7.0/10
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37 user 21 critic

Bells Are Ringing (1960)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | July 1960 (USA)
Trailer
3:00 | Trailer
A Brooklyn answering service operator becomes involved in the lives of her clients, including a struggling playwright with whom she begins to fall in love.

Director:

Vincente Minnelli

Writers:

Betty Comden (screen play), Adolph Green (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Judy Holliday ... Ella Peterson
Dean Martin ... Jeffrey Moss
Fred Clark ... Larry Hastings
Eddie Foy Jr. ... J. Otto Prantz
Jean Stapleton ... Sue
Ruth Storey Ruth Storey ... Gwynne
Dort Clark ... Inspector Barnes
Frank Gorshin ... Blake Barton
Ralph Roberts ... Francis
Valerie Allen ... Olga
Bernard West Bernard West ... Dr. Joe Kitchell (as Bernie West)
Steve Peck Steve Peck ... Gangster (as Steven Peck)
Gerry Mulligan Gerry Mulligan ... Ella's Blind Date
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Storyline

Ella Peterson is a Brooklyn telephone answering service operator who tries to improve the lives of her clients by passing along bits of information she hears from other clients. She falls in love with one of her clients, the playwright Jeffrey Moss, and is determined to meet him. The trouble is, on the phone to him, she always pretends to be an old woman whom he calls "Mom." Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The screen is singing M.G.M. is bringing Broadway's Bell-Ringer of a Musical to the World!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An alternate take of "The Midas Touch" (music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green), a production number with lead singer Hal Linden, still exists. In the release print, the second half of the musical proceedings gets shunted to the background, being "talked over" by Dean Martin, Frank Gorshin and Bernard West (billed as Bernie West). The center-stage version is available on the DVD from Warner Home Video. See more »

Goofs

After she talks on the phone to Jeffrey Moss, Ella stands up from the switchboard and walks around the room singing. When she returns the switchboard has changed place. See more »

Quotes

Ella: Well, if that's the way things are going to be around here, I might as well be back at the Bonjour Tristesse Brassiere Company.
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Crazy Credits

Joan Staley in the credits as "Blonde in Susanswerphone Ad". See more »


Soundtracks

Drop That Name
(1956) (uncredited)
Music by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Performed by Judy Holliday and Chorus
See more »

User Reviews

Plaza 0-4433
12 October 2002 | by petershelleyauSee all my reviews

Judy Holliday originated the role of Ella Petersen, the Susanwersphone switchboard operator, in Vincente Minnelli's adaptation of the Broadway musical, with music by Jules Styne and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Although filmed in 1960, this musical belongs to the conventions of the 1950's with a brassy orchestration, superfluous supporting cast for comic relief, and a Brando impersonator. That Holliday remains as the best thing about it, in spite of Minnelli's less flattering treatment of her than George Cukor, is a tribute to her gifts as an actress, in particular a Broadway performer with the subtlety to adapt for film acting.

Holliday's two solo numbers - It's a Perfect Relationship and I'm Going Back - are triumphs of personal charm, in spite of the director. Minnelli has trouble de-staging the switchboard environment and the film only comes to life after Holliday leaves it to meet Dean Martin, as her favourite client, in person. In the Better than a Dream number, where both Holliday and Martin sing oblivious to the other's reality, this is Minnelli finally presenting a musical sequence cinematically. This pattern continues with Martin's funny I Met a Girl, sung as he battles street crowds. Minnelli treats Holliday's plaintive ballad The Party's Over simply, if disappointedly in long and medium shot presumably since he thinks Holliday's voice doesn't deserve a closeup, in contrast to the botched Just in Time, the score's most lovely song, wretchedly staged. The Drop That Name number is probably more about Minnelli than Holliday, since he scores points off her, comparing her perceived frumpiness to the vacuous stereotypical 1950's society vamp.

Holliday and Martin play off each other well, overcoming the oddness of their union. Martin actually looks not at his best, which undermines the romantic appeal, and his solo reveals he shouldn't be given one. It's hard not to consider his character's fear of success without his partner and not have thoughts of Jerry Lewis, though believing Martin as a playwright is trouble enough. Thankfully there's Holliday. Far more likeable and individual than say a Doris Day, Minnelli's having her lower her head for pathos is the lowest appreciation of her potential. This wasn't considered a great musical to begin with, and the film is pretty hard to take whenever the supporting players take over, with excruciating bits featuring Eddie Foy and The Titanic record company, vice squad surveillance, and the mafia, however the songwriting dentist gave me a few chuckles.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

July 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bells Are Ringing See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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