Bedtime Story (1964)

99 mins | Romantic comedy | 10 June 1964

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HISTORY

Development began under the working title King of the Mountain. According to a 24 Sep 1962 DV news item, Rock Hudson was originally considered for the role of smalltime confidence man “Freddy Benson” opposite Cary Grant’s sophisticated, more seasoned criminal, “Lawrence Jamison.” When Grant was unavailable, Universal Pictures considered having Hudson play the older character, with Warren Beatty stepping in as his co-star. However, the roles eventually went to Marlon Brando and David Niven, with many contemporary sources noting that the picture marked Brando’s first foray into comedy.
       Once the two leads were secured, the search began for a female co-star. Several DV items named Mitzi Gaynor, Hope Lange, Angie Dickinson, and Sheila MacRae among the possible contenders before Shirley Jones joined the cast. Casting announcements throughout the spring and summer also noted the inclusion of Jan Moriarty, Danica D’Hondt, Beverly St. Lawrence, and Ron Waller, but their participation could not be confirmed.
       According to items in the 17 Jul 1962 and 10 Aug 1962 DV, original plans to shoot primarily on locations in Europe were renegotiated to accommodate Brando’s request to remain in Hollywood. However, some exteriors still needed to be shot in France, and a 29 Mar 1963 DV brief announced that first-time feature film director Ralph Levy had departed for Southern France to scout locations with members of the technical crew, including script supervisor Robert Forrest.
       Principal photography began 16 Apr 1963, as reported in a DV production chart three days later. Briefs in the 3 May 1963 and 17 May 1963 DV stated that the unit spent a total ... More Less

Development began under the working title King of the Mountain. According to a 24 Sep 1962 DV news item, Rock Hudson was originally considered for the role of smalltime confidence man “Freddy Benson” opposite Cary Grant’s sophisticated, more seasoned criminal, “Lawrence Jamison.” When Grant was unavailable, Universal Pictures considered having Hudson play the older character, with Warren Beatty stepping in as his co-star. However, the roles eventually went to Marlon Brando and David Niven, with many contemporary sources noting that the picture marked Brando’s first foray into comedy.
       Once the two leads were secured, the search began for a female co-star. Several DV items named Mitzi Gaynor, Hope Lange, Angie Dickinson, and Sheila MacRae among the possible contenders before Shirley Jones joined the cast. Casting announcements throughout the spring and summer also noted the inclusion of Jan Moriarty, Danica D’Hondt, Beverly St. Lawrence, and Ron Waller, but their participation could not be confirmed.
       According to items in the 17 Jul 1962 and 10 Aug 1962 DV, original plans to shoot primarily on locations in Europe were renegotiated to accommodate Brando’s request to remain in Hollywood. However, some exteriors still needed to be shot in France, and a 29 Mar 1963 DV brief announced that first-time feature film director Ralph Levy had departed for Southern France to scout locations with members of the technical crew, including script supervisor Robert Forrest.
       Principal photography began 16 Apr 1963, as reported in a DV production chart three days later. Briefs in the 3 May 1963 and 17 May 1963 DV stated that the unit spent a total of twelve days in the French Riviera before returning to the studio backlot in Universal City, CA, for the remainder of the shooting schedule. Just a few days later, however, Brando fell ill on the set and was hospitalized for what the 12 May 1963 LAT referred to as a “virus condition.” Subsequent sources, including a 29 May 1963 DV report, revealed that Brando suffered from a recurring kidney ailment, and his temporary incapacitation threatened to stall completion of his remaining scenes. The following month, the 28 Jun 1963 DV indicated that Brando had long since resumed work and was shooting a scene on location in Malibu, CA. According to an 18 Jul 1963 DV article, principal photography concluded the evening of 16 Jul 1963, and the next day, Brando returned to the hospital.
       Articles in the 17 May 1963 and 29 May 1963 LAT suggested that the value of the Cartier jewels worn by Shirley Jones and Marie Windsor in the film exceeded $3 million.
       On 18 Sep 1963, DV reported that Universal was considering a new title, as King of the Mountain did not test well with focus groups, and the change to Bedtime Story was officially announced in the 1 Oct 1963 issue. A 3 Jun 1964 Var brief reported that Fawcett Publications’ Gold Medal Books would release a paperback tie-in to promote the film’s release.
       Bedtime Story launched an exclusive two-week run at the RKO Palace Theatre in New York City on 10 Jun 1964. According to the 27 May 1964 DV, a three-week “Premiere Showcase” was set to follow before distribution was expanded to other key cities that Jun. Although national release was scheduled for Jul 1964, the picture did not open in Los Angeles until a month later, when it began an engagement at the Fox Wilshire Theater on 14 Aug 1964.
       Bedtime Story marked the motion picture debut of actress Dody Goodman, who had appeared in many Broadway shows since the early 1940s.
       The film provided the basis for the 1988 Orion Pictures release Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (see entry), directed by Frank Oz and starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine. That film, in turn, was adapted into a Broadway musical of the same name, starring John Lithgow. The musical opened in New York City on 3 Mar 2005. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Jul 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
10 Aug 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
24 Sep 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
15 Oct 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Dec 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Mar 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Mar 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
29 Mar 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Apr 1963
p. 8.
Daily Variety
3 May 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 May 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 May 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
29 May 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
28 Jun 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
18 Jul 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
18 Sep 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Oct 1963
p. 11.
Daily Variety
27 May 1964
p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
12 May 1963
p. A.
Los Angeles Times
17 May 1963
Section C, p. 1, 4.
Los Angeles Times
29 May 1963
Section D, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
17 Dec 1963
Section D, p. 16.
New York Times
14 Jul 1963
p. 69.
New York Times
11 Jun 1964
p. 27.
Variety
26 Dec 1962
p. 7.
Variety
27 May 1964
p. 20.
Variety
3 Jun 1964
p. 6.
Variety
3 Jun 1964
p. 13.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
King of the Mountain
Release Date:
10 June 1964
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 10 June 1964
Los Angeles opening: 14 August 1964
Production Date:
16 April--16 July 1963
Copyright Claimant:
Lankershim Co.
Copyright Date:
4 July 1963
Copyright Number:
LP32601
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color by Pathé
Duration(in mins):
99
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Cpl. Freddy Benson is a successful smalltime con artist who, while stationed in Europe, seduces women, accepts money and gifts from them, and then moves on. Discharged from the Army because of an affair with a mayor's daughter, he heads for the French Riviera. There he meets another womanizer, Lawrence Jamison, a sophisticated counterpart who works on a much grander scale, posing as royalty. Freddy begins to encroach on Jamison when he appears as the "prince's" idiot brother. With the arrival of Janet Walker, an American reputed to be a "soap queen," they wager on who will be the first to divest her of $25,000 and the one to remain on the Riviera. Freddy plays a psychosomatic cripple who has lost the use of his legs because of an unfaithful sweetheart. He pretends that he needs money to engage the services of a Swiss psychiatrist, Dr. Schaffhausen. As a counter to Freddy's charade, Jamison poses as Schaffhausen. Freddy's charm triumphs until it is found that Janet is not a soap heiress but rather the winner of a beauty contest. Because Freddy has fallen in love with her and wants to marry her, he concedes the victory to Jamison, who then continues unchallenged in his ... +


Cpl. Freddy Benson is a successful smalltime con artist who, while stationed in Europe, seduces women, accepts money and gifts from them, and then moves on. Discharged from the Army because of an affair with a mayor's daughter, he heads for the French Riviera. There he meets another womanizer, Lawrence Jamison, a sophisticated counterpart who works on a much grander scale, posing as royalty. Freddy begins to encroach on Jamison when he appears as the "prince's" idiot brother. With the arrival of Janet Walker, an American reputed to be a "soap queen," they wager on who will be the first to divest her of $25,000 and the one to remain on the Riviera. Freddy plays a psychosomatic cripple who has lost the use of his legs because of an unfaithful sweetheart. He pretends that he needs money to engage the services of a Swiss psychiatrist, Dr. Schaffhausen. As a counter to Freddy's charade, Jamison poses as Schaffhausen. Freddy's charm triumphs until it is found that Janet is not a soap heiress but rather the winner of a beauty contest. Because Freddy has fallen in love with her and wants to marry her, he concedes the victory to Jamison, who then continues unchallenged in his field. +

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

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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.