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Guys and Dolls (1955)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime, Musical | 23 December 1955 (USA)
In New York, a gambler is challenged to take a cold female missionary to Havana, but they fall for each other, and the bet has a hidden motive to finance a crap game.

Writers:

(based upon the play: "Guys and Dolls" book by), (based upon the play: "Guys and Dolls" book by) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Sky Masterson
... Sarah Brown
... Nathan Detroit
... Miss Adelaide
... Lt. Brannigan
... Nicely-Nicely Johnson
B.S. Pully ... Big Jule
... Benny Southstreet
... Harry the Horse
... Rusty Charlie (as Dan Dayton)
... Society Max
... Arvide Abernathy
... General Cartwright
... Laverne
Mary Alan Hokanson ... Agatha
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Storyline

All the hot gamblers are in town, and they're all depending on Nathan Detroit to set up this week's incarnation of "The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York"; the only problem is, he needs $1000 to get the place. Throw in Sarah Brown, who's short on sinners at the mission she runs; Sky Masterson, who accepts Nathan's $1000 bet that he can't get Sarah Brown to go with him to Havana; Miss Adelaide, who wants Nathan to marry her; Police Lieutenant Brannigan, who always seems to appear at the wrong time; and the music/lyrics of Frank Loesser, and you've got quite a musical. Includes the songs: Fugue for Tinhorns, "Luck Be a Lady", "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat". Written by Syam Gadde <gadde@cs.duke.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 December 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ellos y ellas  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$13,000,000, 31 December 1956
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (with overture and exit music)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System) (magnetic prints)| (optical prints)

Color:

(Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although he worked very hard at the musical aspects, constantly working with voice coaches and choreographer Michael Kidd, Marlon Brando thought his voice sounded like "the mating call of a yak." He had to spend many hours in the sound studio recording his numbers over and over again. In the end, his songs were patched together from countless retakes for playback during shooting. Years later, he wrote in his autobiography, "They sewed my words together on one song so tightly that when I mouthed it in front of the camera, I nearly asphyxiated myself because I couldn't breathe while trying to synchronize my lips." See more »

Goofs

Just after the sewer crap game, Nathan tells Adelaide that green and white are the Whitney colors. C.V. Whitney colors are light blue with brown cap. John Hay Whitney raced the Greentree Stable's horses under flamingo and pink colors. See more »

Quotes

Nathan Detroit: [after declining a bet that he cannot say what color his tie is] Polka dots. In the whole world, only Nathan Detroit could blow a thousand bucks on polka dots.
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Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: The Best of Jon Lovitz (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Follow the Fold
(1950) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Played by the Mission Band and sung by them and Jean Simmons
Reprised by the Band outside of Mindy's restaurant
Reprised by the Band outside of a drugstore and sung by them and Marlon Brando
Reprised by the Band outside a bar
Reprised by the Band and sung by the gamblers at the Mission
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It's chemistry! Enduring and quirky musical
28 April 2009 | by See all my reviews

I'm intrigued by the strong sense of favour towards (or sympathy for!) Sinatra in the other reviews here. I've read elsewhere that Sinatra never seems to have forgiven anyone for *not* being cast as Sky Masterson.

OK, so who wouldn't want to be cast as Sky Masterson? – it's a great part: the charismatic successful gambler who makes a grave mistake when he allows himself to be suckered into a bet, in which he must take Salvation Army Sargeant Sarah Brown on a date to Cuba, or lose. It's not the money – it's the pride, but he and she meet their match. Meanwhile Nathan Detroit must juggle his long-suffering fiancée Adelaide with trying to find a spot for a craps game which will make him rich if it doesn't alienate his fiancée forever first.

The film started life as a series of short stories by Damon Runyon: that's his unique dialogue you hear, and those are his great character names, and that's his horse-racing/nightclub/late night gambling world. Then it became a musical, and you can't help but feel that in film form it never really left the stage. The camera is unusually static and the sets remarkably – and not pleasingly – flat and childlike. Fortunately the music is so great, I don't care that much.

My absolute favourite thing about this film, though, is the singing and acting of the two non-singers, Brando (as Sky) and Jean Simmons (as Sargeant Sarah Brown). Of course, putting pro singers into these roles would have produced better music; but what surely gets forgotten is that two such excellent actors brought something else to the party instead: what they lacked in vocal talent they more than made up for in gusto, acting ability, and pathos, pathos, pathos. You're with Sky as he argues with Sarah against reason, steadiness, pipes and safety. You enjoy Sarah's loosening up under the influence of Cuban "milk". You feel completely the suddenness and passion of their scene in the courtyard with bells ringing and an hour to go before the plane takes them home. As Sky rightly says, it's "chemistry". Pro singers – be they Broadway belters or smooth crooners – can't necessarily be relied on to make this happen. (And they certainly didn't.) I read somewhere that Brando criticised Sinatra for not putting all of himself into his role of Nathan Detroit. Sinatra in turn was infuriated by Brando's four-take acting method. As a Brando fan (does it show?!) I'm bound to take the other side, but I can't imagine that this film would have been the much-adored classic it is today if Brando and Simmons hadn't been in it with their wonderful chemistry; Brando's unpredictability; Simmons' face, all pink cheeks and brown hair, drunk and ashamed in a Cuban bar. Beautiful. I'll always want a copy of this film lying around in case I need to feel good again. You'll forgive me if give some of the Nathan (sleep)talking parts the 100% brush-off though, won't you? You won't? Oh, be quiet and have some more of Mindy's cheesecake!


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