Goodbye Charlie (1964)

117 mins | Comedy | 18 November 1964

Director:

Vincente Minnelli

Writer:

Harry Kurnitz

Producer:

David Weisbart

Cinematographer:

Milton Krasner

Editor:

John W. Holmes

Production Designers:

Jack Martin Smith, Richard Day

Production Company:

Venice Productions
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HISTORY

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. optioned George Axelrod’s 1959 play, Goodbye Charlie, circa 1961, according to a 14 Feb 1962 Var item, which stated that the film adaptation had been in the works for “some months.” Marilyn Monroe was approached to play “Charlie, a female,” but she turned down the role because she “didn’t think she would be convincing as a boy.” Several months later, the 29 Oct 1962 DV reported that director Billy Wilder had rejected overtures from Twentieth Century-Fox president Darryl F. Zanuck, who’d written him a letter about his rumored interest in Goodbye Charlie. Wilder’s response accused Zanuck of unceremoniously firing Joseph L. Mankiewicz from Cleopatra (1963, see entry), and declared the following: “No self-respecting picture maker would ever want to work for your company. The sooner the bulldozers raze your studio, the better it will be for the industry.” Norman Jewison also turned down the opportunity to direct, and Shirley MacLaine was sought to play Charlie, but was not cast, according to the 12 Aug 1963 and 17 Feb 1964 issues of DV.
       Vincente Minnelli signed on to direct Goodbye Charlie, which marked his first picture away from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., since he began his career there in 1942, as stated in the 21 Jan 1964 NYT. Filming began on 16 or 18 Mar 1964, at the Fox studio lot in Century City, CA, and on location around Los Angeles, CA, including the Los Angeles International Airport and Malibu, CA, according to the 20 Feb 1964 LAT. For some sequences, Walter Matthau (as “Sir Leopold Sartori”) was filmed ...

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Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. optioned George Axelrod’s 1959 play, Goodbye Charlie, circa 1961, according to a 14 Feb 1962 Var item, which stated that the film adaptation had been in the works for “some months.” Marilyn Monroe was approached to play “Charlie, a female,” but she turned down the role because she “didn’t think she would be convincing as a boy.” Several months later, the 29 Oct 1962 DV reported that director Billy Wilder had rejected overtures from Twentieth Century-Fox president Darryl F. Zanuck, who’d written him a letter about his rumored interest in Goodbye Charlie. Wilder’s response accused Zanuck of unceremoniously firing Joseph L. Mankiewicz from Cleopatra (1963, see entry), and declared the following: “No self-respecting picture maker would ever want to work for your company. The sooner the bulldozers raze your studio, the better it will be for the industry.” Norman Jewison also turned down the opportunity to direct, and Shirley MacLaine was sought to play Charlie, but was not cast, according to the 12 Aug 1963 and 17 Feb 1964 issues of DV.
       Vincente Minnelli signed on to direct Goodbye Charlie, which marked his first picture away from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., since he began his career there in 1942, as stated in the 21 Jan 1964 NYT. Filming began on 16 or 18 Mar 1964, at the Fox studio lot in Century City, CA, and on location around Los Angeles, CA, including the Los Angeles International Airport and Malibu, CA, according to the 20 Feb 1964 LAT. For some sequences, Walter Matthau (as “Sir Leopold Sartori”) was filmed driving co-star Tony Curtis’s 1932 Rolls Royce, which Curtis lent to the production, the 2 Apr 1964 DV stated. Also borrowed from Darryl F. Zanuck were five Academy Award statuettes, which appeared on Sir Leopold Sartori’s desk. Since actress Ellen McRae (later known as Ellen Burstyn) was required to knit onscreen, the 5 Apr 1964 LAT noted that a studio seamstress was brought on set to coach her.
       In the midst of production, a 10 Apr 1964 DV news item announced that Debbie Reynolds was briefly absent from the set due to exhaustion. Principal photography ended two-and-a-half months later in late Jun 1964, as indicated in the 29 Jun 1964 DV. Shortly after, the 11 Aug 1964 DV stated that Ludwig Flappit, Jr. would act as publicist. Theatrical release followed in New York City on 18 Nov 1964, and in Los Angeles on 18 Dec 1964. Around that time, a paperback novelization of the film by Marvin H. Albert was set to be released by Dell Publishing, as reported in a 16 Dec 1964 Var brief.
       Despite largely negative reviews, the film was named the twentieth highest-grossing U.S. release of 1965 in a 4 May 1966 Var chart. It was nominated for an American Humane Society PATSY Award, for the performance of a dog named “Storm.”
       Goodbye Charlie marked the feature film debut of actress Laura Devon. The following performers were listed as cast members in DV announcements published Mar—Jun 1964: Mantan Moreland; Anna Lavelle; Joyce Nizzari; Joe DeAngelo; Jimmy Hayes; Jim Tranzitt; Robert Plumb; Paula Lane; David Robel; and real-life news anchor Jerry Dunphy, who was set to play a newscaster. The 17 Nov 1965 DV also noted that, prior to his departure from Twentieth Century-Fox, studio employee Fred Harpman acted as production illustrator or in an art direction role.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
29 Oct 1962
p. 4
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1963
p. 2
Daily Variety
27 Dec 1963
p. 1
Daily Variety
6 Jan 1964
p. 4
Daily Variety
17 Feb 1964
p. 2
Daily Variety
6 Mar 1964
p. 10
Daily Variety
18 Mar 1964
p. 3
Daily Variety
19 Mar 1964
p. 10
Daily Variety
20 Mar 1964
p. 10
Daily Variety
23 Mar 1964
p. 11
Daily Variety
24 Mar 1964
p. 6
Daily Variety
27 Mar 1964
p. 4
Daily Variety
2 Apr 1964
p. 2
Daily Variety
9 Apr 1964
p. 8
Daily Variety
10 Apr 1964
p. 2
Daily Variety
20 Apr 1964
p. 4
Daily Variety
1 May 1964
p. 4
Daily Variety
13 May 1964
p. 4
Daily Variety
1 Jun 1964
p. 2
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1964
p. 4
Daily Variety
24 Jun 1964
p. 4
Daily Variety
29 Jun 1964
p. 2
Daily Variety
11 Aug 1964
p. 10
Daily Variety
24 Aug 1964
p. 10
Daily Variety
5 Nov 1964
p. 3
Daily Variety
6 Nov 1964
p. 2
Daily Variety
29 Mar 1965
p. 10
Daily Variety
17 Nov 1965
p. 15
Los Angeles Times
20 Feb 1964
Section C, p. 8
Los Angeles Times
5 Apr 1964
Section C, p. 8
Los Angeles Times
9 Aug 1964
Section B, p. 4
Los Angeles Times
18 Nov 1964
Section C, p. 15
Los Angeles Times
21 Dec 1964
Section B, p. 9
New York Times
21 Jan 1964
p. 24
New York Times
18 Nov 1964
p. 54
New York Times
19 Nov 1964
p. 49
Variety
14 Feb 1962
p. 2
Variety
14 Feb 1962
p. 11
Variety
11 Nov 1964
p. 9
Variety
25 Nov 1964
p. 20
Variety
16 Dec 1964
p. 3
Variety
16 Dec 1964
p. 15
Variety
4 May 1966
p. 24
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward
Women's ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstyles for Miss Reynolds
Supv hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Molly Kent
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Stills
Key grip
Gaffer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Goodbye Charlie by George Axelrod (New York, 16 Dec 1959).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
SONGS
"Goodbye Charlie" and "Seven at Once," music and lyrics by Andre Previn and Dory Langdon, sung by Jerry Wallace.
PERFORMED BY
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
18 November 1964
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 18 Nov 1964; Los Angeles opening: 18 Dec 1964
Production Date:
16 or 18 Mar--late Jun 1964
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Venice Productions
18 November 1964
LP29335
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
117
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

During a yachting party given by Hungarian film producer Sir Leopold Sartori, Sir Leopold finds his wife with screenwriter Charlie Sorel. Sartori shoots Sorel, whose body falls into the sea and is never recovered. When George Tracy, Charlie's best friend and executor of his will, is at Charlie's seaside home straightening out the dead man's affairs, a blonde woman appears and tells him that she is Charlie reincarnated. Charlie begins to enjoy being a woman with a man's mind. She flirts with millionaire Bruce Minton and tries to blackmail some of the wealthy married women with whom the male Charlie had been having affairs. George is appalled by Charlie's behavior but attracted to her at the same time. Sir Leopold is also attracted to Charlie, and when his wife finds Charlie in his embrace, she shoots Charlie, who once again falls into the sea. George is preparing to hush up the affair when an attractive young woman appears with a large dog, which turns out to be the third incarnation of Charlie. George and the woman are immediately attracted to each other, while the canine Charlie finds pleasure with a bottle of ...

More Less

During a yachting party given by Hungarian film producer Sir Leopold Sartori, Sir Leopold finds his wife with screenwriter Charlie Sorel. Sartori shoots Sorel, whose body falls into the sea and is never recovered. When George Tracy, Charlie's best friend and executor of his will, is at Charlie's seaside home straightening out the dead man's affairs, a blonde woman appears and tells him that she is Charlie reincarnated. Charlie begins to enjoy being a woman with a man's mind. She flirts with millionaire Bruce Minton and tries to blackmail some of the wealthy married women with whom the male Charlie had been having affairs. George is appalled by Charlie's behavior but attracted to her at the same time. Sir Leopold is also attracted to Charlie, and when his wife finds Charlie in his embrace, she shoots Charlie, who once again falls into the sea. George is preparing to hush up the affair when an attractive young woman appears with a large dog, which turns out to be the third incarnation of Charlie. George and the woman are immediately attracted to each other, while the canine Charlie finds pleasure with a bottle of vodka.

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

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