreen story creit on Rock-a-Bye Baby . In Mar 1951, HR reported that George Cukor had been signed to direct a Twentieth Century-Fox production entitled Rock-a-Bye Baby , from an original screenplay by Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon. Later, in Dec 1952, LAT reported that producer Hal Wallis had purchased an unproduced play by the same title and planned to adapt it into a Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis vehicle. Neither of these aborted productions, however, is related to this film.
       Although the opening credits indicate that the picture marked Connie Stevens' film debut, she had appeared in two features the previous year. In numerous cases, contemporary reviews list character names that do not match those used in the film. According to the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the song "Me and My Baby," with music by Sammy Cahn and lyrics by Harry Warren, was submitted by Paramount for use in Rock-a-Bye Baby , but was not included in the released film. The image of noted comedian Jack Benny appears briefly in the film, as a photograph of "Carlos," the deceased Mexican bullfighter secretly married to "Carla Naples" and the biological father of her children. Rock-a-Bye Baby features Jerry Lewis' son Gary in a small role, that of Lewis' character "Clayton Poole" as a young boy in a musical fantasy sequence. Although Lewis' father Danny is credited in the CBCS as playing a furniture store owner, his part, as well as that of George Sanders as a master of ceremonies, was cut from the released film. HR news items include Jim Maloney in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       According to Mar 1958 HR news items, Paramount had to have the film's musical score recorded in Mexico City due to a months-long strike by Hollywood musicians. On 19 Mar 1958, HR 's "Rambling Reporter" column claimed that Lewis himself conducted the 100-piece Mexican orchestra. According to a 3 Jun 1958 HR news item, a Los Angeles preview of the film was picketed by the still-striking musicians.
       In an interview published by modern sources, writer-director Don McGuire claimed he had written a script called The Baby Doctor for Lewis soon after the two finished working together on the 1957 Paramount picture The Delicate Delinquent (see above). After Lewis had a minor hit with his recording of the Schwartz-Young-Lewis standard "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody," he insisted that the song be included in their planned production. McGuire refused, and later claimed that Lewis abandoned their project and went to work instead with Tashlin on Rock-a-Bye Baby . In a modern interview, Lewis stated that The Baby Doctor was merely a ten-page treatment authored by him and was registered under his name alone with the WGA. Modern sources indicate that production on the film began on 18 Nov 1957 and ended on 8 Jan 1958, and include Snub Pollard, Chester Conklin and Franklyn Farnum in the cast.
       In 1963, Paramount re-released Rock-a-Bye Baby on a double bill with another Lewis vehicle, 1959's Don't Give Up the Ship (see above). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 Jun 1958.
---
Daily Cinema
25 Jul 1958.
---
Daily Variety
4 Jun 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
5 Jun 58
p. 6.
Harrison's Reports
7 Jun 1958.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 1951.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 57
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Nov 57
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 57
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 1958
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 58
p. 1, 4.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1958
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Mar 1958
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 1958
p. 1, 4.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 58
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 1958
p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
11 Dec 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Jun 58
p. 856.
New York Times
24 Jul 58
p. 18.
New York Times
23 Mar 1963.
---
Variety
4 Jun 58
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr story and scr
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
Men's ward
MUSIC
Mus adpt and scored by
Vocal arr
Lyrics for television commercial jingles
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Mus numbers staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hair style supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Dial coach
Asst to the prod
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"Rock-a-Bye Baby," "The Land of La-La-La," "Love Is a Lonely Thing," "Dormi, Dormi, Dormi," "Why Can't He Care for Me?" "The White Virgin of the Nile," music by Sammy Cahn, lyrics by Harry Warren.
DETAILS
Release Date:
July 1958
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 16 July 1958
New York opening: 23 July 1958
Production Date:
mid November 1957--early January 1958
Copyright Claimant:
York Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 July 1958
Copyright Number:
LP11457
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
VistaVision Motion Picture High-Fidelity
Duration(in mins):
95 or 103
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18859
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Hollywood, voluptuous movie star Carla Naples drowns her sorrows in a bottle of brandy. When her agent, Harold Herman, asks her why she is depressed, Carla confesses that she is pregnant, having secretly married a Mexican bullfighter named Carlos while on a publicity tour in Acapulco four months earlier. After Carlos was killed in the ring the day after their wedding, Carla tore up the license and now has no proof of the marriage. Thinking quickly, Harold tells the studio chief that the actress is going into seclusion for five months in order to prepare for her next film, The White Virgin of the Nile , and Carla decides to leave the infant, after its birth, with her childhood sweetheart, Clayton Poole. Back in their small hometown of Midvale, Indiana, the accident-prone Clayton works as a television repairman. Sandy Naples, Carla's teenage sister, is hopelessly in love with Clayton, but he still carries a torch for the movie star. The same night that Carla secretly gives birth to triplets, Sandy asks Clayton to fix her television set. On his way to the Naples home, Clayton overhears Sandy's intoxicated father, Gigi "Papa" Naples, telling his friends that he will kill Clayton if he finds him with Sandy, having never forgiven the young man for encouraging his oldest daughter to leave home and become an actress. Afraid for his life, Clayton decides to leave town, but is stopped by Carla, who finds him at their old swimming hole. There, Clayton tells Carla that he has never stopped thinking about her, and has always dreamed that someday he would rescue her and ... +


In Hollywood, voluptuous movie star Carla Naples drowns her sorrows in a bottle of brandy. When her agent, Harold Herman, asks her why she is depressed, Carla confesses that she is pregnant, having secretly married a Mexican bullfighter named Carlos while on a publicity tour in Acapulco four months earlier. After Carlos was killed in the ring the day after their wedding, Carla tore up the license and now has no proof of the marriage. Thinking quickly, Harold tells the studio chief that the actress is going into seclusion for five months in order to prepare for her next film, The White Virgin of the Nile , and Carla decides to leave the infant, after its birth, with her childhood sweetheart, Clayton Poole. Back in their small hometown of Midvale, Indiana, the accident-prone Clayton works as a television repairman. Sandy Naples, Carla's teenage sister, is hopelessly in love with Clayton, but he still carries a torch for the movie star. The same night that Carla secretly gives birth to triplets, Sandy asks Clayton to fix her television set. On his way to the Naples home, Clayton overhears Sandy's intoxicated father, Gigi "Papa" Naples, telling his friends that he will kill Clayton if he finds him with Sandy, having never forgiven the young man for encouraging his oldest daughter to leave home and become an actress. Afraid for his life, Clayton decides to leave town, but is stopped by Carla, who finds him at their old swimming hole. There, Clayton tells Carla that he has never stopped thinking about her, and has always dreamed that someday he would rescue her and win her love, like a knight of old. Though hesitant at first, Carla asks Clayton to be father to her triplets for six months, while she films The White Virgin of the Nile on location in Egypt. He readily agrees, and in order to keep her secret, Clayton pretends to find the three baby girls on his doorstep. Though he does not tell her that she is their aunt, Clayton soon enlists Sandy's aid in caring for the triplets. Learning his daughter is with Clayton, Papa rushes over to the young man's house and immediately falls in love with the babies. Having noticed a similarity in features between himself and his granddaughters, Papa accuses Sandy of being their mother, but she tells him that she spent her summer vacation in Hollywood having her teeth capped, not bearing children. The Italian barber soon ascertains the truth when he finds a picture of Carla as an infant in a family album, which even Clayton thinks is a photograph of one of the triplets. Papa then apologizes to the young man for all the bad things he has said about him and thanks Clayton for helping his oldest daughter. Although he is complimented for his care of the three girls, Clayton is soon overwhelmed by the responsibility and becomes bedridden with exhaustion. Mr. Wright, Clayton's boss and chairman of the city council, tries to convince him to give up the infants, but Clayton insists that their mother, "Stella Dallas," will soon return for them. Meanwhile, the wealthy, but childless Van Cleves begin adoption proceedings for the "foundlings." Sandy, in turn, tries to convince Clayton to marry her, so they can adopt the girls. Meanwhile, back in Egypt, Carla receives a letter from her father, telling her how well Clayton is taking care of her children and all the sacrifices he is making for them. Despite Clayton's dedication to the triplets, Judge Jenkins rules that the babies need a "mother," but before the court grants custody to the Van Cleves, Clayton asks for a delay in Jenkins' ruling, then goes to a college in Chicago and becomes a "certified" mother. Weeks later, Clayton returns to the court with his diploma, but Jenkins still rules against him. In desperation, Sandy enters the courtroom wearing a wedding gown, with Papa carrying a shotgun close behind her, claiming that the triplets are hers. Asked under oath if the babies are Papa's grandchildren, Clayton says "Yes," and he and Sandy are immediately married. Carla, however, issues a press release, admitting she is the mother of the triplets, but also stating that she is married to Clayton. Faced with a charge of bigamy, Clayton goes into hiding with the triplets until the truth about Carla's secret marriage to Carlos is revealed. Back in the United States, Carla informs the press that she is engaged to the pleasantly surprised Harold. Freed of all charges, Clayton begins his new life as husband to Sandy. Nine months later, Clayton is shocked to learn that he has just become the father of quintuplets. Soon thereafter, a statue of Clayton and his five babies is erected in front of the Midvale courthouse. +

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

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