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The Opposite Sex (1956)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 29 April 1957 (Sweden)
Shortly after their tenth wedding anniversary, New York theater producer Steven Hilliard and his wife, former popular radio singer Kay Hilliard née Ashley, are getting a Kay-initiated Reno ... See full summary »

Director:

David Miller

Writers:

Fay Kanin (screenplay), Michael Kanin (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
June Allyson ... Kay Ashley Hilliard
Joan Collins ... Crystal Allen
Dolores Gray ... Sylvia Fowler
Ann Sheridan ... Amanda Penrose
Ann Miller ... Gloria Dahl
Leslie Nielsen ... Steve Hilliard
Jeff Richards ... Buck Winston
Agnes Moorehead ... Countess de Brion
Charlotte Greenwood ... Lucy
Joan Blondell ... Edith Potter
Sam Levene ... Mike Pearl
Bill Goodwin ... Howard Fowler
Alice Pearce ... Olga
Barbara Jo Allen ... Dolly DeHaven
Sandy Descher ... Debbie Hilliard
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Storyline

Shortly after their tenth wedding anniversary, New York theater producer Steven Hilliard and his wife, former popular radio singer Kay Hilliard née Ashley, are getting a Kay-initiated Reno divorce after Kay finds out about a marital indiscretion he had with Crystal Allen, a gold digging chorus girl in one of his shows. News of the indiscretion made its way to Kay indirectly by her catty friend, Sylvia Fowler. In Kay getting the divorce, Kay's best friend, playwright Amanda Penrose believes Kay is playing right into the wants of Crystal, whose main goal is not to be happily married to Steven, but to get what such a marriage can bring to her in material wealth and comfort. Amanda does not believe Steven loves Crystal and that he still really does love Kay. And Kay does proceed with the divorce despite believing theirs was a happy and loving marriage before she learned of the indiscretion, and despite having an adolescent daughter, Debbie, to consider. But when Kay learns some ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A SCREENFUL OF FUN! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 April 1957 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

El sexo opuesto See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,834,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Perspecta Stereo (as Perspecta Sound)| 4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the second Mrs. Dick Powell [Joan Blondell] was no fan of the third Mrs. Powell [June Allyson], she asked her daughter (and Allyson's stepdaughter) Ellen Powell to speak to Allyson about a role in the film. It was Blondell's return to movies after a five-year absence, and despite the rather difficult history involving the two Mrs. Powells, all went reasonably smoothly. See more »

Goofs

When Kay shakes her hands in the air when she says, "I've had a whole year to grow claws, Lexie! Jungle Red!", she's wearing clear nail polish. In the next scene, at the nightclub, she has on red nail polish. See more »

Quotes

Amanda Penrose: [to Kay] What do you think marriage is anyway? Something safe and comfortable you can take for granted? This is a rough world, Kay, and marriage has to live in it. It has to be won over and over again, as many times as necessary and against all challenges. And anyone who hasn't the guts to fight ought to have learned to live alone and like it a long time ago.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: Manhattan Island ... A body of land consisting of four million square males-completely surrounded by women. See more »

Connections

Version of Women in New York (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

The Opposite Sex
(uncredited)
Music by Nicholas Brodszky
Lyrics by Sammy Cahn
Performed over the opening credits by Dolores Gray
Performed during "The Psychiatrist" musical sketch with Dick Shawn, Jim Backus,
Joan Collins and Carolyn Jones
See more »

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User Reviews

Women Behaving Badly
21 January 2010 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

No need to compare this stand-alone with the original. MGM's wardrobe department must have worked overtime. The ladies-- and there are many-- get to model all the high fashion of 1956, and some outfits are real doozies. But then this is a tell-all musical remake about sophisticated Manhattan show people from influential author Luce who certainly should know. You may need a scorecard, however, to keep up with the rotating relationships among the high class types.

I expect the film sets feminist teeth on edge now with its depiction of women as either maliciously catty (Gray & Collins) or catty as a defensive measure (Allyson, Blondell, & Sheridan). And that's when they're not chasing after men on whom it appears they're emotionally dependent. I imagine that if the movie were made today, key changes would be made.

That's not to say this Technicolor candy box isn't entertaining. It is at least campy fun, although the musical numbers are mostly forgettable. Instead, it's the characters that are irresistible, particularly Gray as the queen of acid gossip; Collins as the ruthless husband stealer; and Richards as the dude ranch stud. It's also a well-honed supporting cast, down to a blondined henchwoman Carolyn Jones. Unfortunately, it's also a rather dour June Allyson, a long way from her usual verve and sparkle.

But the high-point may well be the biggest no-holds-barred brawl between two women (Miller and Gray) that I've seen. Stand aside John Wayne and the rest of the macho brawlers because this one is worthy of the best smoke-filled bar room. I don't know if stunt doubles filled in, but somebody deserved a fat paycheck. Anyway, if you don't mind seeing women behaving badly 1950's style, this well-upholstered confection deserves a look-see.


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