The Boys from Syracuse (1940)

73 mins | Musical comedy | 9 August 1940

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HISTORY

The play The Boys from Syracuse was adapted from William Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors (1592-93). In adapting the stage production to film, three songs were dropped: "Oh Diogenes," "Longest Day of the Year Has the Shortest Night of the Year" and "You Have Cast Your Shadow on the Sea." To take their place, Rogers and Hart wrote two new songs for the film: "Who Are You" and "The Greeks Have No Word for It." This was the first production of former film sales manager Jules Levey's Mayfair Productions. This Mayfair is not the same production company as Mayfair Pictures Corp., which was active in the early 1930s. Irene Hervey and Allan Jones were married when they appeared together in the film. According to a news item in HR , the Ritz Brothers walked out on the production because they felt that their roles were not large enough. The picture received Academy Award nominations in the Art Direction (Black-and-White) and Special Effects (Photographic Effects, John P. Fulton, and Sound Effects, Bernard B. Brown and Joe Lapis) ... More Less

The play The Boys from Syracuse was adapted from William Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors (1592-93). In adapting the stage production to film, three songs were dropped: "Oh Diogenes," "Longest Day of the Year Has the Shortest Night of the Year" and "You Have Cast Your Shadow on the Sea." To take their place, Rogers and Hart wrote two new songs for the film: "Who Are You" and "The Greeks Have No Word for It." This was the first production of former film sales manager Jules Levey's Mayfair Productions. This Mayfair is not the same production company as Mayfair Pictures Corp., which was active in the early 1930s. Irene Hervey and Allan Jones were married when they appeared together in the film. According to a news item in HR , the Ritz Brothers walked out on the production because they felt that their roles were not large enough. The picture received Academy Award nominations in the Art Direction (Black-and-White) and Special Effects (Photographic Effects, John P. Fulton, and Sound Effects, Bernard B. Brown and Joe Lapis) categories. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
11 Jul 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
15 Jul 40
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 40
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 40
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Apr 40
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 40
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jul 40
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
12 Jul 40
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Jul 40
p. 26.
New York Times
1 Aug 40
p. 25.
Variety
17 Jul 40
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
Prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Process photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec
DANCE
Dance dir
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Press rep
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the musical The Boys from Syracuse , book by George Abbott, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart (Boston, 11 Nov 1938).
SONGS
"This Can't Be Love," "Falling in Love," "Sing for Your Supper," "He and She," "Who Are You," "The Greeks Had No Word for It," music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart.
DETAILS
Release Date:
9 August 1940
Premiere Information:
Syracuse, New York opening: 18 July 1940
Production Date:
mid April--mid May 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co.
Copyright Date:
18 July 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9774
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
73
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
6420
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In ancient Greece, Ephesus has just defeated Syracuse at war, and Antipholus of Ephesus or "Eph," a Grecian general, has persuaded the Duke of Ephesus to pass a law that any Syracusean found in Ephesus shall be beheaded. Eph is married to the beautiful Adriana, and his slave Dromio or "Dro" is married to Luce, Adriana's slave. The first Syracusean to be sentenced to death is Aegon, a father of twin sons who in turn had twin slaves. Both sets of twins had become separated during a storm years before, and since then, Aegon has been searching for his lost sons. His search has brought him to Ephesus, where the Duke pleads that Aegon's life should be spared, while Eph insists that the law be upheld. While Eph and Dro visit their tailors' shop, Antipholus of Syracuse or "Sy," who unknowingly is the twin brother of Eph, and Dromio or "Mio" of Syracuse, the twin brother of Dro, arrive in Ephesus searching for Aegon. A mix-up of the two sets of twins, who do not meet, is highly confusing to the tailors, Pinch and Angelo. Sy goes to seek lodging and he sees Phyllis, Adriana's beautiful sister, and begins to flirt with her. Believing that Sy is her brother-in-law, Phyllis becomes outraged and leaves. Sy then rejoins Mio on the street, where Adriana and Luce drive up in their chariot and Adriana mistakes Sy for Eph, while Luce believes Mio to be Dro. The amazed Syracuseans are taken to Adriana's home, and there they are wined and dined. Sy discovers the answer to the situation when he visits Eph's room and learns that ... +


In ancient Greece, Ephesus has just defeated Syracuse at war, and Antipholus of Ephesus or "Eph," a Grecian general, has persuaded the Duke of Ephesus to pass a law that any Syracusean found in Ephesus shall be beheaded. Eph is married to the beautiful Adriana, and his slave Dromio or "Dro" is married to Luce, Adriana's slave. The first Syracusean to be sentenced to death is Aegon, a father of twin sons who in turn had twin slaves. Both sets of twins had become separated during a storm years before, and since then, Aegon has been searching for his lost sons. His search has brought him to Ephesus, where the Duke pleads that Aegon's life should be spared, while Eph insists that the law be upheld. While Eph and Dro visit their tailors' shop, Antipholus of Syracuse or "Sy," who unknowingly is the twin brother of Eph, and Dromio or "Mio" of Syracuse, the twin brother of Dro, arrive in Ephesus searching for Aegon. A mix-up of the two sets of twins, who do not meet, is highly confusing to the tailors, Pinch and Angelo. Sy goes to seek lodging and he sees Phyllis, Adriana's beautiful sister, and begins to flirt with her. Believing that Sy is her brother-in-law, Phyllis becomes outraged and leaves. Sy then rejoins Mio on the street, where Adriana and Luce drive up in their chariot and Adriana mistakes Sy for Eph, while Luce believes Mio to be Dro. The amazed Syracuseans are taken to Adriana's home, and there they are wined and dined. Sy discovers the answer to the situation when he visits Eph's room and learns that he is in the home of his twin brother. Sy then tells Phyllis the whole story and swears his love for her. In response, she declares her love for him and warns him that his father Aegon is to be executed. Together they devise a plan to save the old man. On the day of the execution, which is the same day as the Festival of Athena, Sy poses as Eph and releases Aegon. As a result, the bewildered Eph and Dro are imprisoned by the Duke, but they overpower their jailers and escape. Meanwhile, Sy, Mio, Phyllis and Aegon try to escape by chariot, but are overtaken and returned to the festival, where the twins meet for the first time. As a result of the mix-up, the populace of Ephesus decides to set aside the laws dictating the execution of Syracuseans, thus freeing Sy to marry Phyllis. +

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

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