Three Blind Mice (1938)

75 mins | Romantic comedy | 17 June 1938

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HISTORY

Contemporary sources note that actors Joel McCrea and David Niven were borrowed from Samuel Goldwyn, and that the picture was partially shot on location at Triunfo, CA. Actor Herbert Heywood's name is spelled "Herb Heywood" in the onscreen credits. According to HR and LAEx news items, Twentieth Century-Fox, in addition to purchasing the motion picture rights, bought the American stage rights to Stephen Powys' play, and executive producer Darryl Zanuck was considering mounting a stage production before the film was released. While information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, including a letter written by Guy Bolton, state that Bolton wrote the play using Powys as a pseudonym, other sources indicate that Powys was the pseudonym for Virginia Lanty, who in 1939 became Bolton's wife. In an autobiography written by Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse, the authors discuss an idea for a musical comedy show that they presented to Florenz Ziegfeld in 1927. Their show, to be called "The Gibson Girl," had a very similar plot to Three Blind Mice , although its relation to the later work has not been determined. Powys' play was later adapted into a musical, entitled Walk with Music , by Bolton, Parke Levy and Alan Lipscott (New York, 4 Jun 1940), and was filmed by Twentieth Century-Fox two more times. The 1941 version, entitled Moon Over Miami , was directed by Walter Lang and starred Don Ameche and Betty Grable, and the 1946 production, entitled Three Little Girls in Blue , was directed by Bruce Humberstone and starred June Haver and George Montgomery. ... More Less

Contemporary sources note that actors Joel McCrea and David Niven were borrowed from Samuel Goldwyn, and that the picture was partially shot on location at Triunfo, CA. Actor Herbert Heywood's name is spelled "Herb Heywood" in the onscreen credits. According to HR and LAEx news items, Twentieth Century-Fox, in addition to purchasing the motion picture rights, bought the American stage rights to Stephen Powys' play, and executive producer Darryl Zanuck was considering mounting a stage production before the film was released. While information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, including a letter written by Guy Bolton, state that Bolton wrote the play using Powys as a pseudonym, other sources indicate that Powys was the pseudonym for Virginia Lanty, who in 1939 became Bolton's wife. In an autobiography written by Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse, the authors discuss an idea for a musical comedy show that they presented to Florenz Ziegfeld in 1927. Their show, to be called "The Gibson Girl," had a very similar plot to Three Blind Mice , although its relation to the later work has not been determined. Powys' play was later adapted into a musical, entitled Walk with Music , by Bolton, Parke Levy and Alan Lipscott (New York, 4 Jun 1940), and was filmed by Twentieth Century-Fox two more times. The 1941 version, entitled Moon Over Miami , was directed by Walter Lang and starred Don Ameche and Betty Grable, and the 1946 production, entitled Three Little Girls in Blue , was directed by Bruce Humberstone and starred June Haver and George Montgomery. Both of these pictures were musicals. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
11-Jun-38
---
Daily Variety
3 Jun 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
18 Jun 38
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 37
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 38
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Apr 38
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 38
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 38
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jun 38
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
4-Mar-38
---
Motion Picture Daily
10 Jun 38
p. 5.
Motion Picture Herald
11 Jun 38
p. 35.
New York Times
18 Jun 38
p. 18.
Variety
8 Jun 38
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Darryl F. Zanuck in charge of production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Contr to scr constr and spec seq
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst cutter
Asst cutter
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
MAKEUP
Hairdresser for Loretta Young
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
Scr clerk
Asst grip
Asst to prod
Props
Cableman
Best boy
Loretta Young's driver
STAND INS
Stand-in for Loretta Young
Stand-in for David Niven
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Three Blind Mice by Stephen Powys (London, 26 Apr 1938).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Isn't It Wonderful, Isn't It Swell," words and music by Lew Pollack and Sidney D. Mitchell.
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 June 1938
Production Date:
28 March--late April 1938
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
17 June 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8381
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75
Length(in feet):
6,736
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4223
SYNOPSIS

After the three Charters sisters, Pamela, Moira and Elizabeth, receive a small inheritance, they leave their Kansas chicken farm for Santa Barbara, California. At a fancy hotel, Pam poses as a wealthy socialite, with Moira playing her maid and Liz her secretary, in order to find a rich husband. They learn from bartender Mike Brophy that likely candidates are rancher Steve Harrington and Van Dam Smith, who comes from a socially prominent family. The next day, Pam arranges to meet Steve and Van, and the young men quickly become enamored of her. Both men accompany her on a whirlwind succession of dinners and dances and jealously fight for her attention. Meanwhile, Mike and Moira fall in love and become engaged. When the sisters realize that they are out of money and will be $100 short even if they check out the next day, Pam convinces Moira to borrow the money from Mike. Pam tells her suitors about her imminent departure, hoping that her announcement will induce one of them to propose. Liz accompanies Pam, Steve and Van on their dinner date and keeps Steve distracted long enough for Van to propose. Pam, who is really in love with Van, confesses to him that she is not wealthy and that she came to Santa Barbara to find a rich husband. He in turn reveals that his family is penniless and that he also came to seek a well-off spouse. Pam promises that their love will be wealth enough, but Van insists that she pursue Steve in order to realize her dream of a better life. Heartbroken, Pam returns to her ... +


After the three Charters sisters, Pamela, Moira and Elizabeth, receive a small inheritance, they leave their Kansas chicken farm for Santa Barbara, California. At a fancy hotel, Pam poses as a wealthy socialite, with Moira playing her maid and Liz her secretary, in order to find a rich husband. They learn from bartender Mike Brophy that likely candidates are rancher Steve Harrington and Van Dam Smith, who comes from a socially prominent family. The next day, Pam arranges to meet Steve and Van, and the young men quickly become enamored of her. Both men accompany her on a whirlwind succession of dinners and dances and jealously fight for her attention. Meanwhile, Mike and Moira fall in love and become engaged. When the sisters realize that they are out of money and will be $100 short even if they check out the next day, Pam convinces Moira to borrow the money from Mike. Pam tells her suitors about her imminent departure, hoping that her announcement will induce one of them to propose. Liz accompanies Pam, Steve and Van on their dinner date and keeps Steve distracted long enough for Van to propose. Pam, who is really in love with Van, confesses to him that she is not wealthy and that she came to Santa Barbara to find a rich husband. He in turn reveals that his family is penniless and that he also came to seek a well-off spouse. Pam promises that their love will be wealth enough, but Van insists that she pursue Steve in order to realize her dream of a better life. Heartbroken, Pam returns to her room, while Van gallantly informs Steve that Pam is in love with him. Steve rushes to Pam and proposes, and after she accepts, the sisters prepare to drive with Steve to his ranch. While they are packing, Mike overhears them discussing their success and angrily denounces them as gold diggers. They lock him in the bathroom so that he does not inform Steve of their deception and then go to the ranch. There they meet Steve's high-spirited sister Miriam, and the next night, the young people go to a club. Van is also there, and Miriam flirtatiously invites him to stay at the ranch, much to Pam's dismay. Pam is more shocked the next day upon discovering that Miriam has hired Mike as a waiter. Mike admonishes the sisters to act like ladies or else he will reveal their schemes, and soon everyone is planning for the wedding, which is to be held the next day. After a celebratory party that night, Pam realizes her love for Van outweighs all else, and she rushes to his room. Van agrees that they must marry, and after Steve finds them kissing, he realizes that he is actually in love with Liz, with whom he has more in common than with Pam. Liz joyfully accepts Steve's proposal, and Moira reveals that she and Mike were secretly married the day before. Mike, who was working in Santa Barbara merely to "experience" life, informs his new sisters-in-law that he and his bride will be going to Montana, where he owns a huge ranch. The correctly paired couples laugh and embrace, while Miriam bemoans her still single status. +

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

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