30 user 7 critic

The Matchmaker (1958)

2:10 | Trailer
Thornton Wilder's tale of a matchmaker who desires the man she's supposed to be pairing with another woman.


Joseph Anthony


Thornton Wilder (play), John Michael Hayes (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Shirley Booth ... Dolly 'Gallagher' Levi
Anthony Perkins ... Cornelius Hackl
Shirley MacLaine ... Irene Molloy
Paul Ford ... Horace Vandergelder
Robert Morse ... Barnaby Tucker
Perry Wilson ... Minnie Fay
Wallace Ford ... Malachi Stack
Russell Collins ... Joe Scanlon
Rex Evans Rex Evans ... August
Gavin Gordon ... Rudolph
Torben Meyer ... Alex, Headwaiter, Harmonica Club
Orangey ... Self - a Cat (as Rhubarb)


It's 1884 in Yonkers, New York. Dolly Gallagher-Levi is a Jane-of-all-Trades, but her latest and most lucrative venture is as a matchmaker, setting men up with women with the intention of matrimony. This job is ironic as she was previously married herself, not enjoying the experience. Her latest client is older penny-pinching retail store owner, Horace Vandergelder, who works his two young meek clerks, Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker, to the bone. As Horace won't give them a day off, Cornelius and Barnaby plot to close the store and sneak into New York for the day, their mission to meet and kiss a girl. In New York, Cornelius spots Irene Molloy, a young female milliner upon who he sets his sights. On their meeting, Cornelius is unaware that she is also one of Horace's possible brides. Beyond what happens between Horace, Cornelius and Irene, Dolly herself may be ready for matrimony again despite her words to the contrary. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You'll Laugh...You'll Love...


Romance | Comedy


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Both the Shirleys who acted in this film won Best Actress Oscars. Shirley Booth won her award prior to this film for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952), while Shirley MacLaine would eventually win her award for her role in Terms of Endearment (1983). See more »


As he's preparing to leave Vandergelder's store, Joe Scanlon refers to Mr. Vandergelder as Mr. Handergelder. See more »


Dolly "Gallagher" Levi: [after the two clerks emerge from under a table] Good heavens, who else is under there?
See more »


Version of Die Heiratsvermittlerin (1976) See more »

User Reviews

Screaming for the songs, but fun to watch

I have always loved the "straight play" version of the Dolly story. Actually Thornton Wilder's play had a previous incarnation set in Austria, in the German language. He had written it for Broadway in the fifties, it was filmed in 58 in this version, and Jerry Herman must have seen it and fallen in love with it for the musical "Hello, Dolly!". Parts of this are superior to the original stage version of the musical. The film version of the musical is dreadfully over danced and Streisand was way too young for the lead role. Shirley Booth, here in this "Matchmaker", is much closer, in a way to Channing's Dolly of Broadway. I have often wished that SOMEONE would re-do the musical for either video or film. I saw the 1964 Channing production and it was magical. Hollywood so often trashes these brilliant stage works. Anyway, rent this film when you can and compare it to the Streisand "Dolly".

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Release Date:

14 August 1959 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Matchmaker See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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