Dear Brigitte (1965)

100 mins | Comedy | 27 January 1965

Director:

Henry Koster

Writer:

Hal Kanter

Producer:

Henry Koster

Cinematographer:

Lucien Ballard

Editor:

Marjorie Fowler

Production Designers:

Jack Martin Smith, Malcolm Brown

Production Company:

Fred Kohlmar Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

Dear Brigitte was based on the 1963 novel Erasmus With Freckles, written by Westwood, CA, dentist-turned-author John Haase. According to items in the 19 Jun 1963 and 1 Jul 1963 DV, the story piqued the interest of singer-actor Bing Crosby, who wished to acquire the property as a star vehicle to be developed at Paramount Pictures or Walt Disney Pictures.
       Later that year, however, the 26 Oct 1964 LAT indicated that the project had moved to Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., with James Stewart assuming the leading role. The casting marked a reunion between Stewart, director-producer Henry Koster, and writer Nunnally Johnson, following their collaborations on Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962, see entry) and Take Her, She’s Mine (1963, see entry). A 14 May 1964 LAT article noted that child actor Bill Mumy was discovered in a Sunday school class taught by Stewart’s wife, Gloria. The 8 Apr 1964 DV suggested Shelley Fabares was considering a role in the picture, but she does not appear in the final film.
       On 15 May 1964, DV reported that Stewart had left for ten days of location filming in Paris, France, where actress Brigitte Bardot agreed to shoot a cameo appearance. According to a 29 May 1964 DV production chart, principal photography began 18 May 1964, and the 1 Jun 1964 LAT stated that Bardot finished her scenes in just three days. As this was the French star’s first role in an English-language film, a 4 Jun 1964 LAT article claimed that Peggy Moran, wife of ... More Less

Dear Brigitte was based on the 1963 novel Erasmus With Freckles, written by Westwood, CA, dentist-turned-author John Haase. According to items in the 19 Jun 1963 and 1 Jul 1963 DV, the story piqued the interest of singer-actor Bing Crosby, who wished to acquire the property as a star vehicle to be developed at Paramount Pictures or Walt Disney Pictures.
       Later that year, however, the 26 Oct 1964 LAT indicated that the project had moved to Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp., with James Stewart assuming the leading role. The casting marked a reunion between Stewart, director-producer Henry Koster, and writer Nunnally Johnson, following their collaborations on Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962, see entry) and Take Her, She’s Mine (1963, see entry). A 14 May 1964 LAT article noted that child actor Bill Mumy was discovered in a Sunday school class taught by Stewart’s wife, Gloria. The 8 Apr 1964 DV suggested Shelley Fabares was considering a role in the picture, but she does not appear in the final film.
       On 15 May 1964, DV reported that Stewart had left for ten days of location filming in Paris, France, where actress Brigitte Bardot agreed to shoot a cameo appearance. According to a 29 May 1964 DV production chart, principal photography began 18 May 1964, and the 1 Jun 1964 LAT stated that Bardot finished her scenes in just three days. As this was the French star’s first role in an English-language film, a 4 Jun 1964 LAT article claimed that Peggy Moran, wife of producer Henry Koster, served as her dialogue coach. The 25 May 1964 DV reported the unit’s impending return to Los Angeles, where the remainder of the picture would be completed. However, the 21 Jul 1964 LAT indicated that additional location work was done in Sausalito, CA.
       According to a 20 Jul 1965 DV news story, scenes shot at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) were not identified as such in the film. Additionally, writers Nunnally Johnson and Hal Kanter revised much of Haase’s “liberal” dialogue to make the picture less political. Kanter, who received sole credit for the screenplay, told the 15 Sep 1964 LAT that Koster was responsible for the addition of Ed Wynn’s character, who acts as a “one-man Greek chorus” narrating the action.
       Dear Brigitte opened in New York City on 27 Jan 1965, and the 16 Feb 1965 LAT announced that the Los Angeles engagement was scheduled to begin the following day. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 Jun 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Jul 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 Apr 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
15 May 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
25 May 1964
p. 12.
Daily Variety
29 May 1964
p. 8.
Daily Variety
20 Jul 1964
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
26 Oct 1963
Section B, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
14 May 1964
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
1 Jun 1964
Section C, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
4 Jun 1964
Section A, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
21 Jul 1964
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
15 Sep 1964
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
16 Feb 1965
Section C, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
19 Feb 1965
Section C, p. 12.
New York Times
28 Jan 1965
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Fred Kohlmar Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstyles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Erasmus With Freckles by John Haase (New York, 1963).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Erasmus With Freckles
Release Date:
27 January 1965
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 27 January 1965
Los Angeles opening: 17 February 1965
Production Date:
began 18 May 1964
Copyright Claimant:
Fred Kohlmar Productions
Copyright Date:
27 January 1965
Copyright Number:
LP29821
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
100
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Robert Leaf, poet and professor teaching at a California college, lives on an old ferryboat with his wife and family and is devoted to the arts but detests science. Unnerved when he discovers that his 8-year-old son, Erasmus, is both tone-deaf and colorblind, he is further horrified to learn that Erasmus is a mathematical genius, and Leaf does his best to keep this a secret. Leaf's daughter, Pandora, begins having her brother do her homework, and she and her boyfriend Kenneth soon have Erasmus handicapping horses for them. They begin to pile up money while Erasmus saves the fees he charges them for a trip to Paris to meet Brigitte Bardot, to whom he has written many letters. A con man calling himself Dr. Peregrine Upjohn makes a proposition to Leaf that they finance a Leaf Foundation to set up scholarships for students of the arts and humanities by having Erasmus handicap horses, and Leaf agrees. The foundation's assets soar until Erasmus refuses to perform his function unless he can accept an invitation he has received to visit Brigitte Bardot in Paris. Leaf takes him to Paris, where he actually meets Bardot, and while they are gone Upjohn plans to abscond with the money. An Internal Revenue agent claims the money from Upjohn, but Leaf and Erasmus arrive in time to inform the agent that the foundation is nonprofit and therefore tax exempt. Leaf takes the money, and life on the ferryboat returns to its usual ... +


Robert Leaf, poet and professor teaching at a California college, lives on an old ferryboat with his wife and family and is devoted to the arts but detests science. Unnerved when he discovers that his 8-year-old son, Erasmus, is both tone-deaf and colorblind, he is further horrified to learn that Erasmus is a mathematical genius, and Leaf does his best to keep this a secret. Leaf's daughter, Pandora, begins having her brother do her homework, and she and her boyfriend Kenneth soon have Erasmus handicapping horses for them. They begin to pile up money while Erasmus saves the fees he charges them for a trip to Paris to meet Brigitte Bardot, to whom he has written many letters. A con man calling himself Dr. Peregrine Upjohn makes a proposition to Leaf that they finance a Leaf Foundation to set up scholarships for students of the arts and humanities by having Erasmus handicap horses, and Leaf agrees. The foundation's assets soar until Erasmus refuses to perform his function unless he can accept an invitation he has received to visit Brigitte Bardot in Paris. Leaf takes him to Paris, where he actually meets Bardot, and while they are gone Upjohn plans to abscond with the money. An Internal Revenue agent claims the money from Upjohn, but Leaf and Erasmus arrive in time to inform the agent that the foundation is nonprofit and therefore tax exempt. Leaf takes the money, and life on the ferryboat returns to its usual pattern. +

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

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