AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Dulcy
Director: S. Sylvan Simon (Dir)
Release Date:   4 Oct 1940
Production Date:   8 Jun--8 Jul 1940
Duration (in mins):   64 or 67
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Ann Sothern (Dulcy Ward)  
    Ian Hunter (Gordon Daly)  
    Roland Young (Roger Forbes)  
    Reginald Gardiner ([Horace Patterson, also known as] Schuyler Van Dyke)  
    Billie Burke (Eleanor Forbes)  
    Lynne Carver (Angela Forbes)  
    Dan Dailey Jr. (Bill Ward)  
    Donald Huie ("Sneezy" [Kuh-too-Chu])  
    Jonathan Hale (Homer Patterson)  
    Guinn "Big Boy" Williams (Henry)  
    Hans Conried (Vincent Leach)  
    Robert Middlemass (The real Schuyler Van Dyke)  
    Gerald Oliver-Smith (Huggins)  
    George Lessey (Judge)  
    David Oliver (Chauffeur)  
    Philip Van Zandt (Taxi driver)  
    Bert Moorhouse (Clerk)  
    Jerry Fletcher (Photographer)  
    Lester Dorr (Reporter)  
    Drew Demorest (Reporter)  
    Paul Parry (Reporter)  
    Eddie Dunn (Policeman)  
    Ivan Miller (Officer)  
    Mary Treen (Telephone girl)  
    Joe Yule (Attendant)  
    May McAvoy (Miss Murphy)  
    Lee Phelps (Customs officer)  
    Paul Power (Business man)  
    Lloyd Ingraham    
    Jack Mulhall    
    Harold Miller    
    Ralph Byrd    
    Hal Le Seur    

Summary: Though brimming with good intentions, the meddling Dulcy Ward causes a calamity whenever she puts her mind to something. One such disaster arises when Dulcy is meant to meet her brother Bill's fiancĂ©e, Angela Forbes, and her parents at the pier. Instead of greeting them, Dulcy is distracted by arriving ship passenger Gordon Daly and his adorable and newly adopted Chinese son, Kuh-too-Chu. Dulcy immediately falls in love with the child, whom she nicknames "Sneezy" because his Chinese name sounds like a sneeze, and insists on helping Gordon with the infant's feeding. Gordon, an inventor of a new airplane motor, is looking for a buyer, and when Dulcy accompanies him home, he demonstrates the Daly Internal Condenser for her. Interested in helping Gordon, Dulcy suggests that he take his invention to Roger Forbes, Angela's father. Certain that she will be able to manipulate Forbes into striking a business deal with Gordon through the use of psychology and careful planning, Dulcy invites Gordon to spend a weekend with the Forbeses and the Wards at a mountain resort. Upon their arrival at the resort, Dulcy stalls for time until she can put Forbes in the right frame of mind to be shown the motor. When Dulcy witnesses the crash landing of a plane on the lake, she rescues its pilot, who claims that he is millionaire Schuyler Van Dyke. Later, Forbes is given a demonstration of Gordon's motor, but because Dulcy accidentally removes the condenser during the unveiling, the device spurts oil in Forbes' face. Infuriated, Forbes insists that there is a "streak of insanity in the family," and decides to reconsider giving Angela his consent to marry Bill. Tormented by the accident-prone Dulcy and her disasters, Forbes decides to leave the resort. The next day, Bill convinces Angela to elope with him, and after they write a letter explaining their elopement, they give it to Dulcy to deliver to Forbes after they leave. The elopement is spoiled, however, when Forbes intercepts the letter before Bill and Angela leave. Desperate to regain the confidence of Gordon and her family, Dulcy explains her predicament to Van Dyke, who soon offers the inventor $10,000 plus royalties for his motor. After Van Dyke boasts that his acquisition of the motor will put Forbes out of business within a year, a man named Homer Patterson arrives and reveals that Van Dyke is really his brother Horace, who is an imposter suffering from delusions of grandeur. Forbes, however, does not believe Dulcy when she informs him of the ruse, and instead insists on making Gordon a better offer for his invention. As a result, Dulcy is redeemed in the eyes of her guests. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's, Inc.)
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: S. Sylvan Simon (Dir)
  Gilbert Kurland (Asst dir)
Producer: Edgar Selwyn (Prod)
Writer: Albert Mannheimer (Scr)
  Jerome Chodorov (Scr)
  Joseph A. Fields (Scr)
Photography: Charles Lawton (Photog)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
  Howard Campbell (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: Frank E. Hull (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis (Set dec)
Costumes: Adrian (Gowns)
Music: Bronislau Kaper (Mus score)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec dir)
Make Up: Sydney Guilaroff (Hairstyles for Miss Sothern by)
Country: United States

Music:
Songs:
Source Text: Based on the play Dulcy by George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly (New York,13 Aug 1921).
Authors: Marc Connelly
  George S. Kaufman

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. 14/9/1940 dd/mm/yyyy LP9947 Yes

PCA NO: 6495
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

 
Genre: Comedy
 
Subjects (Major): Accidents
  Bumblers
  Businessmen
  Impersonation and imposture
  Inventors
  Lunatics
 
Subjects (Minor): Adoption
  Airplane accidents
  Aviators
  Boats
  Brothers
  Chinese
  Dogs
  Elopement
  Engagements
  Ex-convicts
  Family relationships
  Capitalists and financiers
  In-laws
  Letters
  Playwrights
  Rescues
  Resorts
  Transformation

Note: A 1938 HR news item indicates that Florence Rice was originally slated for the title role in this film, and in Dec 1939, HR announced that Rosalind Russell was set for the title role. According to a HR pre-release news item, background shots were filmed at Lake Arrowhead, California. The MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library contains a letter sent by the PCA to M-G-M on 6 Jun 1940, in which the studio was warned to eliminate or alter several scenes and lines of dialogue: the "action of 'Dulcy' whispering in the waiter's ear suggests inescapably a 'toilet gag,'" Dulcy's line, "He forced it from my most intimate parts" and the title of the book "Pschopathia-Sexualis" were deemed unacceptable. Two weeks after the Hays office rejected the notion of the character Van Dyke carrying the book "Psychopathia-Sexualis," it approved the title "Nuts--The True Story of a Peanut," with the stipulation that the line "The True Story of a Peanut" be discernible to the audience. A Lux Radio Theatre presentation of Dulcy aired on 29 Mar 1937, and starred George Burns and Gracie Allen. Two previously produced films based on the same source are Dulcy , a 1923 First National release, directed by Sidney A. Franklin and starring Constance Talmadge and Claude Gillingwater; and Not So Dumb , a 1930 M-G-M release directed by King Vidor and starring Marion Davies and Elliott Nugent (see entries above and below). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   27 Sep 40   p. 3.
Film Daily   3 Oct 40   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Mar 37   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Nov 38   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Dec 39   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jun 40   p. 3, 6
Hollywood Reporter   3 Jul 40   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Jul 40   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Aug 40   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Sep 40   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald   5 Oct 40   p. 40.
New York Times   28 Nov 40   p. 28.
Variety   2 Oct 40   p. 12.

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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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