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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Matilda Shouted Fire . Midnight Lace marked the second co-production of Universal and Arwin Productions, which was owned by Doris Day and her then-husband, producer Martin Melcher. According to a 26 Oct 1959 "Rambling Reporter" item in HR , Day quit the Columbia production of Who Is Sylvia (which was never made) in order to star in Midnight Lace . A 26 Mar 1960 LAT news item mistakenly stated that Roddy McDowall would "play Rex Harrison's son." McDowall played the son of Doris Lloyd, who had also played his mother in the 1945 Twentieth Century-Fox picture Molly and Me and the 1946 M-G-M production Holiday in Mexico (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ).
       According to studio press materials, music supervisor Joseph Gershenson appeared onscreen, conducting the orchestra during the ballet sequence. In her autobiography, Day stated that she found the role "painful and upsetting" and collapsed after one emotionally draining scene, causing producer Ross Hunter to shut down production briefly. The film marked the American feature debut of Natasha Parry. Costume designer Irene was nominated for an Academy Award for Midnight Lace . The film marked her return to cinema costume design after an absence of ten years, due to what she referred to in a Nov 1960 LAT article as the "downbeat" nature of ... More Less

The working title of this film was Matilda Shouted Fire . Midnight Lace marked the second co-production of Universal and Arwin Productions, which was owned by Doris Day and her then-husband, producer Martin Melcher. According to a 26 Oct 1959 "Rambling Reporter" item in HR , Day quit the Columbia production of Who Is Sylvia (which was never made) in order to star in Midnight Lace . A 26 Mar 1960 LAT news item mistakenly stated that Roddy McDowall would "play Rex Harrison's son." McDowall played the son of Doris Lloyd, who had also played his mother in the 1945 Twentieth Century-Fox picture Molly and Me and the 1946 M-G-M production Holiday in Mexico (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ).
       According to studio press materials, music supervisor Joseph Gershenson appeared onscreen, conducting the orchestra during the ballet sequence. In her autobiography, Day stated that she found the role "painful and upsetting" and collapsed after one emotionally draining scene, causing producer Ross Hunter to shut down production briefly. The film marked the American feature debut of Natasha Parry. Costume designer Irene was nominated for an Academy Award for Midnight Lace . The film marked her return to cinema costume design after an absence of ten years, due to what she referred to in a Nov 1960 LAT article as the "downbeat" nature of movies. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Movie Classics Magazine
Jul 1993
pp. 6-7.
Box Office
10 Oct 1960.
---
Box Office
17 Oct 1960.
---
Daily Variety
14 Oct 60
p. 3.
Film Daily
18 Oct 60
p. 6.
Filmfacts
1960
pp. 266-7.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Oct 1959
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 1960
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 1960
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 1960
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1960
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 1960
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 60
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
26 Mar 1960.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Nov 1960.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Oct 60
p. 884.
New York Times
14 Oct 60
p. 27.
Variety
19 Oct 60
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Ross Hunter--Arwin Production
Edward Muhl in chareg of Production; A Ross Hunter--Arwin Production
Edward Muhl in Charge of Production; A Ross Hunter--Arwin Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss Day's cost
Jewels
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Dial supv
Unit pub
Unit pub
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Matilda Shouted Fire by Janet Green (1958, production undetermined).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Midnight Lace" by Joe Lubin and Jerome Howard
"What Does a Woman Do?" by Allie Wrubel and Maxwell Anderson.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Matilda Shouted Fire
Release Date:
November 1960
Premiere Information:
World premiere in New York: 13 October 1960
Production Date:
23 March--late May 1960
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., Inc. & Arwin Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
20 October 1960
Copyright Number:
LP24727
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Eastman Color by Pathé
Duration(in mins):
107-108
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19676
SYNOPSIS

In London, as American heiress Kit Preston struggles home through a dense fog, she is frightened by a disembodied voice that threatens to kill her. She races to the apartment she shares with Anthony, her financier husband of three months, where Tony dismisses the incident as a typical British practical joke, and distracts Kit by offering to take her on a romantic trip to Venice. The next day, Tony conducts a board meeting at which client Victor Elliott protests that someone has been devaluing his stock and then buying it out from under him. Tony, who is unaware that his treasurer, Charles Manning, carries large gambling debts, promises to investigate. When Kit arrives for lunch, Tony informs her that, once again, he must cancel their date in order to work. A gaunt stranger watches Kit as she returns to the apartment, where she is almost knocked down by a falling girder from the construction site that abuts the building. Contractor Brian Younger pushes Kit to safety, then alarms her by revealing that he knows her name. At home, Malcolm Stanley, the son of Kit’s maid Nora, visits and annoys Kit with his typical shiftless, unctuous behavior. As soon as he leaves, the threatening voice calls on the telephone, again claiming he will kill Kit. Her neighbor Peggy visits soon after and, noting Kit’s extreme anxiety, calls Tony. He brings Kit to Scotland Yard, where Inspector Byrnes questions her but surreptitiously suggests to Tony that her fears may be the hysterical invention of a lonely housewife who wants her husband’s attention. Soon after, Kit prepares to go out with her beloved aunt, Bea Coleman, who is visiting London. Although Bea’s ... +


In London, as American heiress Kit Preston struggles home through a dense fog, she is frightened by a disembodied voice that threatens to kill her. She races to the apartment she shares with Anthony, her financier husband of three months, where Tony dismisses the incident as a typical British practical joke, and distracts Kit by offering to take her on a romantic trip to Venice. The next day, Tony conducts a board meeting at which client Victor Elliott protests that someone has been devaluing his stock and then buying it out from under him. Tony, who is unaware that his treasurer, Charles Manning, carries large gambling debts, promises to investigate. When Kit arrives for lunch, Tony informs her that, once again, he must cancel their date in order to work. A gaunt stranger watches Kit as she returns to the apartment, where she is almost knocked down by a falling girder from the construction site that abuts the building. Contractor Brian Younger pushes Kit to safety, then alarms her by revealing that he knows her name. At home, Malcolm Stanley, the son of Kit’s maid Nora, visits and annoys Kit with his typical shiftless, unctuous behavior. As soon as he leaves, the threatening voice calls on the telephone, again claiming he will kill Kit. Her neighbor Peggy visits soon after and, noting Kit’s extreme anxiety, calls Tony. He brings Kit to Scotland Yard, where Inspector Byrnes questions her but surreptitiously suggests to Tony that her fears may be the hysterical invention of a lonely housewife who wants her husband’s attention. Soon after, Kit prepares to go out with her beloved aunt, Bea Coleman, who is visiting London. Although Bea’s presence calms her, Tony further upsets Kit by canceling their Venice trip in order to take care of a business emergency. Just then, the phone rings again, and although Tony tries to listen in, before he can hear anything, Kit hangs up, unable to endure the caller’s vile words. They meet Bea and Charles, her old beau, at a nightclub, where Bea questions Tony about Kit’s agitation. After Tony mentions Byrnes’s suspicion, Bea also wonders if Kit could be inventing the threats. The next day, Kit is in the apartment building elevator when it becomes jammed. The sound of footsteps approaching the dark car causes her to panic, but it is only Brian, whose construction work has disrupted the building electronics, attempting to rescue her. He takes her to a local pub, where he commiserates with her panic by describing his experience while trapped in a burning tank during World War II. His intensity makes her uneasy, and she returns home. A few days later, Kit, Tony, Bea and Charles attend the ballet, but Tony is called to the office by his assistant, Daniel Graham, who has discovered that someone has embezzled one million pounds from their business accounts in order to buy out Elliott. At the same time that Daniel, who covets the position of company treasurer, suggests that Charles is the culprit, Malcolm slips into Kit’s box at the ballet to pester her for money, and vaguely threatens her when she demurs. Over the next few days, Kit becomes increasingly paranoid, but none of her suspicions amount to anything. One day, however, a threatening call is followed by a visit by the gaunt man, and when Kit screams, Brian hears her and races into the apartment. No intruder can be found, and after Byrnes is called, he once again doubts Kit’s story. Later, Tony promises to take Kit away to Venice, but the next day, she spots the gaunt man in the street and soon after is pushed in front of a bus. Kit is unhurt but frantic, and after Peggy helps her inside, she begs her neighbor to lie to Tony that she has heard the voice on the phone. Peggy reluctantly complies, but Tony reveals that the phone has been out of order all day. He then invites Bea over and secretly reveals Kit’s fib. When the phone then rings, Kit insists that Bea answer and pretend to be her, but Bea is dismayed when she hears the voice ask what time Kit wants him to call her. Now convinced that Kit is delusional, Tony and Bea send her to a psychiatrist, who suggests she may have a split personality. Tony decides to take Kit to Venice the following day, and later, while she is packing, calls Bea to stay with Kit while he attends a board meeting. Before he leaves, the voice phones again, and when this time Tony hears it, he phones Byrnes to ask him to surround the building. While Tony formulates a plan to appear to have left the building, thus enticing the man to attack, outside Brian spots the gaunt man and tails him. Tony leaves briefly, then returns in secret. Just then, the caller phones to announce that he is coming to kill Kit. In the dark, a man enters with a gun drawn, and Tony tackles him to the ground. After a struggle, Tony emerges victorious, but suddenly turns on Kit and admits that he and Peggy have conspired to make the threatening phone calls. They now plan to kill her, making her death appear to be an hysterical suicide, in order to collect her inheritance, which Tony will use to repay the million pounds he has stolen from his business. Just as Tony attacks Kit, the gaunt man reveals himself to be Peggy’s absent husband Roy, who has discovered her affair and wants to murder her. Kit races to the door, where she discovers Byrnes, who reveals that he had tapped the Prestons’ phone and heard Tony make a fake phone call to the police. While Byrnes arrests Tony and Peggy, Brian and Bea lead Kit to safety. +

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

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