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The Mating Game (1959)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | October 1959 (Austria)
An uptight IRS agent is ordered to investigate a rural family in debt to the government...but the family - including lovely daughter Mariette - help him loosen up.


George Marshall


William Roberts (screenplay), H.E. Bates (novel)
3 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Debbie Reynolds ... Mariette Larkin
Tony Randall ... Lorenzo Charlton
Paul Douglas ... Pop Larkin
Fred Clark ... Oliver Kelsey
Una Merkel ... Ma Larkin
Philip Ober ... Wendell Burnshaw
Philip Coolidge ... Rev. Osgood
Charles Lane ... Inspector General Bigelow
Trevor Bardette ... Chief Guthrie
William Smith ... Barney (as Bill Smith)
Addison Powell ... David DeGroot
Rickey Murray Rickey Murray ... Lee Larkin
Donald Losby Donald Losby ... Grant Larkin
Cheryl Bailey Cheryl Bailey ... Victoria Larkin
Caryl Bailey Caryl Bailey ... Susan Larkin


Tax collector Lorenzo Charlton comes to the Larkins' farm to ask why Pop Larkins hasn't paid his back taxes. Charlton has to stay for a day to try to estimate the income from the farm, but it isn't easy to calculate when the farmer has such a lovely daughter, Mariette... Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Filmed on location in the haystack! See more »


Comedy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


In the year this film was released, 1959, the top marginal personal income tax rate was 91%. See more »


A large percentage of the spoken audio in the outdoor scenes has a distinct echo, indicating it was recorded in a studio booth and dubbed in later. See more »


Mariette Larkin: Maple's pregnant. Yeh, practically everything's pregnant. It's that time of year, you know? You can feel it in the air, can't you?
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Referenced in Hollywood Without Make-Up (1963) See more »


The Mating Game
Music by Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Lee Adams
Performed by Debbie Reynolds (uncredited)
[Title song performed during the opening titles and credits]
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User Reviews

Debbie Reynolds and Tony Randall are an Odd Couple
19 January 2009 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

Rambunctious Debbie Reynolds (as Mariette Larkin) gets the urge to mate with tax collector Tony Randall (as Lorenzo Charlton). And, he wants to mate with her! - How? - Well, farming father Paul Douglas (as Sidney "Pa" Larkin) doesn't pay taxes; he trades things, and raises piglets. Maryland "Ma" Una Merkel raises children, and bakes blueberry pies. Ms. Reynolds rides a pig into wealthy neighbor Philip Ober (as Wendell Burnshaw)'s mansion, prompting Mr. Ober to summon Mr. Randall from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). Will Randall collect taxes, Reynolds, or both?

Reynolds and Randall are not a very convincing romantic couple. They should have considered casting, perhaps, Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. Randall dances a drunken melody of "Frère Jacques" / "I've Got You Under My Skin". This is followed by an impossibly implausible (even for this type of film) implied sex scene, with Reynolds. Director George Marshall gives it an appropriate feature-length "sit-com" treatment; but, the material makes the increasing slapstick more painful than funny (witness the "barn" fight scene). The supporting cast, with its old pros and fresh faces, is a treasure trove, however.

***** The Mating Game (4/29/59) George Marshall ~ Debbie Reynolds, Tony Randall, Paul Douglas, Una Merkel

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Release Date:

October 1959 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mating Game See more »


Box Office


$876,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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