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No Down Payment is a 1957 film drama directed by Martin Ritt. It was scripted by Philip Yordan, who fronted for a then uncredited and blacklisted Ben Maddow, and is based on the novel of the same name by John McPartland. Featured is an all star cast, including Joanne Woodward, Sheree North, Tony Randall, Jeffrey Hunter, Cameron Mitchell, and Pat Hingle.

No Down Payment
No Down Payment - poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMartin Ritt
Produced byJerry Wald
Written byPhilip Yordan
Ben Maddow (uncredited)
John McPartland (novel)
StarringJoanne Woodward
Sheree North
Tony Randall
Jeffrey Hunter
Cameron Mitchell
Music byLeigh Harline
CinematographyJoseph LaShelle
Edited byLouis R. Loeffler
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • October 30, 1957 (1957-10-30)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$995,000[1] or $700,000[2]
Box office$1.2 million (US rentals)[3] or $925,000 (US)[2]

Set in a California subdivision, the story follows four couples who have bought homes and are neighbors. Among the problems facing the couples are alcoholism, racism, and promiscuity.

The story revolves around the idea of "no down payment" and the over-extended nature of families' economic situation. Tony Randall is in an unsympathetic role, a car salesman looking for a good time. Other issues include discrimination against a former war hero for lack of education.



New to the city's Sunrise Hills subdivision, electrical engineer David Martin and wife Jean are welcomed by their neighbors. They include appliance store manager Herman Kreitzer, auto mechanic Troy Boone and car salesman Jerry Flagg, plus their wives. Leola, the unhappy wife of Troy, wants to have a child. A war veteran, Troy has applied for the position of police chief. He refuses to discuss children until the job is his. Frequently drunk, Jerry awkwardly makes passes at the other men's wives, humiliating his own spouse, Isabelle. He also is heavily in debt, spending far too much on things he can't afford. He pressures a family to buy a car beyond their means, endangering his job.

David also has money problems. Jean strongly urges him to go into sales, a more lucrative field. But he is a skilled engineer who prefers to stick with what he knows best. Herman has a valued employee, Iko, who wants to move into Sunrise Hills with his wife like anybody else. But the racial bias of the time is obvious and Herman's wife dislikes the idea of risking the wrath of neighbors by giving Iko a reference.

Also the city council's president, Herman must inform Troy that he can't be police chief due to a lack of education. The ill-tempered Troy gets drunk and sexually assaults David's wife Jean, then beats David badly when confronted by the angry husband. Leola decides to leave. Troy is accidentally pinned under a car, and by the time it is lifted from him, he is dying in his wife's arms. Leola drives out of town as the others reassess their lives.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p251
  2. ^ a b HOLLYWOOD SCENE: Jerry Wald Presents His Treasurer's Report -- Blaustein's 'Horsemen', by THOMAS M PRYOR, New York Times, 27 July 1958: X5.
  3. ^ "Top Grosses of 1957", Variety, 8 January 1958: 30

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