The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956)

99-100 mins | Comedy | October 1956

Director:

Richard Quine

Writer:

Abe Burrows

Producer:

Fred Kohlmar

Cinematographer:

Charles Lang Jr.

Editor:

Charles Nelson

Production Designer:

Ross Bellah

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The offscreen voice of comedian George Burns provides a running commentary about the characters and action. Although the film was black and white, the final shots of the solid gold Cadillac are in color. In George S. Kaufman and Howard Teichmann’s play, the character of “Laura,” which was played on Broadway by Josephine Hull, was elderly, thus eliminating any romance between Laura and “McKeever.” According to an Aug 1954 NYT news item, producer Hal Wallis made an agreement with Kaufman, Teichmann and Broadway producer Max Gordon to purchase the rights to the play, which he wanted as a film vehicle for Shirley Booth. In a Nov 1954 DV news item, Wallis blasted Kaufman and Gordon for reneging on their agreement and selling the rights to Columbia.
       A Nov 1955 NYT news item adds that location shooting was done outside the Pentagon, Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The article notes that Congressman Earl Wilson of Bedford, MA, appeared as an extra in the House of Representatives scene. An Aug 1956 HR news item notes that the Pearl Bailey recording “Solid Gold Cadillac” was featured in the film’s publicity campaign, even though the song is not performed in the picture. The Solid Gold Cadillac won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and was nominated for Best Art Direction. Paul Douglas and Judy Holliday had previously appeared onstage together in the play Born Yesterday . ... More Less

The offscreen voice of comedian George Burns provides a running commentary about the characters and action. Although the film was black and white, the final shots of the solid gold Cadillac are in color. In George S. Kaufman and Howard Teichmann’s play, the character of “Laura,” which was played on Broadway by Josephine Hull, was elderly, thus eliminating any romance between Laura and “McKeever.” According to an Aug 1954 NYT news item, producer Hal Wallis made an agreement with Kaufman, Teichmann and Broadway producer Max Gordon to purchase the rights to the play, which he wanted as a film vehicle for Shirley Booth. In a Nov 1954 DV news item, Wallis blasted Kaufman and Gordon for reneging on their agreement and selling the rights to Columbia.
       A Nov 1955 NYT news item adds that location shooting was done outside the Pentagon, Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The article notes that Congressman Earl Wilson of Bedford, MA, appeared as an extra in the House of Representatives scene. An Aug 1956 HR news item notes that the Pearl Bailey recording “Solid Gold Cadillac” was featured in the film’s publicity campaign, even though the song is not performed in the picture. The Solid Gold Cadillac won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and was nominated for Best Art Direction. Paul Douglas and Judy Holliday had previously appeared onstage together in the play Born Yesterday . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Aug 1956.
---
Box Office
25 Aug 1956.
---
Daily Variety
30 Nov 1954.
---
Daily Variety
15 Aug 56
p. 3.
Film Daily
15 Aug 56
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Oct 1955
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Dec 1955
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 56
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 1956
p. 12.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Aug 56
p. 33.
New York Times
29 Aug 1954.
---
New York Times
6 Nov 1955.
---
New York Times
25 Oct 56
p. 40.
Variety
15 Aug 56
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
SOUND
Rec supv
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Solid Gold Cadillac by George S. Kaufman and Howard Teichmann, as produced on the stage by Max Gordon (New York, 5 Nov 1953).
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1956
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 24 October 1956
Production Date:
24 October--10 December 1955
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 October 1956
Copyright Number:
LP7318
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Black & white with color sequences
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
99-100
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17757
SYNOPSIS

At the annual shareholder’s meeting of International Projects, Ltd., Edward L. McKeever, the founder and head of the company, announces that he has sold all his stock and is resigning to work for the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C. McKeever’s departure delights the dishonest members of International’s board of directors--Clifford Snell, Vice President and Treasurer; John T. Blessington, President and Chairman of the Board; and Warren Gillie, Vice President and Secretary—all of whom see McKeever’s absence as an opportunity to line their pockets with company profits. At the meeting, Snell presents his financial report, prompting Laura Partridge, who owns a total of ten shares in the company, to rise and question the board’s inflated salaries. Afterward, in the building’s coffee shop, Laura encounters McKeever, who offers to drive her home on the way to the airport. As they say goodbye, McKeever is amused when Laura offers to look after the company in his absence. True to her word, the meddlesome Laura attends every board meeting, and when she proposes forming a shareholders' committee, Blessington decides to short circuit her effort by hiring her to generate “good will” among the small stockholders. As Director of Shareholder Relations, Laura is given her own office and assigned Amelia Shotgraven as her secretary. Laura at first busies herself with matchmaking between Amelia and Mark Jenkins, the office manager, but soon grows bored and decides to write to all the small shareholders across the country. While Blessington grumbles about Laura’s postage bills, his moronic brother-in-law, Harry Harkness, whom he has appointed to the board, drives Apex Clock, a subsidiary of the corporation, into bankruptcy. ... +


At the annual shareholder’s meeting of International Projects, Ltd., Edward L. McKeever, the founder and head of the company, announces that he has sold all his stock and is resigning to work for the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C. McKeever’s departure delights the dishonest members of International’s board of directors--Clifford Snell, Vice President and Treasurer; John T. Blessington, President and Chairman of the Board; and Warren Gillie, Vice President and Secretary—all of whom see McKeever’s absence as an opportunity to line their pockets with company profits. At the meeting, Snell presents his financial report, prompting Laura Partridge, who owns a total of ten shares in the company, to rise and question the board’s inflated salaries. Afterward, in the building’s coffee shop, Laura encounters McKeever, who offers to drive her home on the way to the airport. As they say goodbye, McKeever is amused when Laura offers to look after the company in his absence. True to her word, the meddlesome Laura attends every board meeting, and when she proposes forming a shareholders' committee, Blessington decides to short circuit her effort by hiring her to generate “good will” among the small stockholders. As Director of Shareholder Relations, Laura is given her own office and assigned Amelia Shotgraven as her secretary. Laura at first busies herself with matchmaking between Amelia and Mark Jenkins, the office manager, but soon grows bored and decides to write to all the small shareholders across the country. While Blessington grumbles about Laura’s postage bills, his moronic brother-in-law, Harry Harkness, whom he has appointed to the board, drives Apex Clock, a subsidiary of the corporation, into bankruptcy. Soon after, McKeever comes to New York to address Snell’s complaint that he has not awarded any government contracts to International. McKeever is dismayed to find Laura installed in her own office, but is soon enchanted by her enthusiasm and honesty. After Amelia is fired by Snell for providing Laura with the stockholders’ addresses, she tells Laura that Blessington hired Laura to prevent her from disrupting meetings. Disillusioned, Laura is about to resign when she opens a letter from one of the shareholders, describing how International bankrupted Apex, its own company. Outraged, Laura determines to stay and fight and demands that Amelia be rehired. When Laura launches a campaign to mobilize the shareholders, Blessington decides to get her out of the office by sending her to Washington D.C. to confer with McKeever about stockholders’ rights. McKeever suspects that the board sent Laura to entice him into awarding them some contracts until she begs him to come back and take over the company. That afternoon, McKeever finalizes all his contract negotiations and asks Laura to celebrate with him. After a night of dancing, McKeever books a room for Laura at his hotel. When Laura informs McKeever about the Apex Clock scandal, he becomes irate and decides to resign from his government job and immediately return to International. As the board watches the televised news of McKeever’s impending return to private industry, they realize that they can outvote him because he has sold all his stock. Apprised of his powerlessness, McKeever devises a different strategy, accusing the board of illegally using Laura to lobby for government contracts. At a hearing into the allegations, the board’s attorney suggests that Laura went to Washington not to win contracts for International, but because she was in love with McKeever. When the attorney questions Laura under oath, she admits to being in love and the charges are dropped. Laura then admonishes McKeever to attend the annual shareholders’ meeting that afternoon and dispute the board’s authority. After he refuses, they drive to Laura’s apartment, where she begins to open a stack of letters that she has brought home from the office and finds proxies made out in her name enclosed in each envelope. When Amelia phones with the news that Jenkins has been fired for attempting to deliver Laura’s mail, which Snell has locked in his office, McKeever realizes that control of the company resides in the proxies of the small shareholders. After hurrying to the International Building and finding bulging bags of mail addressed to Laura, McKeever sends Laura to the meeting to stall for time while he, Amelia and Jenkins count the proxies. Welcomed as a celebrity by the assembled small shareholders, Laura demands a count of all the votes. Just as Blessington is about to smugly declare the board’s victory, McKeever bursts in and announces that Laura has garnered 3,000,000 votes and therefore controls the corporation. After firing the board, Laura presides at the next annual meeting as Laura McKeever, Vice President and Treasurer, the wife of President Edward L. McKeever. After announcing soaring dividends, Laura and McKeever adjourn the meeting and drive home in their solid gold Cadillac. +

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

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