Athena (1954)

95-97 mins | Romance, Musical comedy | 5 November 1954

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Producer:

Joe Pasternak

Cinematographer:

Robert Planck

Editor:

Gene Ruggiero

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of the film was Adam and Athena . The order of the opening cast credits differs from that of the end credits. In the opening credits, the leading actors are listed in the following order: Jane Powell, Edmund Purdom, Debbie Reynolds, Vic Damone, Louis Calhern and Linda Christian. A May 1952 HR news item announced that Elizabeth Taylor would star in the film and Arthur Freed would produce. A Mar 1953 HR news item named Charles Walters as director, and Oct 1953 news items reported that Esther Williams, Janet Leigh, Ann Miller and Elaine Stewart would star.
       Studio publicity material contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library reveals that George Sidney was named as the director in Sep 1953. A 4 Mar 1954 news item in HR stated that Edwin H. Knopf would be the film's producer. HR news items from May and Jun 1954 add Charles Murray, Jr. and body builders Joe Baratta (Mr. California) and Irwin Koszewski (Mr. Ohio) to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The song "The Girl Next Door," sung in the film by Vic Damone, was first sung by Judy Garland in the 1945 M-G-M film Meet Me in St. Louis , under the title "The Boy Next Door" (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). ... More Less

The working title of the film was Adam and Athena . The order of the opening cast credits differs from that of the end credits. In the opening credits, the leading actors are listed in the following order: Jane Powell, Edmund Purdom, Debbie Reynolds, Vic Damone, Louis Calhern and Linda Christian. A May 1952 HR news item announced that Elizabeth Taylor would star in the film and Arthur Freed would produce. A Mar 1953 HR news item named Charles Walters as director, and Oct 1953 news items reported that Esther Williams, Janet Leigh, Ann Miller and Elaine Stewart would star.
       Studio publicity material contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library reveals that George Sidney was named as the director in Sep 1953. A 4 Mar 1954 news item in HR stated that Edwin H. Knopf would be the film's producer. HR news items from May and Jun 1954 add Charles Murray, Jr. and body builders Joe Baratta (Mr. California) and Irwin Koszewski (Mr. Ohio) to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. The song "The Girl Next Door," sung in the film by Vic Damone, was first sung by Judy Garland in the 1945 M-G-M film Meet Me in St. Louis , under the title "The Boy Next Door" (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Nov 1954.
---
Daily Variety
29 Oct 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 Nov 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 53
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 53
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 53
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Dec 53
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 54
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 54
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 54
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 54
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 54
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 54
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 54
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 54
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
6 Nov 1954.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
6 Nov 54
p. 201.
New York Times
22 Dec 54
p. 28.
Variety
3 Nov 54
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus supv and cond
Vocal supv
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Hair styles
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Tech adv
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Edmund Purdom
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Girl Next Door," "Vocalize," "I Never Felt Better," "Imagine," "Harmonize," "Venezia" and "Love Can Change the Stars," music and lyrics by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane
"Webson's Meat Jingle," music and lyrics by Jeff Alexander and George Stoll
"Chacun le sait" from the opera La fille du regiment , music by Gaetano Donizetti, libretto by Jules Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean François Alfred Bayard.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Adam and Athena
Release Date:
5 November 1954
Production Date:
late March--early June 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
9 November 1954
Copyright Number:
LP4261
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Eastman Color
Lenses/Prints
print by Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
95-97
Length(in feet):
8,629
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17101
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

After rehearsing his television show, singer Johnny Nyle is greeting his rapturous teenage fans when he is served with a subpoena. Johnny goes to the office of his former Navy colleague, attorney Adam Calhorn Shaw. The stiff, humorless Adam, who comes from a distinguished family, is meeting with his law partners, Grenville, Griswalde and Tremaine, who are advising him on his upcoming congressional campaign. Adam admits Johnny, who says that his former agent is suing him for back commissions, and agrees to help him, instructing him to come by his home later that afternoon. Adam then goes to the nursery to complain about some peach trees he bought for his garden. There he meets an attractive young woman named Athena Mulvain, who tells him she is a numerologist and offers to help him mulch the peach trees. Athena's offbeat ways make Adam uneasy, however, and he declines her offer. Later, Adam is at home having a cocktail with his fiancée, Beth Hallson, when the outspoken Athena shows up. After Beth leaves, Athena happily mulches the peach trees, then gives Adam a big kiss. On her way out, Athena passes Johnny and announces her intention to marry Adam. After a quick numerological analysis, Athena determines that Johnny would be a perfect match for Minerva, one of her six sisters. Leaving the paperwork for his case in Adam's mailbox, Johnny impulsively goes with Athena to meet her sister at the family's health food store. The following morning, Adam is surprised to find Athena back at work in his garden. Beth drops by and reacts jealously to Athena's presence, and Athena slips away before Adam can speak to her. After Adam's ... +


After rehearsing his television show, singer Johnny Nyle is greeting his rapturous teenage fans when he is served with a subpoena. Johnny goes to the office of his former Navy colleague, attorney Adam Calhorn Shaw. The stiff, humorless Adam, who comes from a distinguished family, is meeting with his law partners, Grenville, Griswalde and Tremaine, who are advising him on his upcoming congressional campaign. Adam admits Johnny, who says that his former agent is suing him for back commissions, and agrees to help him, instructing him to come by his home later that afternoon. Adam then goes to the nursery to complain about some peach trees he bought for his garden. There he meets an attractive young woman named Athena Mulvain, who tells him she is a numerologist and offers to help him mulch the peach trees. Athena's offbeat ways make Adam uneasy, however, and he declines her offer. Later, Adam is at home having a cocktail with his fiancée, Beth Hallson, when the outspoken Athena shows up. After Beth leaves, Athena happily mulches the peach trees, then gives Adam a big kiss. On her way out, Athena passes Johnny and announces her intention to marry Adam. After a quick numerological analysis, Athena determines that Johnny would be a perfect match for Minerva, one of her six sisters. Leaving the paperwork for his case in Adam's mailbox, Johnny impulsively goes with Athena to meet her sister at the family's health food store. The following morning, Adam is surprised to find Athena back at work in his garden. Beth drops by and reacts jealously to Athena's presence, and Athena slips away before Adam can speak to her. After Adam's secretary tries in vain to track Athena down, Johnny comes by the office and mentions his own encounter with Athena, and tells Adam where to find her. That evening, Adam goes to the Mulvains' hilltop home, where he finds Athena's sisters dancing in the moonlight while scantily clad muscle men lift weights in the courtyard. Adam meets the robust Grandpa Ulysses, a health food and exercise enthusiast, who introduces him to Ed Perkins and Bill Nichols, the body builders he is training for the Mr. Universe competition. While the family and friends sit down to a supper of peanut burgers, Adam takes Athena aside and tells her there can be no relationship between them. Athena asks Adam to kiss her goodbye, and their embrace quickly grows passionate. When Adam returns home after midnight, bearing an bouquet of ginger blossoms he has been instructed to eat, Beth graciously ends their engagement. Grandma Salome stays up most of the night working out an astrological chart for Adam and Athena, and although she sadly reports that the stars disapprove of Adam's lifestyle, Athena refuses to give up on him. The following day, Adam's casual dress and chipper demeanor puzzle his partners, who demand to know more about Athena. Meanwhile, Athena brings her sisters to Adam's house, and they set about redecorating it for greater cosmic harmony. When Grenville and Tremaine see the house, they tell Adam he must get rid of Athena in the interest of his political career, but Adam assures them that Athena can behave like other people when necessary. To prove it, Adam brings her as his date to an elegant political reception that evening, and Athena charms the guests with her beauty and singing. However, the vegetarian Athena gets into a quarrel with Beth in the buffet line, and flees to the nightclub where Minerva is watching Johnny perform. After comforting her sister, Minerva tells Johnny that if Adam and Athena split up they must, too, as the stars dictate that Athena must marry first. Adam is waiting for Athena when she returns home, and declares his love for her. As he leaves, Grandma cautions Adam to avoid crowds the next day. However, Adam shows up at the Mr. Universe contest the following evening and watches as Grandpa presides over the competition, which Ed narrowly wins. At the press conference afterward, Ed jealously warns Adam to stay away from Athena, and Adam uses his Navy judo training to throw the strong man to the ground. With the television cameras rolling, Athena angrily breaks up with Adam. Later that evening, Adam is visited by his partners, who gravely proclaim his political career dead and offer him an assignment in Bolivia. Johnny then comes by and informs Adam that Athena has consented to Grandpa's wish that she marry Ed. The two men immediately head to the Mulvain home, and Adam criticizes Grandpa for being judgmental. The following morning, Athena comes to Adam's house and says her grandparents agree that love will help them overcome their differences. Later, Adam, Athena, his business partners and the entire Mulvain clan happily sit down to a banquet of fresh fruit. +

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.