Archive of films Moon Is Blue / The Moon Is Blue

1953, 99 min

Section: Tribute to Otto Preminger
Year: 2016

This sparkling and witty romantic comedy, Preminger’s vehicle for becoming one of Hollywood’s first independent directors and producers, presents an adorable acting novice (Maggie McNamara) caught between two men with different intentions (William Holden and David Niven). The first in a series of highly publicized conflicts Preminger waged against the guardians of morality, who reproached his scandalously frivolous use of words like “virgin,” “seduce,” and “pregnant.”


A watershed moment in Preminger’s career came at the beginning of the 1950s when one of the most reliable employees in the history of the Hollywood studio system extracted a new contract from the bosses allowing him to spend six months of the year in New York working on his own theater projects. After fulfilling the Fox condition of one studio film annually (Angel Face), he poured all his enthusiasm over his newly acquired creative independence into an adaptation of The Moon Is Blue, the work of another Viennese American, F. Hugh Herbert, that had earned Preminger success on and off Broadway two years earlier. A comedy of manners filled with witty repartee, the work introduces the attractive and disarmingly naïve acting novice Patty (Maggie McNamara). She meets young architect Donald (William Holden), whose initially flirtatious intentions are perhaps more serious than even he realizes. But soon enough a trio is formed by the arrival of middle-aged David (David Niven), a polished profligate who happens to be the father of Donald’s blasé ex Cynthia (Dawn Addams). The first in a series of highly publicized conflicts that Preminger waged against the guardians of morality, the kerfuffle came about due to the director’s frivolous use of words like “virgin,” “seduce,” and “pregnant.” But the times were irrevocably changing and United Artists managed to distribute the film – despite lacking the Production Code’s once necessary seal of approval – to 8,000 American theaters.

Karel Och


Hollywood Classics
Suite 31, Beaufort Court, Admirals Way, E14 9XL, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 517 7525
E-mail: [email protected]

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive
1313 Vine Street, 90028, Beverly Hills
United States of America
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Tribute to Otto Preminger
Director: Otto Preminger
Screenplay: F. Hugh Herbert podle vlastní stejnojmenné divadelní hry / based on his own play of the same name
Dir. of Photography: Ernest Laszlo
Music: Herschel Burke Gilbert
Editor: Ronald Sinclair
Art Director: Nicolai Remisoff
Producer: Otto Preminger, F. Hugh Herbert
Production: Carlyle Productions
Cast: William Holden, Maggie McNamara, David Niven, Tom Tully, Dawn Addams
Sales: Hollywood Classics
Contact: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive

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