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Good Neighbor Sam is a 1964 American Eastman Color comedy film co-written and directed by David Swift and starring Jack Lemmon, Romy Schneider, Edward G. Robinson, Dorothy Provine, and Michael Connors.

Good Neighbor Sam
Good Neighbor Sam 1964 poster.jpg
1964 Theatrical Poster
Directed byDavid Swift
Produced byDavid Swift
Screenplay byJames Fritzell
Everett Greenbaum
David Swift
Based onGood Neighbor Sam
1963 novel
by Jack Finney
StarringJack Lemmon
Romy Schneider
Dorothy Provine
Michael Connors
Edward G. Robinson
Music byFrank De Vol
CinematographyBurnett Guffey
Edited byCharles Nelson
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • July 22, 1964 (1964-07-22)
Running time
130 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$9,072,726[1]

It was based on the novel by Jack Finney. The screenplay was the motion picture debut of James Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum, who had written many American television situation comedies[citation needed] including The Andy Griffith Show and Mister Peepers (created by David Swift). Greenbaum also created the mobile sculpture featured in the film.[2]



Lemmon plays Sam Bissell, a hard-working San Francisco advertising executive, with two young daughters and a loving wife, Min (Dorothy Provine).

An extremely important client, Simon Nurdlinger (Edward G. Robinson), is considering taking his business elsewhere when he believes there are no "family men" working at Sam's company. Sam's boss, Mr. Burke (Edward Andrews), introduces the client to Sam. The client is delighted by Sam and agrees to do business with him and the company. Sam feels his career is now on the way up and he goes home to celebrate with his wife. There, he meets his wife's longtime friend and their new next-door neighbor, Janet (Romy Schneider), and they all have dinner together to celebrate his promotion and Janet's new home. Sam gets drunk and tumbles down the grand carpeted staircase of the Fairmont Hotel, knocking down a waiter carrying trays of meals.

Janet, a beautiful woman, is recently divorced from her husband Howard (Michael Connors) and is happier than ever. She has also come into a large inheritance from her grandfather, which carries the stipulation that she must still be married to Howard in order to receive the inheritance. State law dictates that a divorce is not final until a year from final settlement. Since only six months have passed, Janet decides to hide the divorce from her cousins Irene (Anne Seymour) and Jack (Charles Lane) who stand to inherit if Janet is disqualified.

With Howard unavailable, Sam is pressed to impersonate him when Irene and Jack arrive for a visit. Having never met Howard, Irene and Jack seem convinced but begin watching the couple with a telescopic surveillance camera hidden in a phony workmens truck nearby. Janet and Sam (with Min's complicity) are thereby forced to continue the charade for several days, with Sam cohabiting and being driven to work by Janet, and sneaking in to occasionally visit Min through the backyard, or hidden in a laundry basket. When caught pretending by Mr. Burke and Mr. Nurdlinger, Sam and Janet are then forced into a double charade in which Janet pretends to be Min. The situation begins to unravel when Irene and Jack hire a private investigator to keep watch on Sam and Janet, and Howard re-enters the picture. Sam panics after noticing new advertising billboards around the city showing his face with Janet's, and so paints clown faces on them late the last night before the attorney is to give Howard and Janet their inheritance.



The film, set in San Francisco, makes use of obligatory exterior shots, including a long montage of scenes of Sam driving his car all over the city, up and down hills, as well as the curvy block of Lombard Street, as so many directors love to portray. The remainder of the film was shot in the Los Angeles area, both on location and at the studio.


The film grossed $9,072,726 at the box office,[1] earning $5.3 million in rentals.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Box Office Information for Good Neighbor Sam. The Numbers. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
  2. ^ Levine, Ken (20 December 2008). "Jim Fritzell & Everett Greenbaum". By Ken Levine. Retrieved 2014-11-15. Everett [Greenbaum]... built bizarre sculptures out of pipes and everyday items. (they're [sic] featured in GOOD NEIGHBOR SAM...)
  3. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1964", Variety, 6 January 1965 p 39.

External linksEdit