Tag Archives: Otto Kruger

Young Ambition’s Ladder: ‘Payment on Demand’

Original Poster. It's not wrong, exactly, but makes the picture seem tawdry in a way that it is not.

Original Poster. It’s not wrong, exactly, but makes the picture seem tawdry in a way that it is not.

“Payment on Demand” (RKO, 1951) is one of the best Woman’s Pictures that I’ve yet encountered. There are several strong performances in it, beginning with the one given by Bette Davis. She plays Joyce Ramsay, an ambitious, social-climbing wife, jilted in middle-age by her ungrateful husband, David (Barry Sullivan). The many stages of a one-sided marital dissolution present Davis with a field day for outrageous hamming; instead she gives a performance of restraint and dignity: it’s a big performance, all right, but is in no way outlandish. This is the first picture she made after her contract with Warner Bros. ended. The last one she made for them (under protest) was the appalling “Beyond the Forest,” which contains the line made famous by Edward Albee: “What a dump.” It was an undignified end to an illustrious association between a great actress and a fine studio; in “Beyond the Forest,” she was camp all the way, but that’s what the material demanded — and she gave the picture what it needed . . .  good and hard. In this one, she is not camp. It’s not her best performance, but she’s damned good in it.

It’s almost gruesome to think of Joan Crawford in the same role. Come to think of it, you can see her in a similar part: have a look what she does in “Queen Bee” and you’ll see what happens when an actress goes for the hysteria and bathos rather than the wounded pride of an ambitious and intelligent woman. Both pictures are about ruthless social climbers, but as Davis climbs, she becomes grander, more sophisticated and genteel; Crawford’s idea of breeding is all about being affected and humorless. It’s easy to accept Bette Davis as a social register matron; Joan Crawford wouldn’t know gentility if it vomited on her Adrian gown. “Payment on Demand” has a better script than “Queen Bee” (though it’s hard to separate the badness of “Queen Bee” from the badness of Joan Crawford), and it has a much better leading actress.

The Peculiar Device

After David tells Joyce he wants a divorce, she revisits her past in a series of flashbacks. The director, Curtis Bernhardt, employs a strangely theatrical device throughout the first half of the picture, which was shot in 1950, the year after “Death of a Salesman” had created a sensation on Broadway. Over the years, Jo Mielziner’s extraordinarily atmospheric set for “Salesman” has become almost as famous as the play itself. In his design, some walls were non-existent, and others could be transparent, translucent or opaque, according to how they were lighted. During the present-day scenes, all of them, whether transparent or not, represented actual walls, and audiences accepted them as such. But during Willy’s flashbacks, the transparent walls lost their literal meaning: characters walked through them as if they weren’t there, and by violating the convention established for the present-day scenes, they established a new and different semi-reality, a form of ambiguity that is peculiar to the theatre. Onstage, the device was used to great effect: it created a clear sense of what was “real” (a relative term in live theatre) and what was memory or fantasy; more importantly, it underscored the slackening of Willy’s ability to distinguish fantasy from reality and past from present.

Jo Mieziner's rendering for his set design for 'Death of a Salesman.'

Jo Mielziner’s rendering of his scenic design for ‘Death of a Salesman.’

Original production of 'Salesman.' Lee Cobb and Mildred Natwick in the foreground.

Original production of ‘Salesman.’ Lee Cobb and Mildred Natwick in the foreground.

“Payment on Demand” borrows this device, but only half-heartedly: all of Joyce’s flashbacks are announced by the appearance of frames of empty walls, but nobody ever walks through them. These transitory scenes begin in shadow, as if on a stage set before the lights have come up, with shadowy figures in the foreground, and frames of walls silhouetted against a half-lit background — sometimes ominous Wagnerian clouds scud across the empty surfaces. When the lights come up to full and we can recognize the characters in the scene, the clouds disappear and the walls become opaque. It’s an interesting, even surrealistic, effect. But there’s a problem: having once established that the opaque walls are really nothing more than theatrical “flats” (i.e., lightweight muslin stretched over frames), it becomes hard to accept them as being real walls, no matter how opaque they appear to be.

This device works exceptionally well in the theatre, where the mutually agreed upon “fourth wall” (i.e., the invisible barrier between the audience and the live actors, who pretend they’re not being looked at, even as they pause while they wait for laughter and applause to subside) and the plainly visible lighting grids and equipment automatically establish an artifice that calls for the suspension of disbelief, which is a fundamental element in the enjoyment of live theatre. Nobody really believes what they see on stage is actually occurring to real people. Besides, unlike Willy Loman, Joyce Ramsay is not losing her mind, but is simply remembering events from the past; moreover, she remembers her own past accurately and unsparingly. Anyhow, reality in a motion picture is different from that in the theatre: when you establish that the walls are not real in a movie, then where is the action supposed to be taking place? On a stage? If so, why isn’t there an audience on the screen? If the action is not happening on a stage, then where is it? A similar device was used for the recent screen adaption of “Anna Karenina,” but the theatrical stage settings were the most significant thematic element in Tom Stoppard’s screenplay. For better or worse, he employed the device as a metaphor for the rigidity of the social structure of Imperial Russia, in which everyone was expected to play within the confines of his scripted part, as actors must do in a well-made play. But in “Payment on Demand,” the device is little more than an oddity; it serves no function that I can detect, other than as a means of separating present-day scenes from remembered ones. But who the hell remembers his past as scenes from a stage play? The device might be less peculiar if the characters were show folk, but they’re not: they’re businessmen, lawyers and café society parlor snakes.

Bette Davis, Barry Sullivan: Out for a spin in a transparent car.

Bette Davis, Barry Sullivan: Out for a spin in a semi-transparent car.

Let me say plainly that I’m only ambivalent about this device; I’m not entirely against it. On the one hand, it tends to exaggerate the artificiality of the acceptable writing and better-than-acceptable acting; on the other hand — well — it’s interesting and often creates a strange and beautiful atmosphere. Visually speaking, the effect is most startling in a scene where Sullivan and Davis go out for a drive: we see the night sky and all the stars above them, and reflections, in the rear side windows, of the trees they pass. I find the image quite beautiful, but it’s so distracting that I forget to pay attention to the dialogue . . . so I’m ambivalent about the whole idea. I wish it worked better than it does. And I fear it doesn’t really work at all, except as a curiosity that separates “Payment on Demand” from a host of other Woman’s Pictures and as an excuse to stage some nice tableaux. The three pictures below show one of the most dramatic uses of the device, when Joyce and David attend their first lavish party for the swells. Jane Cowl is in the center of the bottom picture; she’s holding a cigarette in one hand and shaking Bette Davis’ hand with the other.

Payment Transparent Cowl 01
Payment Transparent Cowl 02
Payment Transparent Cowl 04

Jane Cowl

A few words about Jane Cowl, who plays society doyenne, Mrs Emily Hedges. She was a famous, even legendary, actress in her day. But as with so many theatrical celebrities, her fame evaporated almost before her corpse was stiff, and long before her bones were rotten. Like her contemporary, Edith Evans, she was not a great beauty, but her intelligence and charm were such that she made audiences believe she was. She set a record by playing over a thousand consecutive performances of Juliet on Broadway. About her performance, George Jean Nathan wrote, “hers is not . . . the best Juliet that I have seen, but she is by all odds the most charming.” She was known for playing “lachrymose” roles and was often described as having a “voice with a tear.” Jane Russell was named after her. (Figure that one out.) Here’s our introduction to her.


Leaving aside the ostentatiously theatrical oddity of the flashback device, “Payment on Demand” contains a fair amount of other nonsense. (Nonsense is as common in Woman’s Pictures as are infidelity, tears and death.) For example, there’s a flashback in which Joyce and David are supposed to be in their early twenties (or even their late teens); both of them impersonate youth by pitching their voices in a key about a fifth higher than their usual ones; both sound ludicrous: she sounds like Holly Hunter after five hot rum flips and he sounds like one of those kids who go to school, as Chris Rock once put it, “a half hour late, in a little-ass bus.” But I’m prepared to be lenient in the matter: it is a very short episode and reminds me pleasantly of an idiotic Saroyan one-act I was once in, when I was young and very much in love; it comes early and is best forgiven and forgotten. The flashback is necessary, and double-casting younger actors would have only made it worse: what other actress could play Bette Davis?

The Ladies Who Lunch

The day after David moves out of the house (and into the athletic club, which is what men did in those days), Joyce goes to lunch with her catty girlfriends. What follows is a staple of the Woman’s Picture genre: a hen party for well-to-do idle females who drink too much in the middle of the day. This one, I think, is particularly satisfying. The best-known actress in the coven is Natalie (“Gilligan’s Island”) Schafer. She plays Joyce’s cattiest and most voluble friend, Mrs Edna Blanton. Schafer was the fourth of Louis Calhern’s five wives. She survived nine turbulent years before they called it quits. (Ilka Chase, Calhern’s first wife, lasted a spare nine months.) Bear this in mind when you have a look at the clip; it adds depth to Schafer’s performance, which, out of context (and perhaps in context, too), may well seem camp. It’s unfair, but it’s hard to take seriously any line spoken by Lovey Howell.

After Joyce hears gossip about The Other Woman (another staple of the Woman’s Picture genre), she springs into action. First, she seeks professional help from a divorce attorney named Ted Prescott (the redoubtable Otto Kruger) and his operative, a no-nonsense bedroom dick, Mr Pinkins (Mack Williams). As always, Kruger has a cigarette going.


When Prescott lights a second cigarette for himself and offers one to Joyce, his first is still burning. Eternally smirking and surrounded by smoke, Kruger once again could easily be mistaken for Lucifer himself. He offers sagely conservative advice to his client, but this is Otto Kruger, man! He knows she won’t listen, so he makes sure that she gets “complete” coverage. In other words, the sky’s the limit.

Poster for French release. A much better title, which unfortunately doesn't translate into English well.

Poster for French release. A much better title, which unfortunately doesn’t translate well into English . . . ‘Madame Ambition,’ maybe . . . ?

The scenes dealing with the divorce settlement are remarkably frank for the time, and are among the best in the picture. Joyce’s demands are extreme and she is implacable. She broke a lot of rules and betrayed a lot of friends to make her husband a success: he wouldn’t have gone nearly so far without her ruthless ambition, and now she intends to get what she feels is owed to her. The scenes Sullivan plays with Davis in the middle of the picture are the best work he ever did. To complicate matters for Joyce, she’s still in love with David, who is not merely tired of her, but also sickened by her lack of ethics and her insatiable ambition; he repudiates the dirty tricks she played behind his back to move them up in the world and make them welcome in the salons and gaming rooms of high society. He knows he’s indebted to her, but when he learns of the means by which she climbed ambition’s ladder, he is disgusted by her callousness and dishonesty. Joyce is as devious as Regina Giddens, the villainess Davis played in “The Little Foxes” nine years earlier, but she’s a much more complicated woman.

‘First I Had a Dog, and Then an Old Widower, Then a Lady Companion’

Worn out by the legal wrangling, Joyce goes on a cruise while she waits for the divorce to become final. One port of call is in Haiti, where she visits the now-divorced Mrs Hedges. This is the last scene that Jane Cowl ever played. I think she’s remarkable. So remarkable, in fact, that I had seen the picture several times before I realized that her dialogue is not first-rate — it’s not even top-shelf second-rate stuff, like Maugham or Hellman. But Jane Cowl makes it sound brilliant and profound; as Claude Rains so often did in second-rate parts, she brings to it great sensitivity, sadness, wit and intelligence. Every second of her performance is full of life and rich with biographical information about the woman she’s playing. In her few minutes in this forgotten and neglected picture, I get a sense of what great stage acting looked like a hundred years ago — for Cowl’s career began in the ‘teens, and she represented a technique that went back another thirty years at least. She is a natural heir of Sir Henry Irving’s leading lady, Dame Ellen Terry, who was the great-aunt of Sir John Gielgud. They all have in common wit and sadness and easy tears, along with a virtue all too rare these days: a beautifully expressive voice that is a pleasure to listen to, for its own sake. I have great admiration for Jane Cowl, and in this, her final scene, she quietly but firmly tears it up. Wait till you hear what she does with the line, “First I had a dog, and then an old widower, then a lady companion.” Quite stunning.

Wow, isn’t she wonderful! I just never get used to her in this scene. Where are you gonna find an actress like this today? The closest I can imagine is Olympia Dukakis if she’d gone to finishing school. Well, never mind — that kind of part isn’t being written anymore. But this character type is one I’ve recognized in pictures since my earliest childhood — I’ve always been drawn to the batty old broads in pictures. When an old actress grows soft and sentimental and plays this sort of woman as a Sweet Old Darling (Helen Hayes and Gloria Stewart spring to mind), I can’t bear it. But when an actress of Jane Cowl’s shrewdness, experience and talent gets hold of such a part, it’s magic. The willowy and unattractive gigolo, Arthur, is played by James Griffith, who made a career playing low-lives and shit-heels, including Judas Iscariot (“Day of Triumph,” 1954). Poor Mrs Hedges! It’s terrible to imagine how she must feel waking up each morning next to that.

Jane Cowl played Kit Marlowe in the original Broadway production of “Old Acquaintance,” which Davis played with great distinction in the movie version. In “Mother Goddam,” Davis wrote, “I was unbelieving that I was playing scenes with her. I was nervous.” The two old pros have wonderful chemistry together, though I do wish the director had contrived to get both of them in the same shot more often — real chemistry happens only when two actors are seen together; back-and-forth close-ups don’t do full justice to great acting.

Cowl also wrote several hit plays with Jane Murfin; the most famous was “Smilin’ Through.” “Payment on Demand” was her last role in pictures; she is better than the material, but both she and Davis elevate it and make the picture well worth seeing.

The score by Victor Young is exquisitely beautiful. In my opinion, he was possibly the most gifted melodist of all the major Hollywood composers.

Sugar Daddy: Notes on Otto Kruger

Otto Kruger in 'Cover Girl': One of his rare non-villain roles -- even so, we root against him.

Otto Kruger in ‘Cover Girl’: One of his rare non-villain roles — but we still root against him.

In 1905, when Otto Kruger was still a very young man, he earned his living by playing the piano for silent movies. He was an accomplished pianist as well as a violist and cellist, but when he left Toledo, Ohio, to attend Columbia University, he decided to become an actor instead of a musician. If he was as fine a musician as he was an actor, it was the music world’s loss. What a shame he never seems to have played an instrument in any of his motion pictures!

Here’s how Kruger once described his career to an interviewer: “For a while I played sad husbands. Then I got nothing but lawyers, and during the War, I specialized in Nazis . . . Then they had me play sugar daddies.” I can’t think of a better overview of his career than his own. The lawyers he played were nearly always crooked; most of his business tycoons were blackguards in pinstriped suits. Kruger’s villains nearly always wore stripes (pin or chalk), but never horizontal ones.

‘Saboteur’: The Nazi in White Tie

Here he is in one of his best known roles: Tobin, the Nazi spymaster, in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Saboteur” (Universal, 1942):

Robert, the butler, who saps Bob Cummings at the end of his patriotic spiel, is wonderful old Ian Wolfe, who had an amazingly long movie career (from 1934 to 1990), throughout which he seemed to stay the same age. “Dick Tracy” was the last of his 294 pictures.

‘711 Ocean Drive’: The Dyspeptic Mob Boss

One of Kruger’s best baddies is in an unjustly neglected crime drama, “711 Ocean Drive” (Columbia, 1950). In this one, he’s Carl Stephans, the milk-drinking kingpin in charge of a national wire service, and as mean as they come. His very first line is one of the funniest in the picture. (I love the ceiling in this scene and laugh at the ludicrous cityscape backdrop. That’s real Poverty Row stuff we’re looking at: Columbia’s B-pictures were shot for next to nothing.)

Carl Stephans: Man or Kitten?

“Ugh, ghastly stuff! If I hadn’t picked up this duodenal worrying about our affairs, I’d be able to eat like a man instead of a kitten.” I love the way he pronounces “duodenal” as “dwadinuhl” (it’s a legitimate pronunciation, but I’d never heard it before). Kruger’s character is the most interesting in the picture: he’s an arch-fiend, but he’s also a fraidy-cat with a weak stomach. Don Porter is Larry Mason, the henchman to his immediate right; Bert Freed is the four-eyed lug to his left. His glasses are too small for his head — the earpieces don’t come close to touching his ears. Nice touch, that: it makes his head look bigger than it is.

Kingpin Vows Revenge

Here he is, coming from Larry Mason’s funeral; Mason was rubbed out by a rival from within the syndicate. Trouble is, the one who had him whacked is Mal Granger (Edmond O’Brien) — he’s the guy making time with Mason’s widow (Joanne Dru). She doesn’t know Granger’s guilty, but Carl Stephans has a sneaking suspicion — as he makes clear.

What Makes Sammy Sweat?

And here he is sweating poor little Sammy White, who played a lot of nervous schlemiels in the fifties — perhaps most famously as Lana Turner’s long-suffering agent in “The Bad and the Beautiful.” Pay attention to the way Kruger jumps when Sammy gets slapped, then his reading of “Besides . . . that’s Peterson’s department.” On the page, that line doesn’t seem like much, but just listen to what Kruger manages to do with it. He turns it into a three act play. What an actor!

Along the way, Kruger played some good guys, but he played so many rat bastards that to see him in a good guy part is almost as disorienting as to see Lana Turner play a great actress (e.g., “The Bad and the Beautiful,” “Imitation of Life“): so unconvincing as to be a joke. Actually, I prefer Kruger’s good guys and red herrings because such parts are always underwritten and his unflappable insincerity adds more body, depth and interesting weirdness to those characters than they really deserve . . . and of course, the mismatch between his evil persona and a good guy part always makes me laugh. As a baddie, he’s so believable that after you’ve seen him as a Nazi fink or a crooked shyster, his honest characters never seem entirely on the level. When he plays a rock-solid citizen, I always expect all sorts of creepy crawly things to skitter out from under his feet as he walks. Kruger must surely be the most debonair bounder ever to come out of Toledo, Ohio.

‘Magnificent Obsession’: The Pious Humbug

'Magnificent Obsession': Kruger awakens the sleeping Rock Hudson. Religious instruction to follow.

‘Magnificent Obsession’: Kruger awakens the sleeping Rock Hudson. Religious instruction to follow.

Of the few dozen performances of his that I’ve seen, my favorite by a long, long chalk is his turn as the simpering, sermonizing do-gooder, Edward Randolph, in “Magnificent Obsession”  (Universal-International, 1954). It’s impossible to know if Kruger had any idea how funny his performance is: he’s Lloyd C. Douglas’ mouthpiece (though the character doesn’t exist in the book or in the 1935 picture); it falls to him to give out with Douglas’ sanctimonious pay-it-forward rigmarole every time he shows up. Kruger plays it straight — none of it would be funny if he didn’t. I find it impossible to divorce his performance from all those venomous reprobates he played so often and so well. As Edward Randolph, therefore, Kruger presents a very strange, quasi-alien personage — a cardigan-wearing just-folks aristocratic weirdo with a pipe in his mouth, a homily on his lips, and a choir celestial to punctuate the pious humbug he spouts. He assures the Widow Phillips (Jane Wyman), “You don’t talk much about this belief . . .” but then for the rest of the picture, he never shuts up about these secret teachings. (In the novel, this information is carefully set down in code in a manuscript called “Dr Hudson’s Secret Journal”:  pssst . . . pay it forward — don’t pass it on!)

Here are three clips from that performance.

Edward Randolph Hints at the Secret Belief

Can you believe the nerve of this guy?  “You don’t talk much about this belief. When somebody’s ready for it, they accept it.  Perhaps Wayne felt you weren’t quite ready . . . or, Mrs Phillips, that you were pretty perfect without it.” This is the first time he’s ever met the woman: how the hell would he know why her late husband kept his most cherished beliefs to himself while he gave his money away to deadbeats, thus leaving his youngish widow to drag along in leanest penury? And how does he know that she’s “pretty perfect”? To my ear, what he says sounds like a veiled insult followed by the worse insult of blatant flattery. Had Otto Kruger not played so many cold-blooded, smiling villains, it’s unlikely I’d be so ready to read malice in his benign observations.  But intentional or not, this ambiguity makes his performance a lot more interesting and certainly much funnier.

Randolph Lays It on the Line for Rock

I find it striking in the following clip how similar some of this saintly fellow’s patter is to that of Tobin’s in “Saboteur,” especially when he speaks of learning about “how to get what I want.” That’s what I mean when I say I can’t separate his saints from his sinners. His good and evil characters all want what they want, and will go to great lengths to get it; they smirk when they talk and speak in an oleaginous, authoritative voice; they habitually place great stress on the alliteration and consonance in their sentences (e.g., “the moron millions,” “probably the most important part,” etc.), which casts a shadow of artifice and insincerity on everything they say.

Randolph Cheerleads His New Convert

“You’ll find this furnishes your motive power!” Say what? God, I think that’s hilarious . . . “furnishe[s your] motive power” is straight from the novel. The expression is not explained in the book, either, but is presented as if it were a well-known concept.

The picture comes to a fittingly preposterous climax, in which former playboy/rotter Rock Hudson, having reinvented himself as America’s pre-eminent brain surgeon/philanthropic moneybags, performs a spectacular, never-before-attempted operation to restore Jane Wyman’s sight. Kruger watches the procedure from on high, like an Olympian deity gazing down upon a battle during the Trojan War. Frank Skinner’s underscoring is a souped-up variation of Chopin’s Etude Op. 10, No. 3 in E major.

Holy Toledo! Demi-god Kruger shines graciously upon a gentle brain-man (Dr Rock Hudson).

Holy Toledo! Demi-god Kruger shines graciously upon a gentle brain-man (Dr Rock Hudson).

The same year Kruger appeared in “Magnificent Obsession,” he also played a small part in 20th Century-Fox’s CinemaScope Technicolor semi-noir mystery called “Black Widow” (a very bad picture that I can’t get enough of — it has become my Less-than-Magnificent Obsession). On the DVD’s generally excellent commentary track, film historian Alan Rode describes Kruger’s performance as “sugar daddy lite.” Yes, that’s so. One of the final pre-production memos from Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck to Nunnally Johnson, who wrote, produced and directed the picture, included an instruction to dress Kruger in a silk dressing gown to “get a slight suggestion of sex interest” into Kruger’s role (he plays a stage actor with the improbable name Gordon Ling). In “Black Widow,” he’s the guiltiest looking red herring I’ve ever seen.

Otto Kruger, Van Heflin in 'Black Widow.'

Otto Kruger, Van Heflin in ‘Black Widow.’

If Kruger’s Gordon Ling were on trial in “12 Angry Men,” they’d find him guilty as charged; not even Juror Eight (Henry Fonda) would say a word in his defense. There’s not a reason in the world to suspect Gordon Ling of anything criminal, except that Kruger makes him seem so absolutely untrustworthy that it’s impossible to believe he hasn’t been up to some kind of deviltry. He reminds me of an old Arnie Levin cartoon that appeared in “The New Yorker” back in the nineties.

Cat Canary

The sinister oiliness of Kruger’s charm, his sphinxlike smirk, and the menacing glint in his eye always give me the sense that the sugar daddies he plays have seen and done a lot of unsavory things, and that they have decidedly unorthodox methods of satisfying their shameful lusts. One can easily imagine any one of his reprobates having a fully equipped sex-dungeon down in the sub-cellar and more than a few children buried under his porch.

‘Sex and the Single Girl’: The Last of Otto

Here’s Kruger in the first of two scenes he has in “Sex and the Single Girl” (Warner Bros., 1964), the last picture he ever made. He’s the head of a sex institute — not a stretch. The picture is terrible; he is hilarious. In the interest of time, I edited the clip with a very heavy hand, to leave out patches of dialogue that don’t involve Kruger. I paid no attention to making smooth edits, yet my re-edit is no more abrupt or jerky than the original. The picture was obviously thrown together in great haste. It’s unbelievably amateurish for a star-studded (Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Henry Fonda, Lauren Bacall) release from a major studio.

‘Dirty Delusions of Grandeur’ — I Don’t Like This, I Don’t Like It At All

Listen to how brilliantly he reads the first line. He’s so much funnier than anyone else in the room. He acts Natalie Wood off the screen and he doesn’t even stand up from his desk to do it. He breaks a cardinal rule of acting — he emphasizes nearly every word — but he gets away with it.

Last Scene of All/That Ends This Strange Eventful History

                            . . . Last scene of all
That ends this strange eventful history . . .
As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7

This is Kruger’s last half minute on film. Perhaps it’s a shame that this fine actor should end his career in such a terrible picture, but I prefer to think of it as a touching Pyrrhic victory: in the worst drivel, he’s still great. Kruger’s claim to fame (if he has one) is his ability to give interesting performances in bad pictures. After this picture, Otto Kruger suffered a series of strokes, which forced him to retire. He died ten years later on his eighty-ninth birthday, September 6, 1974.

My God, who wrote this shit? Ah, yes, now I remember . . . The title was written by Helen Gurley Brown; the screenplay was written by Joseph Heller.