Phffft (1954)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  10 November 1954 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 987 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 7 critic

After eight years of marriage, Robert and Nina divorce. He takes up with his womanising Navy buddy Charlie Nelson while she looks to her interfering mother for guidance. Both start dating ... See full summary »



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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Nina Tracey née Chapman
Luella Gear ...
Edith Chapman
Donald Randolph ...
Dr. Van Kessel
Rick Vidal


After eight years of marriage, Robert and Nina divorce. He takes up with his womanising Navy buddy Charlie Nelson while she looks to her interfering mother for guidance. Both start dating other people, but although they try and ignore each other whenever they accidentally meet, it is obvious the past is not dead. Then one night they find themselves in a nightclub doing the mambo together. Written by Jeremy Perkins <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Don't Say It! See It!


Comedy | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 November 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Phffft!  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Nina mentions she has her own TV show and is making $40,000 per year, that would equate to $354,000 in 2015. See more »


As Jack Lemmon pulls away from the stop light in his sports car, the car shifts gears while both his hands are on the steering wheel. See more »


Charlie Nelson: A mustache is a very important thing. That's part of the famous Charlie Nelson theory in the efficacy of face hair in dealing with the opposite sex.
Robert Tracey: [Slightly taken aback] What?
Charlie Nelson: Always remember this: dames become unpredictable when faced with a mustache. It both arouses, and angers them, because... being as it is a symbol of masculinity, they feel drawn toward it.
See more »


Featured in The Lady with the Torch (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

First-Rate Fluff
5 September 2011 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

I love that scene where the phony doctor and nurse keep upstaging each other while on TV. What a sparkling little comedy from two of the best comedic actors of the time —Holliday and Lemmon. Holliday is less pixilated than usual, but then she does play a TV writer. Lemmon also has fewer tics than usual, but that doesn't hamper the laughs at all. They play a married couple who divorce when he prefers reading second-rate Mickey Spillane to her. Of course, once divorced, they pine for each other following a series of comedic misadventures.

That manic dance number alone is worth the price of admission. I just hope they did it in one take, otherwise get out the respirator. Then too the "whooshing" bed proves a great bit of comedic inspiration. Note how its whooshing back and forth becomes innuendo in that flashback scene where they first meet. And what a cutely appropriate final whoosh to the movie as a whole.

A lot of credit should go to ace screenwriter Axelrod, who devises a series of amusing episodes where Nina (Holliday) and Robert (Lemmon) try to out-do one another in the I'm-so-over-you department. He grows a mustache and gets a sports car, while she does what any woman is expected to do—she gets a new wardrobe. Meanwhile, that expert performer Jack Carson lends first-rate actorly support but questionable best-friend advice; at the same time, Kim Novak gets into the swing with a vivacious party-girl performance.

All in all, the set-ups wear well despite the years. Sure, it's only well done fluff. Still, I'm just sorry there weren't more Holliday-Lemmon pairings, since their styles blend so perfectly as this movie so humorously demonstrates.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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