AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Petty Girl
Alternate Title: Girl of the Year
Director: Henry Levin (Dir)
Release Date:   Sep 1950
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 17 Aug 1950
Production Date:   6 Sep--15 Oct 1949
Duration (in mins):   86 or 88
Duration (in feet):   7,865
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Cast:   Robert Cummings (George Petty)  
    Joan Caulfield (Victoria Braymore)  
    Elsa Lanchester (Dr. Crutcher)  
    Melville Cooper (Beardsley)  
    Audrey Long (Connie)  
    Mary Wickes (Professor Whitman)  
    Frank Orth (Moody)  
    John Ridgeley (Patrolman)  
    Raymond Largay (B. J. Manton)  
    Ian Wolfe (President Webb)  
    Frank Jenks (Kaye)  
    Tim Ryan (Durkee)  
    Mabel Paige (Mrs. Hibsch)  
    Kathleen Howard (Professor Langton)  
    Sarah Edwards (Professor Morrison)  
    Everett Glass (Professor Haughton)  
    Douglas Wood (Professor Stratton)  
    Edward Clark (Professor Ramsey)  
    Movita Castañeda (Carmelita)  
    Lyn Thomas (Patti McKenzie)  
    Philip Van Zandt (Señor Chamleon)  
    Dorothy Vaughn (Maid)  
    Gino Corrado (Waiter)  
    Eugene Borden (Waiter)  
    Wendy Lee (Cloak girl)  
    Tito Vuolo (Faustini)  
    Richard Avonde (M.C., Orchestra leader)  
    Jean Frischer (Souvenir girl)  
    John Bleifer (Hungarian artist)  
    Pat Flaherty (Policeman)  
    Ray Teal (Policeman)  
    Paul Bryar (Police sergeant)  
    Harry Harvey, Jr. (Student in classroom)  
    William Page Frambes (Student at Arrowhead)  
    Earle Hodgins (Boatman)  
    Wheaton Chambers (Faculty member)  
    Henry Hall (Faculty member)  
    Mary Newton (Faculty member)  
    Earl Dewey (Professor)  
    Paul E. Burns (Night clerk)  
    Alphonse Martell (Head waiter)  
    Tom Stevenson (Tailor)  
    Loren Raker (Tailor)  
    Gonzalo C. Carreno (Member of dance team)  
    Joan Deloris Bade (Member of dance team)  
    James Griffith (M.C.)  
    Don Dillaway (M.C.)  
    Russell Hicks (Tycoon)  
    Paul Cramer (Stooge)  
    James Fairfax (Stooge)  
    Peter McGiveney (Stooge)  
    Carlos de la Rivera (Stooge)  
    Herbert Heywood (Doorman)  
    Vivian Mason (Lovey)  
    Dorothy Abbott (December, Petty girl)  
    Eloise Farmer (November, Petty girl)  
    Betsy Crofts (June, Petty girl)  
    Tippi Hedren (Ice box, Petty girl)  
    Jany Pope (Toni twin, Petty girl)  
    Joey Pope (Toni twin, Petty girl)  
    Eileen Howe (September, Petty girl)  
    Shirley Ballard (January, Petty girl)  
    Jetsy Parker (February, Petty girl)  
    Wanda Stevenson (Special dancer, Petty girl)  
    Barbara Freking (March, Petty girl)  
    Carol Rush (October, Petty girl)  
    Lois Hall (Coca Cola, Petty girl)  
    Joan Larkin (July, Petty girl)  
    Lucille Lamarr (August, Petty girl)  
    Mona Knox (Mazola, Petty girl)  
    Shirley Whitney (April, Petty girl)  
    Claire Dennis (May, Petty girl)  
    Jean Willes (Girl)  
    Marjorie Stapp (Girl)  
    Jack Santoro    
    Alfred Paix    
    Richard La Marr    
    George Hoagland    
    Jack Barnett    
    Jack Chefe    
    Sandee Mariott    
    Elaine Towne    
    Carli Elinor    

Summary: Artist George Petty fails to interest automobile magnate B. J. Manton in his idea for advertising his newest car with drawings of attractive women, but Manton's daughter Connie likes the drawings and the artist, and even though she is married, makes George her protegé. She encourages him to take up serious painting, and soon he becomes a successful portrait painter and acquires a penthouse, good clothes and a butler. Meanwhile, attractive young Victoria Braymore, a professor at Braymore College, plans a trip to a conference in New York, where she will answer criticisms that Braymore is old-fashioned. Victoria has been reared by a group of older professors since the death of her parents when she was a child, and her guardians, concerned about the dangers of the city, send a professor, Victoria's friend, Dr. Crutcher, as her chaperon. George spots Victoria in an art museum and tries to pick her up. After Victoria refuses to speak with a man she does not know, George pretends to be a former student of Dr. Crutcher's and so charms the professor that she pretends to believe his lie. George then invites Victoria to dinner, and when she refuses to go without Dr. Crutcher, asks his butler to be Dr. Crutcher's date. At dinner, the butler, whom George introduces as his Uncle Ben, proceeds to get very drunk. While Ben keeps Dr. Crutcher amused, George and Victoria go to a nightclub which features a scantily dressed model, who poses for the artists in the audience. After a drink is spilled on Victoria's dress, she asks the powder room attendant to iron it dry. While she is waiting in her slip, the club is raided, and the police mistake her for the model. The following morning her picture and a report about her arrest is on the front page of the newspaper. When Victoria returns to Braymore, George follows her and gets a job there as a handyman. George's efforts to spend time alone with Victoria are made more difficult by the surveillance of suspicious Professor Whitman. When the professor sees Victoria sneak out to George's room so that he can sketch her, she summons the others and George is forced to leave. The next day, after her guardians discuss what disciplinary measures should be taken, Victoria sweetly announces that she is in love and plans to follow George to New York. In New York, Victoria tries to convince George to give up his serious paintings and stick to drawing the "Petty Girl," as she dubs his sexy drawings of women. When an angry George throws her out, Victoria sneaks his painting of her into the art museum. The resulting publicity lands Victoria a job in burlesque, but before the first performance, George delivers an injunction forbidding her to appear publicly as the Petty Girl. Learning that Connie is giving a party for George, Victoria decides that the injunction does not prevent her from appearing privately and imports her entire act to the party. Manton is so impressed by Victoria's number that he offers George an advertising contract. George realizes that Victoria has been right about his talent and reconciles with her. 

Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Director: Henry Levin (Dir)
  Charles Gould (Asst dir)
Producer: Nat Perrin (Prod)
Writer: Nat Perrin (Scr)
  Mary McCarthy (Based on a story by)
Photography: William Snyder (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Walter Holscher (Art dir)
Film Editor: Al Clark (Film ed)
Set Decoration: William Kiernan (Set dec)
Costumes: Jean Louis (Gowns)
Music: George Duning (Mus adpt)
  Morris Stoloff (Mus dir)
Sound: Frank Goodwin (Sd eng)
Dance: Eugene Loring (Mus numbers staged by)
Make Up: Clay Campbell (Makeup)
  Helen Hunt (Hair styles)
Color Personnel: Francis Cugat (Technicolor col consultant)
Country: United States

Songs: "Fancy Free," "I Love's Ya," "Calypso Song" and "The Petty Girl," music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer.
Composer: Harold Arlen
  Johnny Mercer

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp. 7/9/1950 dd/mm/yyyy LP321

Physical Properties: col: Technicolor
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

Genre: Comedy
Sub-Genre: with songs
Subjects (Major): Artists
  George Petty
  Wards and guardians
Subjects (Minor): Arrests
  Art patronage
  Automobile manufacturers
  Cultural elitism
  New York City
  Police raids
  Portraits (Paintings)
  Process servers

Note: The film's working title was Girl of the Year . George Petty first drew "The Petty Girl" around 1930 for a Midwestern brewery's "near-beer" advertisement. In 1933, The Petty Girl first appeared in Esquire . According to a 12 Oct 1942 HR news item, the rights to "The Petty Girl" were first sold to RKO. That company planned to hold a nationwide search for an unknown actress to play the title role and had enlisted Petty as a technical advisor. According to a 7 Sep 1946 LAEx news item and a 16 Sep 1946 HR news item, Al Bloomingdale, who was to have produced the film for RKO, sold the property to Columbia. According to a 2 Jan 1947 HR news item, Ann Miller was slated to star in the film. A 9 Aug 1949 HR news item notes that Henry Levin replaced Charles Vidor as director after the latter was suspended for breach of contract. The film marked the motion picture debut of Tippi Hedren. Hedren, who was the "Ice box" Petty girl model, did not make another film until The Birds , the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock-directed picture in which she had the lead role (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; F6.0416). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   9 Sep 1950.   
Daily Variety   18 Aug 50   p. 3, 10
Film Daily   23 Aug 50   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Oct 1942.   
Hollywood Reporter   16 Sep 1946.   
Hollywood Reporter   9 Aug 49   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Sep 49   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Oct 49   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Aug 50   p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner   7 Sep 1946.   
Look   6 Feb 1950.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   19 Aug 50   p. 441.
New York Times   18 Aug 50   p. 17.
Variety   23 Aug 50   p. 8.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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