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38 user 17 critic

Susan Slept Here (1954)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 21 October 1954 (Portugal)
On Christmas Eve, a struggling Hollywood scriptwriter receives a very unexpected present: juvenile delinquent Susan Landis.

Director:

Frank Tashlin

Writers:

Alex Gottlieb (screenplay), Steve Fisher (play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dick Powell ... Mark Christopher
Debbie Reynolds ... Susan Beaurgard Landis
Anne Francis ... Isabella Alexander
Glenda Farrell ... Maude Snodgrass
Alvy Moore ... Virgil, Mark's Gofer
Horace McMahon ... Sergeant Monty Maizel
Herb Vigran ... Sergeant Sam Hanlon
Les Tremayne ... Harvey Butterworth, Mark's Lawyer
Mara Lane ... Marilyn, Mark's Neighbor
Rita Johnson ... Dr. Rawley, Harvey's Shrink
Maidie Norman ... Georgette, Mark's Maid
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Storyline

Mark Christopher is a 35-year old, award-winning comedy scriptwriter who is struggling to be taken seriously as a drama writer. On Christmas Eve, two police officers bring 17-year old Susan (picked up for vagrancy and brawling) to Mark's apartment. If she spends a few days with him, Mark could use Susan as inspiration to write a script about juvenile-delinquents and Susan could avoid spending Christmas behind bars. Written by L. Hamre

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Who's been sleeping in my bed? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 October 1954 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

Las tres noches de Susana See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dan Dailey was cast in the lead role, but he had a prior commitment to Twentieth Century-Fox. See more »

Goofs

When Susan is tussling with Sgt. Hanlon in Mark's apartment, the camera spins around them and its moving shadow is visible on the back of Sgt. Hanlon's overcoat. See more »

Quotes

Mark Christopher: You know I've forgotten what seventeen year old emotional kids are like. I've been going out with middle-aged women; twenty, twenty-one.
See more »

Connections

References Peter Pan (1924) See more »

Soundtracks

Hold My Hand
Music by Richard Myers
Lyrics by Jack Lawrence
Sung by Don Cornell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Exceptionally funny
7 September 2002 | by zetesSee all my reviews

After the lamentably unseen The First Time, the next Frank Tashlin movie showing at my local revival theater was Susan Slept Here. I was sure that SSH could not live up to the high standard set by the first film. But it did, and surpassed it. Personally, I think it's one of my five or ten favorite comedies. Dick Powell (whom I've always loved) stars as Mark Christopher, a Hollywood screenwriter who hasn't had any success after winning an Oscar (which, incidentally, serves as the narrator). He once had an idea to write a serious picture (as opposed to the frivolous comedies that he has specialized in) about a juvenile delinquent, which he mentioned to a policeman friend of his. Well, on Christmas Eve, that policeman, along with his partner, shows up at Mark's door with a 17 year-old juvenile delinquent as a present. Her name is Susan (Debbie Reynolds, whom I also love, almost desperately!), and the policeman proposes that Mark hang around her for a couple of days, you know, for research. He's in a hurry to take his girlfriend (the gorgeous but ferocious Anne Francis, who would star in Forbidden Planet a couple of years later) out on a date, but that comes to an abrupt halt when Susan answers Mark's phone. You know the schtick: Mark starts out annoyed at Susan, but they grow attached. The age difference is brought up frequently enough so it doesn't get too creepy. Mark is 35 ([laugh] - maybe when Powell was dancing with Busby Berkeley) and Susan is 17 (Reynolds was 22 at the time, but she is probably the only actress who could get away with playing a teenager until she was in her 40s). For a very long time Mark doesn't respond to Susan's crush. The only major flaw in the film - and even it's acceptable - is Mark's motivation in marrying Susan. He does it, he says, to save her from six months jail time (she has been arrested for assault on a sailor and vagrancy). It's not very believable, but it's also not that big a deal.

The two leads are exceptional. This was Powell's last movie. After it, he retired to television, although I only call it retirement as a movie snob; he was enormously, enormously successful in the new medium. He's more or less the straight man here. He has a particularly great scene where he watches a 20 year-old movie for which he wrote the dialogue on television. As the actors speak their horrendous dialogue, we watch Powell as he mouths their words, both a man's and a woman's (it's a break-up scene), with an embarrassed look in his eyes. If Powell is good, Reynolds is masterful. She's such an odd actress, not conventional in any way. She had her own niche in Hollywood. Her acting is doll-like with its jerky movements and huge facial expressions. That isn't a criticism whatsoever. I have never seen her in a straight drama (the closest is How the West Was Won); I'd imagine she acts differently, or she never made one. In comedies like this and Singin' in the Rain, she's absolutely perfect. There is not a moment when she's on screen during which I was not laughing myself to tears. The film also has one of the greatest supporting casts ever. Anne Francis I've already mentioned. I very much appreciate the fact that the writers didn't make her character abominable; Susan Slept Here, although it's not a musical, is very much a direct descendent of An American in Paris and Singin' in the Rain. One criticism I have of Singin' is that Jean Hagan's villain is too cartoonish (or at least I would have that criticism if Hagan weren't so damn funny in that movie). Francis in SSH is played sympathetically for the most part. Glenda Farrell plays Mark's secretary, Maude, an alcoholic who answers the telephone on Christmas morning: "You talk, I can't." Alvy Moore is Mark's friend and assistant, Virgil, who can crack wise with the best of them. Horace McMahon and Herb Vigran play the two cops, and Les Tremayne plays Mark's lawyer, who is obsessive about his therapy sessions. Red Skeleton has a wordless but amusing cameo as Maude's teenage sweetheart. 10/10.


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