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Bells Are Ringing (1960)

Ella Peterson is a Brooklyn telephone answering service operator who tries to improve the lives of her clients by passing along bits of information she hears from other clients. She falls ... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »

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From $2.00 (SD) on Amazon Video

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Larry Hastings
J. Otto Prantz
Ruth Storey ...
Inspector Barnes
Blake Barton
Bernard West ...
Dr. Joe Kitchell (as Bernie West)
Steve Peck ...
Gangster (as Steven Peck)
Gerry Mulligan ...
Ella's Blind Date


Ella Peterson is a Brooklyn telephone answering service operator who tries to improve the lives of her clients by passing along bits of information she hears from other clients. She falls in love with one of her clients, the playwright Jeffrey Moss, and is determined to meet him. The trouble is, on the phone to him, she always pretends to be an old woman whom he calls "Mom." Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The screen is singing M.G.M. is bringing Broadway's Bell-Ringer of a Musical to the World!


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Release Date:

14 November 1960 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Esta rubia vale un millón  »

Box Office


$2,203,123 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A song written for the picture, "My Guiding Star" (music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green), sung by Dean Martin, was deleted. The vocal as filmed still exists and is featured on the DVD from Warner Home Video. See more »


Ella's red shoes change from 2 inch heels (in the Cha Cha Cha and Just in Time numbers) to 3 inch heels for the non-dancing sequences in between and afterwards. See more »


Carl: Hey, Titanic Records - is that a new label?
J. Otto Prantz: We have only the finest European recordings.
Carl: Oh, Brandenburg Number Three. I have the Leonard Bernstein recording. Who's on your label?
J. Otto Prantz: The Dusseldorf Zuider Zee Moonlight Hanseatic League Symphony on the Karlsruhe.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Joan Staley in the credits as " Blonde in Susanswerphone Ad". See more »


References The Devil's Disciple (1959) See more »


The Midas Touch
(1956) (uncredited)
Music by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Performed by Hal Linden and Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

A Mediocre Musical That I Would Still Recommend Seeing
26 December 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First, let me say that I am a fan of Judy Holliday. She displays her broad array of talents in this film, but that is about all this film has going for it. See "Born Yesterday" for a vehicle that better uses her abilities. In that movie, Judy's romantic interest was William Holden, and the chemistry was there. In "Bells are Ringing" her romantic interest is Dean Martin. I felt no magnetism between the two. And I felt that he was unsuited for this role. It was interesting that Dean's character, a writer named Jeffrey Moss, was afraid of failure in the wake of losing his former partner, with whom he had success. Dean himself was only 3 years beyond his split with Jerry Lewis, and must have wondered--at first--if he could duplicate the tremendous successes they had as a team.

Jeffrey Moss, when we first meet him, is in his bachelor flat, surrounded by used glasses, presumably used for alcohol consumption. And he has three cigarettes smoking at the same time. He is obviously used to drinking around the clock and seems to have little if any genuine affection for the numerous women in his life. He is a writer frozen with fear of failure and looks to be on the road to achieving that end.

The concept that Ella, played by Judy, interjects herself into his life and becomes his muse is a good one. But their relationship works only on that professional level. No sparks ensue. Martin's character did not even seem to know anything about Ella, let alone have any deep feelings for her as a woman.

The story itself is very dated, but interesting because of that. The conventions of 1960 as sometimes funny, sometimes ridiculous. Note that the men from Vice equate modeling and a red dress with prostitution, though film standards prevent them from using that word. New York City is caricatured as an emotionally cold city, where buildings from the past are destroyed to make way for buildings of steel and neon lights. It was probably totally believable because it was partially true.

I noted the movie sign for "Gigi", which--like this film--was an Arthur Freed production.

Frank Gorshin got to use his Brando impersonation, delightfully, in his role as the aspiring actor Blake Barton.

Some of the off-screen voices that Ella converses with sound like they could have been voiced by Judy herself.

I thought I detected similarities to "Guys and Dolls" (1955) and "Li'l Abner" (1959)), which is no criticism, just an observation. And Judy's performance makes me wonder if Streisand ("Funny Girl" in 1965) might have seen her performance.

I read elsewhere online that one viewer thought the dance in the park by Martin and Holliday was the best part of the film. For me, the number was painful to watch, in part due to their lack of emotional attachment, in part because it seemed so contrived.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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