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HISTORY

The 24 May 1962 DV reported that principal photography was scheduled to begin 4 Jun 1962 at Desilu Studios in Hollywood, CA. However, the 28 May 1962 issue announced the start on 1 Jun 1962 at nearby Producers Studio. According to the 13 Jun 1962 DV, producer Hall Bartlett augmented the film's budget with his own money to add actors Robert Vaughn, Constance Ford, and Susan Oliver to the cast. Financing for the project was provided by United Artists Corp. (UA).
       Three weeks later, the 2 Jul 1962 DV announced that star Robert Stack would complete his role the next day, in order to resume his television series, The Untouchables (CBS, 1959 – 1963). Other castings included Quinn O'Hara (6 Jun 1962 DV), model Merissa Mathes (13 Jun 1962 Var), and Pamela Austin (5 Jul 1962 DV). The 28 Jun 1962 Los Angeles Sentinel identified the home of actress Walla Pearl Curtis as a location. On the evening of 9 Jul 1962, filming took place at Los Angeles County General Hospital in Los Angeles, CA, as stated in that day's DV. An obituary in the 10 Jul 1962 edition noted that actress Virginia Royce, who also appeared in the film, died of a cerebral hemorrhage two days earlier.
       The 1 Oct 1962 DV reported that, although Bartlett was planning a Feb 1963 release, he was considering a one-week engagement in Dec 1963 to qualify actresses Janis Paige and Polly Bergen for possible Academy Award nominations. The picture was currently in ... More Less

The 24 May 1962 DV reported that principal photography was scheduled to begin 4 Jun 1962 at Desilu Studios in Hollywood, CA. However, the 28 May 1962 issue announced the start on 1 Jun 1962 at nearby Producers Studio. According to the 13 Jun 1962 DV, producer Hall Bartlett augmented the film's budget with his own money to add actors Robert Vaughn, Constance Ford, and Susan Oliver to the cast. Financing for the project was provided by United Artists Corp. (UA).
       Three weeks later, the 2 Jul 1962 DV announced that star Robert Stack would complete his role the next day, in order to resume his television series, The Untouchables (CBS, 1959 – 1963). Other castings included Quinn O'Hara (6 Jun 1962 DV), model Merissa Mathes (13 Jun 1962 Var), and Pamela Austin (5 Jul 1962 DV). The 28 Jun 1962 Los Angeles Sentinel identified the home of actress Walla Pearl Curtis as a location. On the evening of 9 Jul 1962, filming took place at Los Angeles County General Hospital in Los Angeles, CA, as stated in that day's DV. An obituary in the 10 Jul 1962 edition noted that actress Virginia Royce, who also appeared in the film, died of a cerebral hemorrhage two days earlier.
       The 1 Oct 1962 DV reported that, although Bartlett was planning a Feb 1963 release, he was considering a one-week engagement in Dec 1963 to qualify actresses Janis Paige and Polly Bergen for possible Academy Award nominations. The picture was currently in postproduction. As stated in the 30 Nov 1962 issue, plans were abandoned for an early release. Composer Elmer Bernstein began recording his score on 31 Oct 1962, according to that day's DV. It was later released on Fred Astaire's Ava Records label.
       An article in the 13 Dec 1962 DV stated that Polly Bergen would tour on behalf of the film for the U.S. Mental Health Association, which was arranging a series of "charity premieres." The 8 Feb 1963 edition noted that President John F. Kennedy's health program addressed many of the same issues presented in the picture.
       The 4 Mar 1963 DV reported that a preview screening was held in late Feb 1963 in Sacramento, CA, for members of the state legislature with an interest in "care of the mentally ill." The audience responded positively, reportedly telling Bartlett that the picture would "accomplish what documentaries never achieved." The release was scheduled for 21 Aug 1963. As stated in the 17 May 1963 edition, a screening was planned for a joint session of the U.S. Congress on 21 May 1963, sponsored by Senator Lister Hill of Alabama, who was chairing President John F. Kennedy's mental health commission. Hall Bartlett, Robert Stack, and screenwriter Henry F. Greenberg were expected to attend. Cast member Joan Crawford, who also appeared in the film, hosted a reception afterward. The 21 May 1963 DV noted that the event was postponed until the following day.
       According to the 22 Apr 1963 DV, three different publicity campaigns were introduced in Savannah, GA, Lincoln, NE, and Phoenix, AZ. Susan Oliver was invited to speak that evening at Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, CA, in honor of the institution's annual Volunteer Recognition Night. Two months later, the 20 Jun 1963 DV announced that Robert Stack was embarking on a thirty-three city promotional tour on 4 Aug 1963. A news item in the 6 Aug 1963 issue noted that twenty-four promotional screenings were planned for members of the entertainment industry, the news media, mental health professionals, government employees, and women's clubs.
       The Caretakers premiered 14 Aug 1963 at the Screen Directors Guild Theater in Los Angeles, CA. As noted in the 11 Aug 1963 LAT, proceeds benefited the Los Angeles Psychiatric Service (LAPS). The event was hosted by the Lamp Minders, a women's charitable organization. The picture opened 21 Aug 1963 in Los Angeles and New York City to unflattering notices. The While the 15 Aug 1963 DV considered it to be a surprisingly "dull picture about a bunch of psychopaths," the 1 Sep 1963 NYT simply described the film as "shabby." The 24 Aug 1963 LAT revealed that patients at Gateway Hospital in Los Angeles found several aspects of the film to be an inaccurate, but approved its positive portrayals of outpatient hospitals and group therapy.
       The picture garnered an Academy Award nomination for Cinematography, Black-and-White (Lucien Ballard), and Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture-Drama, Best Director, and Best Actress-Drama (Polly Bergen). The 27 Aug 1963 DV reported opening-week receipts of $225,000 in Los Angeles and opening-day receipts of $41,695 in New York City. According to the 30 Sep 1963 DV, Robert Stack refused an offer of $800,000 for his twenty-five percent interest in the picture, as he would lose money on the sale.
       Joan Crawford told the 11 Sep 1963 Var that she was "perturbed" with her abbreviated scene in the film. While Hall Bartlett had argued that Crawford's hysterical performance "made her look cheap," the actress believed it suited the role of a woman rejected by her lover. She also complained that the character's brief appearance did not merit her high salary, and suggested Bartlett should have hired a lesser-known actress. The 23 Jun 1962 LAT claimed that Crawford had studied martial arts for the role.
       As noted in the 23 May 1963 DV, a sixty-minute television pilot based on the film was offered to the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) for the 1964-1965 season. Creative Management Agency (CMA) was credited with brokering the deal.
       As stated in the 3 Dec 1963 DV, the cinematic version of the Harold Pinter play, The Caretaker, was re-titled The Guest (1963) for U.S. release, to avoid confusion with the earlier film.
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 May 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
28 May 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
6 Jun 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
13 Jun 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
25 Jun 1962
p. 11.
Daily Variety
28 Jun 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
2 Jul 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Jul 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
9 Jul 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
10 Jul 1962
p. 11.
Daily Variety
1 Oct 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
31 Oct 1962
p. 14.
Daily Variety
30 Nov 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Dec 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
8 Feb 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Mar 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
22 Apr 1963
p. 4, 15.
Daily Variety
17 May 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
21 May 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 May 1963
p. 1.
Daily Variety
20 Jun 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
6 Aug 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
13 Aug 1963
p. 11.
Daily Variety
15 Aug 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
27 Aug 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
30 Sep 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Dec 1963
p. 4.
Los Angeles Sentinel
28 Jun 1962
Section C, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
23 Jun 1962
p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
11 Aug 1963
Section K, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
15 Aug 1963
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
23 Aug 1963
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
24 Aug 1963
Section B, p. 7.
New York Times
18 Aug 1963
p. 107.
New York Times
1 Sep 1963
Section X, p. 1.
Variety
13 Jun 1962
p. 15.
Variety
28 Aug 1963
p. 5.
Variety
11 Sep 1963
p. 86.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Hall Bartlett Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod exec
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st cam
Cam op
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Men's ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
SOUND
Boom op
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Prod secy
Scr supv
Stills
Stills
Dial coach
Prop master
Title drawings
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Caretakers by Dariel Telfer (New York, 1959).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 August 1963
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 14 August 1963
New York and Los Angeles openings: 21 August 1963
Production Date:
began 1 or 4 June 1962
Copyright Claimant:
Hall Bartlett Productions
Copyright Date:
1 May 1963
Copyright Number:
LP25246
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
97
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
20391
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Following the death of her small son in an automobile accident, Lorna Melford suffers a nervous collapse and is confined in a mental institution. Despite her homicidal tendencies, Dr. Donovan MacLeod decides that Lorna is a "borderline case" and places her in a group therapy ward where the patients are given considerable freedom. The group includes also the nymphomaniac Marion; Connie, who hears imaginary voices; Anna, who saw her parents killed in wartime; senile Irene; and Edna, mute and a pyromaniac. Lucretia Terry, the hospital's head nurse, who advocates the use of force in handling the patients, strongly opposes MacLeod's methods. He is almost discredited when Marion steals some alcohol and stages a wild party that ends in brawling and fighting. Lucretia brings charges against him and tries to have him replaced, but the hospital's board of directors gives him a little more time to justify his theories. The crucial moment arrives when Edna, with a torch she has made, attempts to set fire to the group therapy ward. The strong-arm methods of Lucretia's nurses fail to subdue the girl, but Lorna soothingly induces Edna to give up her torch and to speak the first word she has uttered in years. Lorna's apparent cure prompts the hospital board to grant MacLeod permission to open a day clinic for borderline ... +


Following the death of her small son in an automobile accident, Lorna Melford suffers a nervous collapse and is confined in a mental institution. Despite her homicidal tendencies, Dr. Donovan MacLeod decides that Lorna is a "borderline case" and places her in a group therapy ward where the patients are given considerable freedom. The group includes also the nymphomaniac Marion; Connie, who hears imaginary voices; Anna, who saw her parents killed in wartime; senile Irene; and Edna, mute and a pyromaniac. Lucretia Terry, the hospital's head nurse, who advocates the use of force in handling the patients, strongly opposes MacLeod's methods. He is almost discredited when Marion steals some alcohol and stages a wild party that ends in brawling and fighting. Lucretia brings charges against him and tries to have him replaced, but the hospital's board of directors gives him a little more time to justify his theories. The crucial moment arrives when Edna, with a torch she has made, attempts to set fire to the group therapy ward. The strong-arm methods of Lucretia's nurses fail to subdue the girl, but Lorna soothingly induces Edna to give up her torch and to speak the first word she has uttered in years. Lorna's apparent cure prompts the hospital board to grant MacLeod permission to open a day clinic for borderline cases. +

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.