The Gazebo (1960)

102 mins | Screwball comedy | January 1960

Director:

George Marshall

Writer:

George Wells

Cinematographer:

Paul C. Vogel

Editor:

Adrienne Fazan

Production Designers:

George W. Davis, Paul Groesse

Production Companies:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp., Avon Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The opening credits for film begin: “Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Glenn Ford Debbie Reynolds a Avon Production The Gazebo .” According to a 19 Jan 1959 LAEx article, Frederick Brisson, who is credited onscreen as “presenting” The Gazebo on stage, sold the play to M-G-M in 1959. Although James Kirkwood and ZaSu Pitts are listed in HR productions charts for the film and modern sources list them as the "McGruders," the actors were not in the released film and the characters are only discussed, not seen.
       A 2 Sep 1959 HR news item adds Sonny Howe, Carey Leverette, Paul Reese and Mevrisse Duree to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Actor Peter Ford, son of Glenn Ford and his former wife, dancer-actress Eleanor Powell, made his film debut as a page boy in the film. Television actor Carl Reiner also made his film debut in The Gazebo . Although famed director Alfred Hitchcock was mentioned in the story, he was not seen or heard in the film.
       The Gazebo opened in Los Angeles the week of 19 Dec 1959 in order to qualify for the 1959 Academy Awards. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design (black and white), but lost to Some Like It Hot . A French film version of Alec Coppel’s play was released in 1971 under the title Jo , directed by Jean Girault and starring Louis De Funès and Claude ... More Less

The opening credits for film begin: “Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents Glenn Ford Debbie Reynolds a Avon Production The Gazebo .” According to a 19 Jan 1959 LAEx article, Frederick Brisson, who is credited onscreen as “presenting” The Gazebo on stage, sold the play to M-G-M in 1959. Although James Kirkwood and ZaSu Pitts are listed in HR productions charts for the film and modern sources list them as the "McGruders," the actors were not in the released film and the characters are only discussed, not seen.
       A 2 Sep 1959 HR news item adds Sonny Howe, Carey Leverette, Paul Reese and Mevrisse Duree to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Actor Peter Ford, son of Glenn Ford and his former wife, dancer-actress Eleanor Powell, made his film debut as a page boy in the film. Television actor Carl Reiner also made his film debut in The Gazebo . Although famed director Alfred Hitchcock was mentioned in the story, he was not seen or heard in the film.
       The Gazebo opened in Los Angeles the week of 19 Dec 1959 in order to qualify for the 1959 Academy Awards. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design (black and white), but lost to Some Like It Hot . A French film version of Alec Coppel’s play was released in 1971 under the title Jo , directed by Jean Girault and starring Louis De Funès and Claude Gensac. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Dec 1959.
---
Daily Variety
15 Dec 1959
p. 3.
Film Daily
14 Dec 1959
p. 14.
Filmfacts
1960.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 1959.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 1959
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jul 1959
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 1959
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Sep 1959
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1959.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 1959
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 1959
p. 5.
Los Angeles Examiner
19 Jan 1959.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Dec 1959.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Dec 1959
p. 524.
New York Times
16 Jan 1960
p. 14.
New Yorker
23 Jan 1960.
---
Newsweek
4 Jan 1960.
---
Time
1 Feb 1960.
---
Variety
16 Dec 1959
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Avon Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Hairstyles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Gazebo by Alec Coppel presented on stage by The Playwright's Company and Frederick Brisson (New York, 12 Dec 1958) from a story by Myra Coppel and Alec Coppel.
SONGS
"Something Called Love," music and lyrics by Walter Kent and Walton Farrar.
DETAILS
Release Date:
January 1960
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 18 December 1959
New York opening: 15 January 1960
Production Date:
20 July--late August 1959
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc. & Avon Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 December 1959
Copyright Number:
LP15122
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
Photographic lenses by Panavision
Duration(in mins):
102
Length(in feet):
9,149
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19422
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Elliot Nash is frenziedly working as a television writer-director and seeking advances on a new movie script in order to pay off a photographer's assistant named Dan Shelby, who is demanding money to suppress nude modeling shots of Elliot’s wife Nell, a Broadway star unaware of her husband's dilemma. One day when his cab injures a pigeon, Elliot insists on rescuing the bird for a pet and naming it Herman. Elliot and Nell return home late that night to find their friend, Harlow Edison, a district attorney, who advises Elliot on his crime writing. Elliot gives him the basic plot for a new story in which an executive is being blackmailed for $10,000 to keep scandalous photographs out of the papers. Harlow assumes that the "executive" is actually Elliot, thus explaining his friend's nervous behavior, and gives Elliot three alternatives: pay the blackmailer, go to the police or kill the blackmailer. The next day, after real estate agent Mrs. Chandler tells Elliot that the McGruders have offered $50,000 in cash for his house, Elliot sabotages the house by loosening door knobs, scrambling the electrical wiring and crossing the plumbing to convince Nell to sell the "faulty" structure. Nell is too excited by her new 18th century gazebo she plans to install in the garden to agree to sell. Soon after he learns from contractor Sam Thorpe that the foundation will set twenty-four hours after it is poured, Elliot decides to kill Shelby and bury him in the foundation. After scheduling a Friday pour, Elliot tells Shelby to come to the Nash home on Thursday night for final payment. On Thursday at the theater, Nell shares her concern about Elliot ... +


Elliot Nash is frenziedly working as a television writer-director and seeking advances on a new movie script in order to pay off a photographer's assistant named Dan Shelby, who is demanding money to suppress nude modeling shots of Elliot’s wife Nell, a Broadway star unaware of her husband's dilemma. One day when his cab injures a pigeon, Elliot insists on rescuing the bird for a pet and naming it Herman. Elliot and Nell return home late that night to find their friend, Harlow Edison, a district attorney, who advises Elliot on his crime writing. Elliot gives him the basic plot for a new story in which an executive is being blackmailed for $10,000 to keep scandalous photographs out of the papers. Harlow assumes that the "executive" is actually Elliot, thus explaining his friend's nervous behavior, and gives Elliot three alternatives: pay the blackmailer, go to the police or kill the blackmailer. The next day, after real estate agent Mrs. Chandler tells Elliot that the McGruders have offered $50,000 in cash for his house, Elliot sabotages the house by loosening door knobs, scrambling the electrical wiring and crossing the plumbing to convince Nell to sell the "faulty" structure. Nell is too excited by her new 18th century gazebo she plans to install in the garden to agree to sell. Soon after he learns from contractor Sam Thorpe that the foundation will set twenty-four hours after it is poured, Elliot decides to kill Shelby and bury him in the foundation. After scheduling a Friday pour, Elliot tells Shelby to come to the Nash home on Thursday night for final payment. On Thursday at the theater, Nell shares her concern about Elliot with Harlow, explaining that she is aware of Elliot's attempts to convince her to sell the house and adds that he has recently bought a shovel, miner's hat and hip boots. Harlow assures her that he must be experimenting with props for a new crime show. Meanwhile, Elliot, following his own typed schedule for the murder, takes a tranquilizer, sets the front door ajar, lays out a tarpaulin to prevent blood stains on the floor and shovels a hole in the foundation's dirt bed. As scheduled, when a man with a briefcase arrives at the front door at 10 p.m., Elliot shoots into the darkened entryway and watches as the body lands on the tarpaulin, but when Elliot tries to move it, the tarpaulin rips, forcing Elliot to retrieve an ugly shower curtain to wrap the body. Noticing the beam of a flashlight outside, Elliot walks into the yard where Thorpe is inspecting the gazebo, notes the hole and leaves with the stray shovel. Before Elliot can return to the house, Mrs. Chandler drops by with the McGruders, who request a tour, but Elliot suggests scheduling one another day. Rushing back to the house, Elliot receives a phone call from director Alfred Hitchcock, who wants an update on the movie script. After Elliot asks Hitchcock how one might bury a body without a shovel, the director suggests using a fireplace shovel. The next day at the house, as rain begins to erode the foundation, Harlow questions Nell about Shelby who, he explains, is blackmailing several prominent women for large sums in exchange for suppressing nude shots of them. Nell admits that she modeled in the nude when she was eighteen-years old, but states that she rebuffed Shelby’s blackmail attempts. After Harlow reports that Shelby has been found dead, Elliot realizes that he has shot the wrong person. Finally, when Nell confronts Elliot about the hole and the shovel and guesses that he buried the shower curtains he hated so much, Elliot gladly agrees with her assumption. That afternoon, when Mrs. Chandler drops by with a large cash offer for the home, Nell agrees to sell, explaining in a moment alone with Mrs. Chandler that the gazebo ruined the house's view. That night at the theater, Harlow interrogates Elliot about the night of Shelby's murder and asks if he has a gun. Upon Nell's suggestion, Harlow calls and asks the Nash housekeeper Matilda to locate the gun in Elliot's desk, but Matilda finds only paper. Soon after, the weapon that killed Shelby is found and identified as belonging to Joe Black, Shelby's partner, who killed Shelby and took all the blackmailing profits. Later after the show, gangsters, The Duke and Louis the Louse, abduct Nell and drive her to the house, explaining that Joe was last seen entering her home with $100,000 in a briefcase. Duke and Louis accuse Elliot of killing Joe and threaten to torture Nell if she does not reveal the location of his body. When the gazebo suddenly collapses, the gangsters find Joe buried in the foundation, take the money and leave. Elliot arrives home to discover Nell tied to a chair trying to dial the phone with her nose. Elliot is forced to tell Nell the truth and hides the dead man in the guesthouse. Soon after, the police arrive with Duke and Louis, who indicate where they left the body. Elliot admits to burying the body and is ready to make a statement but then abruptly pleads the Fifth Amendment. Unknown to the police, Herman, who had been perched on a bookshelf, directed Elliot’s attention to a bullet hole in a book. While the police search the ground for Joe's body, Elliot explains to Nell that his shot did not hit Joe and deduces that the blackmailer died of a heart attack. Assuming that if the police find the bullet, Elliot will be accused of frightening Joe to death, Elliot and Nell frantically search for it, but Herman finds it first and flies off. The police conclude that they can only charge Elliot with burying a body without a permit and walk out the front door, where Herman drops the bullet on an officer's hat. Believing that the bird defecated on him, the officer discards his hat in the yard, thus ensuring Elliot's freedom. +

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

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