Frankie and Johnny (1966)

87 mins | Comedy-drama | 31 March 1966

Cinematographer:

Jacques Marquette

Editor:

Grant Whytock

Production Designer:

Walter Simonds

Production Company:

F & J Pictures
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HISTORY

The 10 Apr 1965 LAT announced Elvis Presley’s upcoming starring role in Frankie and Johnny, to be filmed in Los Angeles, CA, and New Orleans, LA. According to production charts in the 9 Jun 1965 Var, principal photography began 24 May 1965 at Goldwyn Studios in West Hollywood, CA. The 26 May 1965 Var reported that the vocal group, The Jordanaires, were in California to record backing vocals for the soundtrack album. The 1 Jun 1965 DV described the production, set in the 1890s, as Presley’s “first costume-and-period” picture, although his debut film, Love Me Tender (1957, see entry), was also set in the nineteenth century. Additional photography took place on the “Lot 3 river set” at MGM Studios in Culver City, CA. Presley reportedly received a salary of $650,000 and fifty percent of profits.
       According to the 3 Jun 1965 DV, filming was interrupted the previous day when director Frederick De Cordova was notified of his mother’s death. Upon receiving the news, De Cordova rushed to his mother’s home, but returned soon after to complete a fight scene between Presley and co-star Anthony Eisley. On 11 Jun 1965, LAT and DV reported that a ceremony was held on set two days earlier, during which Presley donated $50,000 to the Motion Picture Relief Fund (MPRF). Also in attendance were producer Samuel Goldwyn, actor-singer Frank Sinatra, retired comedians Chester Conklin and Bud Abbott, and actress Barbara Stanwyck.
       The 28 Feb 1966 DV announced the scheduled 31 Mar 1966 ... More Less

The 10 Apr 1965 LAT announced Elvis Presley’s upcoming starring role in Frankie and Johnny, to be filmed in Los Angeles, CA, and New Orleans, LA. According to production charts in the 9 Jun 1965 Var, principal photography began 24 May 1965 at Goldwyn Studios in West Hollywood, CA. The 26 May 1965 Var reported that the vocal group, The Jordanaires, were in California to record backing vocals for the soundtrack album. The 1 Jun 1965 DV described the production, set in the 1890s, as Presley’s “first costume-and-period” picture, although his debut film, Love Me Tender (1957, see entry), was also set in the nineteenth century. Additional photography took place on the “Lot 3 river set” at MGM Studios in Culver City, CA. Presley reportedly received a salary of $650,000 and fifty percent of profits.
       According to the 3 Jun 1965 DV, filming was interrupted the previous day when director Frederick De Cordova was notified of his mother’s death. Upon receiving the news, De Cordova rushed to his mother’s home, but returned soon after to complete a fight scene between Presley and co-star Anthony Eisley. On 11 Jun 1965, LAT and DV reported that a ceremony was held on set two days earlier, during which Presley donated $50,000 to the Motion Picture Relief Fund (MPRF). Also in attendance were producer Samuel Goldwyn, actor-singer Frank Sinatra, retired comedians Chester Conklin and Bud Abbott, and actress Barbara Stanwyck.
       The 28 Feb 1966 DV announced the scheduled 31 Mar 1966 world premiere in Baton Rouge, LA. Co-stars Donna Douglas, Sue Ane Langdon, and Nancy Kovack were expected to attend. The film opened 25 May 1966 in Los Angeles, and 20 Jul 1966 in New York City to mixed reviews. While the 25 Mar 1966 DV called it a “surefire boxoffice entry,” the 21 Jul 1966 NYT lamented, “Never has his vehicle formula seemed so feeble and so obvious.”
       Casting notices included veteran character actor Jerome Cowan (28 May 1965 LAT), and James Milhollin (14 Jun 1965 DV). The 10 May 1965 DV noted that Edward Binns had also been considered for a role. “Film Assignments” in the 28 May 1965 DV listed Herb Greene as assistant director.
       Previously filmed in 1936. Some sources credit the dancers as the Earl Barton Dancers. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 May 1965
p. 8.
Daily Variety
28 May 1965
p. 6.
Daily Variety
1 Jun 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1965
p. 7.
Daily Variety
11 Jun 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
14 Jun 1965
p. 4.
Daily Variety
28 Feb 1966
p. 14.
Daily Variety
25 Mar 1966
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
10 Apr 1965
p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
28 May 1966
Section D, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
11 Jun 1965
Section C, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
21 May 1966
p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
27 May 1966
Section D, p. 12.
New York Times
20 Jul 1966
p. 36.
New York Times
21 Jul 1966
p. 20.
Variety
26 May 1965
p. 53.
Variety
9 Jun 1965
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Edward Small Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Prod exec
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Fashion coordinator
MUSIC
Mus & mus dir
SOUND
Sd mix
Sd eff ed
DANCE
Dance dir
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
SONGS
"Frankie and Johnny," words and music anonymous, new words and arrangement by Alex Gottlieb, Fred Karger and Ben Weisman
"Petunia, the Gardner's Daughter" and "Beginner's Luck," words and music by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett
"Chesay," words and music by Fred Karger, Sid Wayne and Ben Weisman
+
SONGS
"Frankie and Johnny," words and music anonymous, new words and arrangement by Alex Gottlieb, Fred Karger and Ben Weisman
"Petunia, the Gardner's Daughter" and "Beginner's Luck," words and music by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett
"Chesay," words and music by Fred Karger, Sid Wayne and Ben Weisman
"Come Along," words and music by David Hess
"What Every Woman Lives For," words and music by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman
"Down By the Riverside," "Everybody Come Aboard" and "Shout It Out," words and music by Bill Giant, Bernie Baum and Florence Kaye
"Look Out, Broadway," words and music Fred Wise and Randy Starr
"Please Don't Stop Loving Me," words and music Joy Byers and "When the Saints Go Marching In" words Katherine E. Purvis, music by James M. Black.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
31 March 1966
Premiere Information:
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, premier: 31 March 1966
Los Angeles opening: 25 May 1966
New York opening: 20 July 1966
Production Date:
began 24 May 1965
Copyright Claimant:
F & J Pictures
Copyright Date:
31 March 1966
Copyright Number:
LP32331
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
87
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Frankie and Johnny, singers on Clint Braden's riverboat, are in love, but Frankie refuses to marry Johnny until he stops gambling and losing all his earnings. A gypsy fortune-teller predicts that a redheaded woman will appear and can reverse Johnny's fortune. Soon after, redheaded Nellie Bly, Clint's former girl friend, comes aboard the riverboat, and Johnny begins to win. Meanwhile, Cully, Johnny's piano-playing sidekick, writes a song, "Frankie and Johnny," that is introduced on the showboat. A music publisher hears the song, likes it, and invites Frankie and Johnny to come to New York City to perform. Hopeful that Nellie's presence will bring him luck, Johnny tries to win enough money to take him and Frankie to New York. Frankie becomes jealous of Nellie, who is only interested in marrying Clint, and breaks off with Johnny; at the same time, Clint admonishes Johnny, telling him to stay away from Nellie. At the Mardi Gras ball in New Orleans, Nellie and Frankie dress exactly alike, and Johnny, thinking he is with Nellie, gambles and wins. When Frankie unmasks, Johnny realizes that she brings him as much luck as Nellie. Clint's dim-witted bodyguard, thinking that he is looking out for his employer's interests, places real bullets in the gun Frankie uses to "shoot" Johnny in the musical number. Luckily, the bullet lodges in a charm Frankie had given Johnny, and he is unharmed. Frankie and Johnny decide to marry, as do Nellie and ... +


Frankie and Johnny, singers on Clint Braden's riverboat, are in love, but Frankie refuses to marry Johnny until he stops gambling and losing all his earnings. A gypsy fortune-teller predicts that a redheaded woman will appear and can reverse Johnny's fortune. Soon after, redheaded Nellie Bly, Clint's former girl friend, comes aboard the riverboat, and Johnny begins to win. Meanwhile, Cully, Johnny's piano-playing sidekick, writes a song, "Frankie and Johnny," that is introduced on the showboat. A music publisher hears the song, likes it, and invites Frankie and Johnny to come to New York City to perform. Hopeful that Nellie's presence will bring him luck, Johnny tries to win enough money to take him and Frankie to New York. Frankie becomes jealous of Nellie, who is only interested in marrying Clint, and breaks off with Johnny; at the same time, Clint admonishes Johnny, telling him to stay away from Nellie. At the Mardi Gras ball in New Orleans, Nellie and Frankie dress exactly alike, and Johnny, thinking he is with Nellie, gambles and wins. When Frankie unmasks, Johnny realizes that she brings him as much luck as Nellie. Clint's dim-witted bodyguard, thinking that he is looking out for his employer's interests, places real bullets in the gun Frankie uses to "shoot" Johnny in the musical number. Luckily, the bullet lodges in a charm Frankie had given Johnny, and he is unharmed. Frankie and Johnny decide to marry, as do Nellie and Clint. +

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.