Two aging playboys are both after the same attractive young woman, but she fends them off by claiming that she plans to remain a virgin until her wedding night. Both men determine to find a way around her objections.
Successful architect Don Gresham (William Holden) engages a young actress, Patty O'Neill (Maggie McNamara), in conversation on top of the Empire State Building, and she accepts his invitation to dinner. Dropping in at his apartment on the way, they decide to dine there as Patty announces herself an excellent cook. Don slips out to buy food, and Patty is briefly visited by his ex-fiancée, Cynthia Slater (Dawn Addams), and not too briefly, by Cynthia's father David (David Niven), a middle-aged, practiced charmer who, on her invitation, stays to dinner. A slight accident at the table occasions Patty to change her dress for Don's bathrobe. While Don is away placating the jealous Cynthia, David loses no time in offering Patty a proposal of marriage and a six hundred dollar gift. She accepts the latter and is surprised by Don in a grateful kiss to David. Don is still enraged with Patty when her father arrives, and, outraged to discover his daughter in a bachelor's apartment, knocks him ... Written by
Character actress Florence Bates and celebrity restaurateur Michael Romanoff, neither of whom are cast in film proper, are prominently featured as audience members in the elaborate trailer that appears as an extra on some home video versions of this movie. See more »
Long before Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks discovered they loved each other atop the Empire State Building, William Holden and Maggie McNamara met on the observation tower of the venerable skyscraper in the film version of the hit Broadway play, "The Moon is Blue." One of the best and most sprightly comedies of the early fifties, Otto Preminger had a fight on his hands when the film went before an aghast Production Code board.
The movie makes rather light of a young woman's commitment to chastity, suggests that seduction is an amusing and acceptable pastime for a single male and uses words like "pregnant" and "virgin" offhandedly. The lovely, talkative, self-assured Patty even demands to know the meaning of the charge, by her new boyfriend's barely ex-girlfriend, that she's a "professional virgin." Shocking stuff and approval was denied. Perhaps equally stunning to the Hollywood censors was Preminger's decision to release the film without approval, something he had the clout to do.
As it turned out, audiences were able to deal with this explosive material. :) And almost fifty years later, when virtually nothing remains to be said or done on the silver screen, this film retains its charm, humor and attractiveness because a superb trio of actors - William Holden, Maggie McNamara and an irrepressible David Niven, who steals some of the scenes - gives a timeless quality to their sterling performances.
The script hews pretty much to the original play with minimal set changes. The dialogue is witty and fast. Preminger knew he had created a gem of a romantic comedy and it's good entertainment today in a world where the values expressed by the characters seem as remote as the social customs of the Neandertals. I hadn't seen the film in decades - I rented it and I'm going to buy a copy. This is a true and timeless classic.
By the way, don't skip the trailer that precedes the film. It's very funny.
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