AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Behave Yourself!
Director: George Beck (Dir)
Release Date:   22 Sep 1951
Premiere Information:   World premiere in Kansas City, MO: 19 Sep 1951; Los Angeles opening: 20 Sep 1951
Production Date:   19 Mar--28 Apr 1951
Duration (in mins):   80-81
Duration (in feet):   7,253
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Cast:   Farley Granger (William "Bill" Calhoun Denny) By arrangement with Samuel Goldwyn
    Shelley Winters (Kate Denny)  
    William Demarest (O'Ryan)  
    Francis L. Sullivan (Fat Fred)  
    Margalo Gillmore (Mother-in-law)  
    Lon Chaney [Jr.] (Pinky)  
    Hans Conried (Gillie the Blade)  
    Elisha Cook Jr. (Albert Jonas)  
    Glenn Anders (Pete the Pusher)  
    Allen Jenkins (Detective)  
    Sheldon Leonard ("Short-wave" Bert)  
    Marvin Kaplan (Max the Umbrella)  
    "Archie" the dog (Archie)  
    Henry Corden (Numi)  
    Ralph Sanford (Detective)  
    Dudley Sadler (Jay, pet shop proprietor)  
    Vera Marshe (Salesgirl)  
    King Donovan (Salesman)  
    Claude Wisberg (O'Rappaport)  
    Richard Irving (Tan & White Shoes)  
    Allen Wood (Pete's taxi driver)  
    Harry Shannon (O'Hara)  
    Ralph Montgomery (Bill's taxi driver)  
    Frank Sully (Bill's taxi driver)  
    Kathleen Freeman (Proprietor's wife)  
    Herb Vigran (Policeman)  
    Jack Jahries (X-ray man)  
    W. J. O'Brien (Janitor)  
    Don Beddoe (O'Neill)  
    Tom Dugan (Policeman at hotel)  
    Shimen Ruskin (Hotel clerk)  
    Jerry Hausner (Taxi driver)  
    Kathleen Dennis    

Summary: After his young wife Kate reminds him over the telephone that their second wedding anniversary is that day, Los Angeles accountant William Calhoun Denny rushes from the train station to a women's clothing store. He is followed there by a friendly Welsh terrier, who unknown to him, is the property of a gangster named "Short-wave" Bert. As Bill is about to purchase a nightgown for Kate, the dog accidentally breaks a window, and the salesclerk insists that Bill use all of his cash to pay for the damage. The dog then follows Bill home carrying the discarded "happy anniversary" tag in its mouth, and Kate thanks her husband for the wonderful present. Sure that his disapproving mother-in-law, in whose house the couple lives, will ridicule him for not buying his wife a gift, Bill does not correct Kate's mistake. When the dog, whom Kate names Archie, proves an impediment to Bill's lovemaking, however, Bill scours the classifieds and finds a listing for a lost dog whose description matches Archie's. Unknown to Bill, the ad has been placed by smuggler Pete the Pusher and his cohorts, Albert Jonas and Pinky, who have arranged to deliver contraband to Bert through the specially trained Archie. Moments after Bill telephones Jonas to tell him about Archie, another gangster, Gillie the Blade, slips in and stabs Jonas to death. Bill then shows up at the smugglers' address, but is dismissed by Gillie, who is posing as Jonas. Before leaving, however, Bill gives Gillie his calling card, which Gillie leaves on Jonas' corpse after notifying the police of his murder. When Gillie informs his boss, Fat Fred, about Bill's visit, Fat Fred deduces that Archie is somehow connected to the smugglers, whose goods he hopes to hijack, and places a second "lost dog" ad in the paper. Later, a shocked Bill is questioned by irascible homicide detective O'Ryan about Jonas' murder, but insists that he merely gave the man his calling card while discussing a lost dog with him. Bill then sees Fat Fred's ad in the paper and, eager to end Archie's continuing romantic interference, walks him to Fat Fred's. Fat Fred, meanwhile, has read yet another ad about a lost terrier, placed by Pete's contact Numi, and doctors a dog to look like Archie so that he can check out the smugglers while pretending to return the animal. Soon after Fat Fred leaves his place, Pinky and Pete, responding to Fat Fred's ad, show up and kill Gillie. Bill then arrives with Archie and is terrified to discover a dead Gillie, who he still believes is Jonas. After a stressful night chasing a runaway Archie, Bill tries to tell a suspicious Kate the truth about the dog, but she refuses to listen. The next day, Bill again informs O'Ryan that Jonas has been murdered, and while O'Ryan surmises that Gillie killed Jonas, and one of Jonas' cohorts killed Gillie, he is uninterested in Bill's complicated dog story. When Bill notices the third ad in the paper and faints, however, O'Ryan sends his men to the ad's skid row address. There, the police discover not only Fat Fred's body, but Numi's as well. Kate, meanwhile, tries to walk Archie along Wilshire Boulevard, the street on which the dog has been trained to make his rendezvous. The waiting Max spies Kate, who is carrying a bag of dog bones and, assuming she is Pete's courier, grabs the bag and thrusts a valise in her hand before fleeing. Upon inspecting the bag later, Max and Bert are furious to discover only bones, but Kate and her mother are ecstatic because the valise is full of money. After a distraught Bill points out that the money is counterfeit, however, he and a disappointed Kate return it to O'Ryan, who refuses to believe that it is in any way connected to Archie. Although O'Ryan finally forces Bill to confess that he did not buy Archie as an anniversary gift, Kate still insists on keeping the dog. Bill is equally determined to rid himself of Archie, however, and leaves him at a pet store, then tells Kate that he ran away. When Kate innocently places an ad for Archie and offers a reward, the greedy pet store owner returns the dog. Bill quickly realizes that the gangsters will also be arriving, but cannot escape before the gun-wielding Max and Bert show up. As soon as Kate reveals that the money in the valise was counterfeit, Max, who thought the cash was genuine, accuses Bert of double-crossing him. The two gangsters then shoot and kill each other. Kate faints and Bill telephones the police, who pull up just as Pete and Pinky storm the Denny home looking for Archie. After Bill slugs Pete unconscious and tricks the dimwitted Pinky into falling out a window, O'Ryan and his men burst in and arrest Pete and Pinky. Later, Bill, now hailed as a hero, collects several $5,000 rewards for apprehending the smugglers and accepts Archie into his life. Having finally proven himself to his mother-in-law, Bill then carries Kate triumphantly into their bedroom. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
  Wald-Krasna Productions, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: George Beck (Dir)
  William Dorfman (Asst dir)
Producer: Jerry Wald (Prod)
  Norman Krasna (Prod)
  Stanley Rubin (Assoc prod)
Writer: George Beck (Scr)
  George Beck (Story)
  Frank Tarloff (Story)
Photography: James Wong Howe (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino (Art dir)
  J. McMillan Johnson (Prod des)
Film Editor: Paul Weatherwax (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Darrell Silvera (Set dec)
  Harley Miller (Set dec)
Costumes: Orry-Kelly (Miss Winters' gowns)
Music: Leigh Harline (Mus)
  C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
Sound: Philip Brigandi (Sd)
  Clem Portman (Sd)
Make Up: Mel Berns (Makeup artist)
  Larry Germain (Hairstylist)
Production Misc: Cannell & Chaffin, Inc. (Furniture supplied by)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: "Behave Yourself!" words and music by Lew Spence and Buddy Ebsen.
Composer: Buddy Ebsen
  Lew Spence
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Wald-Krasna Productions, Inc. 19/9/1951 dd/mm/yyyy LP1223

PCA NO: 15231
Physical Properties: Sd: RCA Sound System
  b&w:

 
Genre: Comedy
  Comedy
Sub-Genre: Crime
  Domestic
 
Subjects (Major): Accountants
  Dogs
  Gangsters
  Mothers-in-law
  Murder
  Newlyweds
 
Subjects (Minor): Betrayal
  Classified advertisements
  Corpses
  Hotels
  Los Angeles (CA)
  Money
  Pet shops
  Police detectives
  Smuggling
  Train stations
  Wedding anniversaries

Note: The opening cast list is followed by photographs of the principal players, grouped together and captioned by the following character descriptions: "The Lovers" (Farley Granger and Shelley Winters); "The Mother-in-Law" (Margalo Gillmore); "The Smuggler" (Henry Corden); "His Partners" (Elisha Cook, Jr., Glenn Anders and Lon Chaney); "The Buyers" (Sheldon Leonard and Marvin Kaplan); "The Hijackers" (Francis L. Sullivan and Hans Conried); "The Law" (Allen Jenkins, William Demarest and Ralph Sanford); "Archie" ("Archie" the dog). The actors' names are not included with their photographs. Although their photographs are seen, Henry Corden's and Ralph Sanford's names do not appear in the opening cast list. The end cast list, labelled "in order of their disappearance," is superimposed over footage of the actors. Cast members' names appear at the end in the following order: Elisha Cook, Jr., Hans Conried, Henry Corden, Francis L. Sullivan, Marvin Kaplan, Sheldon Leonard, Lon Chaney, Farley Granger, Shelley Winters, Margalo Gillmore, William Demarest, "Archie." The title song is heard only over the opening and end credits. RKO borrowed Granger from Samuel Goldwyn's company for the production. In the picture, the smugglers' contraband is never identified. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   15 Sep 51   p. 25.
Box Office   22 Sep 1951.   
Daily Variety   11 Sep 51   p. 3.
Film Daily   11 Sep 51   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Mar 51   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Mar 51   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Apr 51   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Apr 51   p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Aug 51   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Sep 51   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   15 Sep 51   p. 1013.
New York Times   8 Nov 51   p. 35.
Variety   12 Sep 51   p. 6.

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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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