AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Playgirl
Director: Joseph Pevney (Dir)
Release Date:   May 1954
Premiere Information:   World premiere in Chicago, IL: 30 Apr 1954; Los Angeles opening: 19 May 1954
Production Date:   2 Dec--late Dec 1953
Duration (in mins):   85
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Cast:   Shelley Winters (Fran [Davis])  
    Barry Sullivan (Mike Marsh)  
    Colleen Miller (Phyllis Matthews)  
    Richard Long (Barron Courtney [II])  
    Gregg Palmer (Tom Burton)  
    Kent Taylor (Ted Andrews)  
    Jacqueline de Wit (Greta Marsh)  
    Dave Barry (Jonathan)  
    Philip Van Zandt (Lew Martel)  
    James McCallion (Paul)  
    Paul Richards (Wilbur)  
    Helen Beverley (Anne)  
    Myrna Hansen (Linda)  
    Mara Corday (Pam)  
    Don Avalier (Pancho)  
    Carl Sklover (Cab driver)  
    Eddie Rochelle (Cab driver)  
    William Leslie (Intern)  
    Brad Jackson (College boy)  
    Lance Fuller (Newspaper man)  
    Ken Patterson (Herb)  
    Barnard Hughes (Durkin)  
    William Woodson (Drunk)  
    Ken Peters (Newscaster)  
    Peter Leeds (Sharpie)  
    George Ramsey (Agent)  
    Claude Stroud (Hanagan)  
    Robert B. Williams (Police sergeant)  
    Otis Garth (Eric)  
    Bob Nelson (Assistant district attorney)  
    Erma Robinson (Celeste)  
    Cunsuelo Cezon (Girl)  
    Dolores Fuller (Girl)  
    Jack Wilson (Bob Gable)  
    Jack Lomas (O'Brian)  
    Sarah Spencer (Fashion editor)  
    Jess Kirkpatrick (Police lieutenant)  
    Mike Dale (Policeman)  
    Mike Donovan (Policeman)  
    Rory Mallinson (Doorman)  
    Dan Barton (Man at airport)  
    Charles Sherlock (Ambulance attendant)  
    Vicent Perry (Older man)  
    Joel Allen (Newspaper man)  
    Patricia Raven (Betsy)  
    Brick Sullivan (Harry, the cop)  
    Jack Vonda (Sam)  
    Donald Kerr (Newsman)  
    Perk Lazelle (Proprietor)  
    Mike Lally (Drunk)  
    Harold Bostwick (Boy)  
    Mary Hill    
    Jeane Wood    
    Jack Gargan    
    Charles Victor    
    Ned Davenport    
    Jimmy Long    
    Patsi Donahue    
    George DeNormand    
    Cosmo Sardo    
    Jack Sterling    

Summary: Nebraskan Phyllis Matthews arrives in New York City to become a model and is greeted at the airport by her hometown friend, Fran Davis. Fran, a nightclub singer for the past six years, has grown somewhat cynical, but appreciates Phyllis' naïve exhilaration. They stop at Fran's apartment, where Phyllis is horrified to find Fran's neighbor, Glitter magazine writer Tom Burton, in the shower. Frank assures her they are just friends, but Phyllis is further offended when Tom insinuates that her innocence will not last long in the big city. Later, Phyllis fixes up Fran with Barron Courtney II, a supposedly rich playboy who actually makes his living by introducing young women to rich older men, and they visit the club where Fran is singing that night. There, Barron presents Phyllis to wealthy Ted Andrews, who insults her by offering one hundred dollars to continue the evening with him. Meanwhile, Fran's lover, Mike Marsh, the married editor of Glitter , visits Fran in her dressing room, but does not stay to watch her sing. At Fran's apartment later that night, Fran advises Phyllis to take men's money but remain chaste, and later Tom offers to arrange a job interview at Glitter . The next morning, Tom tells Mike about his idea, to photograph a fresh country girl as she learns her way around the city. Although Mike is at first skeptical, he changes his mind when he sees Phyllis in a bathing suit. Within days, Phyllis is at the studio day and night being photographed as a glamorous new star. By the end of the shoot, she and Tom kiss. Later, Mike invites her to lunch to discuss a contract, and although Phyllis has no idea he has cancelled a date with Fran to do so, Fran sees them and assumes Phyllis is trying to steal Mike away. After Fran's anger causes Phyllis to run out of the room, Fran reveals to Tom that Mike represents her last hope for a stable future. That night, while Fran is performing at the club, she spots Mike in the audience with his wife Greta, who will not divorce Mike even though their marriage has grown cold and bitter. Backstage, meanwhile, club owner Lew Martel informs Barron that he now owes him almost six thousand dollars. Soon after, Tom leaves on a business trip just as Glitter goes on sale, instantly transforming Phyllis into a celebrity. After Mike begins to chase Phyllis in earnest, Fran makes a desperate visit to his office, where he promises never to leave her. Aware he is lying, Fran goes home and drinks. When she finds a note from Mike inviting Phyllis to a work party that night, she asks Barron to take her there. Drunkenly interrupting the party, Fran raves that Mike is an adulterer and Phyllis a gold-digger, and slaps Phyllis. Outraged, Mike takes Phyllis to the company apartment, but Fran follows them there and bursts into the room with a gun. Mike charms her into giving him the gun, but when she acquiesces and hands it over, the gun discharges accidentally, killing Mike. Soon, the tabloids concoct a tale about a love triangle, and conjecture about whether Fran or Phyllis murdered Mike. Fran lies to the reporters that Phyllis was trying to seduce Mike, and although the death is eventually found to be accidental, both women's reputations are ruined. Unable to find a job, a desperate and disillusioned Phyllis asks Barron to fix her up with Ted. When Tom returns to town, he sees how Phyllis has changed and, beginning to believe Fran's story, refuses to see her. Meanwhile, Fran drinks more and more, and when she calls Lew to beg him for a job, he tells her she will never work again. Lew then calls Barron in and orders him to set up Ted, through a date with Phyllis, for a mob hit. Ashamed but helpless, Barron agrees, but then visits Fran and informs her that he has made the arrangements for Ted's murder. Realizing Phyllis is in grave danger, Fran races to Phyllis' apartment, where the hired killer is hiding behind a door waiting for Ted to arrive. A terrified Phyllis, who does not understand what is happening, is forced to let Fran in when she knocks, and the killer mistakenly shoots the singer. Ted, arriving moments later, shoots the gunman and calls the police. Sobbing, Phyllis accompanies a wounded Fran to the hospital, where Tom also visits. Fran admits that she lied about Phyllis and Mike and urges Tom to take Phyllis back. Hours later, Fran pulls through her dangerous operation, and after a few weeks, the new scandal dies down. When Tom and Phyllis, in love once again, arrive at the airport to pick up Tom's parents, Phyllis happens to hear a country girl rhapsodizing about her new life in Manhattan, and wishes the girl all the luck in the world. 

Production Company: Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Co., Inc.  
Director: Joseph Pevney (Dir)
  Frank Shaw (Asst dir)
  Phil Bowles (Asst dir)
  James Havens (2d unit dir)
  Irvin Berwick (Dial dir)
Producer: Albert J. Cohen (Prod)
Writer: Robert Blees (Scr)
  Ray Buffum (Story)
Photography: Carl Guthrie (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Alexander Golitzen (Art dir)
  Robert Clatworthy (Art dir)
Film Editor: Virgil Vogel (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Russell A. Gausman (Set dec)
  Ruby R. Levitt (Set dec)
Costumes: Bill Thomas (Gowns)
Music: Joseph Gershenson (Mus supv)
Sound: Leslie I. Carey (Sd)
  Glenn E. Anderson (Sd)
Make Up: Joan St. Oegger (Hairstylist)
  Bud Westmore (Makeup)
Production Misc: Sergei Petschnikoff (Prod mgr)
  Dorothy Hughes (Scr supv)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: "Lie to Me," words and music by Ray Gilbert; "There'll Be Some Changes Made," words and music by Billy Higgins, W. Benton Overstreet and Herbert Edwards.
Composer: Herbert Edwards
  Ray Gilbert
  Billy Higgins
  W. Benton Overstreet
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., Inc. 29/5/1954 dd/mm/yyyy LP3714

PCA NO: 16918
Physical Properties: Sd: Western Electric Recording
  b&w:
  Widescreen/ratio: 2:1

 
Genre: Melodrama
Sub-Genre: with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Bribery
  Lure of the city
  Manslaughter
  Models
  Moral corruption
  Naïveté
  Publishers and publishing
  Romantic rivalry
  Roommates
 
Subjects (Minor): Alcoholics
  Despair
  Drunkenness
  False accusations
  Gangsters
  Infidelity
  Magazine writers
  Neighbors
  New York City
  Nightclubs
  Parties
  Playboys
  Self-sacrifice
  Singers
  Wounds and injuries

Note: Although a Sep 1953 HR news item reported that Whitfield Cook was hired to write the screenplay for Playgirl , only Robert Blees received onscreen credit. James McCallion, Paul Richards and Helen Beverley are not included in the film’s opening credits, but are listed above Myrna Hansen and Mara Corday in the closing credits. A Nov 1954 "Rambling Reporter" column in HR stated that Hansen tested for the role of "Phyllis Matthews." According to a Dec 1954 HR news item, some scenes were shot on location in New York City. Playgirl marked the feature film debut of actor Barnard Hughes (1915--2006), who later went on to prominence on the stage, in film and on television, primarily playing older characters and curmudgeons.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   24 Apr 1954.   
Daily Variety   19 Apr 54   p. 3.
Film Daily   17 May 54   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Sep 1953.   
Hollywood Reporter   9 Nov 1953   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Dec 1953   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   4 Dec 1953   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Dec 1953   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Dec 1953   p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Apr 54   p. 3, 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   24 Apr 54   p. 2269.
New York Times   15 May 54   p. 13.
Variety   21 Apr 54   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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