Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1958. Don Hartman Productions. Screenplay by John Michael Hayes, based on the play by Thornton Wilder. Cinematography by Charles Lang. Produced by Don Hartman. Music by Adolph Deutsch. Production Design by Roland Anderson, Hal Pereira. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Howard A. Smith.
If you can stand Shirley Booth, you’ll love her in this film version of Thornton Wilder’s popular play, which was also the inspiration for the musical Hello, Dolly. Booth plays a chattery matchmaker in 19th century upstate New York whose latest pairing schemes are actually just a cover for her own designs on a wealthy merchant (Paul Ford). Ford’s overly anxious employee (Anthony Perkins) runs away to the Big Apple and finds love with shopgirl Shirley MacLaine (in a lovely performance). The costumes will catch your eye, and the script follows Wilder’s original play faithfully, but the pace lags and those of us who find Booth annoying will hardly make it halfway through (though you have to admit she’s more appropriately cast in the role than the hardly-thirty Barbra Streisand was).