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A Hole in the Head (1959)

Approved | | Comedy | 15 July 1959 (USA)
An impractical widower tries to hang onto his Miami hotel and his 12-year-old son.



(screenplay), (play)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Julius Manetta (as Jimmy Komack)
George DeWitt ...
Mendy Yales
Abe Diamond
Ruby Dandridge ...
B.S. Pully ...
Joyce Nizzari ...


Tony Manetta runs an unsuccessful Miami hotel, on which he can't meet the payments. Another liability is his weakness for dames (Shirl, his sexy current flame, is even less responsible than Tony). But a solid asset is Ally, his sensible 12-year-old son. When Tony wants stolid brother Mario to bail him out again, Mario makes conditions: give up Ally, or at least get married to a "nice, quiet little woman" of his selection. Tony and Ally just play along to be diplomatic, but when the woman in question proves to look like Eleanor Parker... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Official Sites:



Release Date:

15 July 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eine Nummer zu groß  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Nearly all of the characters' names were changed from the original play. See more »


At night at the kennel club, the lights over the bleachers go dark before the dog race starts, yet the shots of Tony and Jerry talking are still brightly lit. See more »


Tony Manetta: ...but like good ole Adam, my weakness is Eves. My current Eve is a Lulu. She woulda made the serpent eat the apple.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title and the names of Frank Capra and the leading actors appear as an aerial advertisement attached to the Goodyear blimp. See more »


Referenced in The Rat Pack (1998) See more »


Shirl's Theme (Cha-Cha)
(1959) (uncredited)
Written by Nelson Riddle
Performed by Carolyn Jones
See more »

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User Reviews

sophisticated black comedy from the Fifties
1 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The 1950s had a number of strong films, and this is one of them. It's not what most people would call a black comedy, but I do. I agree with the previous poster who called this an under-rated gem.

First of all, I like Sinatra better as an actor than as a singer; he's also really strong in the original version of the Manchurian Candidate and in The Man With the Golden Arm.

This film reminds me a bit of the much more recent "Full Monty," with a middle-aged father who acts like a young adolescent who is essentially being parented by a pre-teen son who has had to grow up too fast. That's what I mean by black comedy; it's a situation that is so sad (and, alas, so common) that you have to laugh to keep from crying. (Another comparison, but not quite as apt, is to "A Thousand Clowns.") Sinatra's character is matched by that of his girlfriend, who says, without a trace of irony to the idea of having a baby, "I'm a baby myself."

It wasn't until I came here just now that I realized this was directed by Frank Capra; I should have been able to guess it.

Everyone mentions "High Hopes," and rightly so, as a terrific (and award-winning) song. But you gotta love any movie that has a tune about how "The monkeys have no tails in Zamboanga."

8 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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