The Moon Is Blue (1953)

OTTO PREMINGER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5

USA, 1953.  Otto Preminger Films.  Screenplay by , based on his play.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , Otto Preminger.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1953.  Golden Globe Awards 1953.

A pretty girl spots a handsome man shopping in the Empire State Building and they give each other the glad eye. A couple of meet-cutes later, he (William Holden) has taken her (Maggie McNamara) back to his bachelor pad where she peppers him with endless chatter that could easily be a preamble to a very good evening. His ex-girlfriend () shows up to make trouble, but doesn’t accomplish any of the complications that ensue when the ex-girlfriend’s father (David Niven) arrives and impresses McNamara with his charm. Despite being endlessly talky and stagebound (it’s obviously based on a play given that it only actually has three settings), the film rests quite comfortably on the charms of its stars and its sparkling dialogue. Director Otto Preminger made incredible waves with the censors for the screenplay, which includes what are reportedly the first uses of “pregnant”, “seduce”, “virgin” and “mistress” (at least in reference to adultery) in a mainstream Hollywood film; of course, the film is hardly shocking now, but it’s still quite funny and engaging. McNamara never made much of a film career for herself in her short life, but her work here (and the Oscar nomination she received for it) make a strong case for how unfortunate that is.

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