Good Neighbor Sam (1964)

130 mins | Comedy | 22 July 1964

Director:

David Swift

Producer:

David Swift

Cinematographer:

Burnett Guffey

Editor:

Charles Nelson

Production Designer:

Dale Hennesy

Production Company:

David Swift Productions
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HISTORY

According to items in the 8 Dec 1962 LAT and 10 Dec 1962 DV, Columbia Pictures paid $100,000 for motion picture rights to Jack Finney’s novel, Good Neighbor Sam, which was scheduled for publication in the spring of 1963. The 19 Dec 1962 Var noted that the deal also included a percentage of the film’s profits, and the LAT reported that producer-director David Swift was eyeing actors Jack Lemmon, Doris Day, and Kim Novak for the main roles. Of the three, only Lemmon, star of Swift’s latest project, Under the Yum Yum Tree (1963, see entry), appears in the final film. Various contemporary sources indicated that Elizabeth Montgomery, Ann-Margret, and Julie Newmar were in contention for the female leads before the casting of Dorothy Provine and Romy Schneider, who made her American feature debut.
       Despite early reports that Finney would adapt his work for the screen, writing credit was shared between Swift, Jim Fritzell, and Everett Greenbaum.
       On 24 May 1963 DV, announced that Swift hired University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) graduate Otis Greene to serve as a “special assistant” on the production after conducting a search among the state’s top film programs. The 15 Jul 1963 DV indicated that Greene previously held a position on the crew of Under the Yum Yum Tree, and had been permanently hired to Columbia’s production department, while assistant location manager Marvin Miller was promoted to associate producer on Good Neighbor Sam. A 30 Dec 1963 DV brief noted that costume designer “Micheline,” was Micheline Swift, a former fashion ... More Less

According to items in the 8 Dec 1962 LAT and 10 Dec 1962 DV, Columbia Pictures paid $100,000 for motion picture rights to Jack Finney’s novel, Good Neighbor Sam, which was scheduled for publication in the spring of 1963. The 19 Dec 1962 Var noted that the deal also included a percentage of the film’s profits, and the LAT reported that producer-director David Swift was eyeing actors Jack Lemmon, Doris Day, and Kim Novak for the main roles. Of the three, only Lemmon, star of Swift’s latest project, Under the Yum Yum Tree (1963, see entry), appears in the final film. Various contemporary sources indicated that Elizabeth Montgomery, Ann-Margret, and Julie Newmar were in contention for the female leads before the casting of Dorothy Provine and Romy Schneider, who made her American feature debut.
       Despite early reports that Finney would adapt his work for the screen, writing credit was shared between Swift, Jim Fritzell, and Everett Greenbaum.
       On 24 May 1963 DV, announced that Swift hired University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) graduate Otis Greene to serve as a “special assistant” on the production after conducting a search among the state’s top film programs. The 15 Jul 1963 DV indicated that Greene previously held a position on the crew of Under the Yum Yum Tree, and had been permanently hired to Columbia’s production department, while assistant location manager Marvin Miller was promoted to associate producer on Good Neighbor Sam. A 30 Dec 1963 DV brief noted that costume designer “Micheline,” was Micheline Swift, a former fashion model and wife of the director. The 25 Oct 1963 DV included Pat Waltz, Pearl Shear, and Barbara Barrett-Eaton among the cast, but they are not credited onscreen. Additionally, the 23 Oct 1963 DV identified the bellydancer in the restaurant scene as Lucy Moyer, wife of set decorator Ray Moyer.
       Just weeks before filming was set to begin at the Columbia studio in Los Angeles, CA, the 22 Aug and 28 Aug 1963 DV reported that Lemmon had “problems” with the script. George Axelrod, who was currently writing the actor’s next film, How to Murder Your Wife (1965, see entry), completed revisions in time for the 30 Sep 1963 start date, as indicated by a 9 Oct 1963 Var production chart. According to the 13 Nov 1963 DV and 1 Aug 1964 LAT, exterior shooting took place in downtown Los Angeles, and at several San Francisco locations, including: the Fairmont Hotel; the Golden Gate Bridge; Union Square; the Embarcadero; San Francisco International Airport; Tommy’s Joynt diner; Alexis’ Tangiers restaurant in Nob Hill; and the intersections of California and Mason, California and Kearny, and Pine and Grant.
       The 18 Sep 1963 Var noted the filmmakers’ inclusion of the Hertz Rent a Car jingle, “Let Hertz Put You In The Driver’s Seat,” which was written by Richard Adler.
       According to the 23 Jul 1964 NYT review, Good Neighbor Sam opened the previous day at multiple New York City venues. The 1 Aug 1964 LAT stated that the Los Angeles engagement was set to follow at twenty-seven area theaters and drive-ins on 5 Aug 1964.
       Preceding the film’s release, the 15 Jul 1964 Var announced that the automated “junk” sculpture created by “Sam Bissell” in the film was installed in the Better Living Center at the New York World’s Fair. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Dec 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
20 Feb 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
24 May 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
15 Jul 1963
p. 1.
Daily Variety
20 Jun 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
22 Aug 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
28 Aug 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
23 Oct 1963
p. 10.
Daily Variety
13 Nov 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
25 Oct 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
30 Dec 1963
p. 8.
Daily Variety
12 Jun 1964
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
8 Dec 1962
p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
13 Jul 1963
Section B, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
19 Jul 1963
Section D, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
24 Jul 1964
Section C, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
1 Aug 1964
Section C, p. 7.
New York Times
16 Aug 1963
p. 15.
New York Times
23 Jul 1964
p. 19.
Variety
19 Dec 1962
p. 21.
Variety
18 Sep 1963
p. 57.
Variety
9 Oct 1963
p. 18.
Variety
15 Jul 1964
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A David Swift Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Miss Schneider's hairstyles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Good Neighbor Sam by Jack Finney (New York, 1963).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 July 1964
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 22 July 1964
Los Angeles opening: 5 August 1964
Production Date:
began 30 September 1963
Copyright Claimant:
David Swift Productions
Copyright Date:
1 June 1964
Copyright Number:
LP28085
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color by Pathé
Duration(in mins):
130
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Sam Bissell, a minor account executive in a San Francisco advertising agency, lives an uncomplicated suburban life with his wife, Min, and their two daughters. His wholesome approach gains him the company's top account, Nurdlinger Eggs, but his troubles begin when Janet Lagerof, Min's best friend, rents the house next door. Recently separated from her husband Howard, Janet learns that she stands to inherit $15 million from her grandfather if he believes that she is happily married. Two cousins who are second in line for the money arrive to visit, and Janet introduces Sam as her husband. The suspicious cousins hire Shiffner, a detective, to watch Janet. Sam is forced to sneak back and forth between his house and Janet's, where supposedly he is sleeping. Janet and Sam are secretly photographed together by an advertising man one day, and Janet is introduced to Mr. Nurdlinger as Sam's wife. Later, Howard arrives to attempt a reconciliation with Janet, but he is forced to pose as Min's husband. Although Howard loves Janet, she believes that he is only after her inheritance. Jealousy soon provokes friction among the four. The will is finally settled in Janet's favor, but the harried Sam has failed to check the picture of the couple to be used on the Nurdlinger billboards. The picture, a pose of himself with Janet, is captioned "Mr. and Mrs. Sam Bissell." Because Janet will lose the inheritance if she is recognized on the billboards, she and Sam stay up all night painting over their pictures on the advertisement. Min later sees a message for her that Sam has painted on one of the billboards, and they are reconciled, as are Janet ... +


Sam Bissell, a minor account executive in a San Francisco advertising agency, lives an uncomplicated suburban life with his wife, Min, and their two daughters. His wholesome approach gains him the company's top account, Nurdlinger Eggs, but his troubles begin when Janet Lagerof, Min's best friend, rents the house next door. Recently separated from her husband Howard, Janet learns that she stands to inherit $15 million from her grandfather if he believes that she is happily married. Two cousins who are second in line for the money arrive to visit, and Janet introduces Sam as her husband. The suspicious cousins hire Shiffner, a detective, to watch Janet. Sam is forced to sneak back and forth between his house and Janet's, where supposedly he is sleeping. Janet and Sam are secretly photographed together by an advertising man one day, and Janet is introduced to Mr. Nurdlinger as Sam's wife. Later, Howard arrives to attempt a reconciliation with Janet, but he is forced to pose as Min's husband. Although Howard loves Janet, she believes that he is only after her inheritance. Jealousy soon provokes friction among the four. The will is finally settled in Janet's favor, but the harried Sam has failed to check the picture of the couple to be used on the Nurdlinger billboards. The picture, a pose of himself with Janet, is captioned "Mr. and Mrs. Sam Bissell." Because Janet will lose the inheritance if she is recognized on the billboards, she and Sam stay up all night painting over their pictures on the advertisement. Min later sees a message for her that Sam has painted on one of the billboards, and they are reconciled, as are Janet and Howard; and Janet gets her inheritance. +

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

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