7.0/10
1,283
29 user 3 critic

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.

Director:

George Marshall

Writers:

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

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

A racy, riotous new comedy hit! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1959 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Engel unter Sündern See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Clearly this movie was the foundation for the hilarious comedy series "The Darling Buds of May" starring David Jason and introducing a very young Catherine Zeta-Jones. A magnificent TV series with no laugh track, this is comedy acting at its finest. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

David DeGroot: Wendell, what can I do? I'm a tax lawyer.
Wendell Burnshaw: Why do you think I sent for you? These days, who has all the money he needs? You don't. I don't. Why? Income tax!
David DeGroot: Well, granted, what does that got to do with it?
Wendell Burnshaw: Every year those bureaucratic cut-throats drink my blood! In spite of you, in spite of my so-called friend in the Treasury Department, every year they bleed me dry!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywoodland (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

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]
See more »

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User Reviews

Clever Premise
27 May 2008 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Energetic romp overseen by that veteran of slapstick George Marshall. This is not his best, but he does keep things moving. Enjoyable for the most part if you can get past owlish Tony Randall as the answer to a maiden's dream (Debbie Reynold's). He certainly looks the part of an IRS collections tiger, but it's a stretch in the romance department. Lots of barnyard innuendo as earthy farmer Paul Douglas and his obstreperous family manage a living outside the money economy. He barters things in shrewd fashion, while enjoying life's simple pleasures. That is, until snobby neighbor neighbor Philip Ober sics the IRS on him in an attempt to grab his property after Douglas refuses to sell.

Really clever premise, with a provocative subtext that pits the older agrarian way of life against the modern complexities. Bureaucrat Randall must collect a lifetime of back taxes from throw-back Douglas who, of course, has never dealt in money. But Randall, all officiousness, has never encountered the likes of the artful farmer and his bursting-with-life family that keep him perpetually off-balance. At the same time, comely daughter Reynolds works her wiles in typical spirited fashion. Some funny set-ups, especially when the barnyard critters turn on the hapless bureaucrat.

However, some of the slapstick goes on too long for my liking, suggesting that Marshall is indeed past his prime. Nonetheless, Douglas is near perfect as the good-natured hick, while Reynolds manages the spunk without too much excess. Look for outlaw biker Bill Smith as a muscle-bound rowdy, and of course the great Fred Clark in one of his typical bah-humbug roles. All in all, there are some genuine guffaws, but in some ways the movie is more interesting than anything else. Come to think of it, comedy aside, the movie can be viewed as a must-include at any hippie or Libertarian film retrospective.


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