Something for the Birds
|Something for the Birds|
|Directed by||Robert Wise|
|Produced by||Samuel G. Engel|
|Written by||I. A. L. Diamond|
|Based on||stories by Alvin Josephy|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
Johnnie Adams, an engraver in Washington, uses some of the invitations his firm makes to crash Washington parties. He gets to be called "Admiral", and is accepted as part of the social group.
Johnnie meets Anne Richards, interested in preventing a gas company from drilling on certain west coast lands, destroying the breeding grounds of some California condors.
She enlists his aid, and he asks Steve Bennett, a lobbyist, for help. Bennett's company is also employed by the gas outfit.
When an investigating committee gets on the job, Johnnie's actual position is exposed, and he comes in for national publicity.
This makes it possible for the bird sanctuary to be saved, and Johnnie gets his job back, with a promotion. Steve, who has had a falling out with Anne, finds himself invited to his own wedding, with Anne.
The film was based on an original story by Joseph Petracca and Alvin Josephy about the romance between an environmentalist and a lobbyist. It was purchased by 20th Century Fox in October 1950 and assigned to producer Sam Engel. Boris Ingster wrote the script. The original stars were Anne Baxter (environmentalist), Paul Douglas (lobbyist) and Victor Moore (admiral). However, Douglas dropped out when his contract with Fox terminated, and he was replaced by Dana Andrews.
The film took some months to go into production. By April 1952, Baxter had dropped out and Jeanne Crain was to star. But Crain had just given birth and could not get medical clearance to make the movie so Patricia Neal was cast instead. The male romantic lead was given to Victor Mature, who was meant to be in Farmer Takes a Wife for Fox but was reassigned. At this stage the title had been changed to Old Sailors Never Die. The other lead role was given to Edmund Gwenn, who played a counterfeiter for Fox in Mister 880.
I.A.L. Diamond was bought in to rewrite the script.
"It's a nice script", said Neal. "I've appeared in comedies before but this is my first real comedy role."
Producer Julius Blaustein liked Mature and Neal so much he bought an original story from Francis Cockerell, The Desert, to reteam them but it was never made.
- THOMAS F. BRADY (Oct 12, 1950). "METRO WILL FILM BASEBALL COMEDY: 'Angels in the Outfield,' Written by Priest, Bought by Studio for Spencer Tracy Vehicle". New York Times. p. 52.
- THOMAS M. PRYOR (July 27, 1951). "FILM COUNCIL ENDS 4-DAY CONFERENCE: Plans Made at Final Session for Newsreel to Counteract Stories Damaging Industry Swanson Discussing Clothes". New York Times. p. 15.
- "Drama: Anne Baxter to Star as Birds' Defender". Los Angeles Times. July 27, 1951. p. A6.
- Hedda Hopper's Staff (Apr 10, 1952). "Looking at Hollywood: Elizabeth Taylor to Play in Sea Adventure Film". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. c2.
- THOMAS M. PRYOR (Apr 4, 1952). "TELEVISION OR NO, MOVIES ARE ON GO: Survey in Los Angeles Shows First-Run Theatres Doing Better Than Last Year". New York Times. p. 20.
- HEDDA HOPPER'S STAFF (Apr 26, 1952). "Looking at Hollywood: Vic Mature Cast as Fast Talking Lobbyist". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. a2.
- A. H. WEILER (Sep 28, 1952). "NEWS NOTES ON PEOPLE AND PICTURES". New York Times. p. X5.
- "Something for the Birds" at AFI
- THOMAS M. PRYOR (Apr 26, 1952). "FILM MEN TO FIGHT 2 G. O. P. CANDIDATES: Decrying 'Unfair' Attacks, Anti-Communists Will Oppose Their Congressional Bids". New York Times. p. 18.
- Schallert, Edwin (May 27, 1952). "Drama: Betsy Drake Will Join Husband Cary at Metro; Hlutton, Estelita Team". Los Angeles Times. p. B7.
- HOWARD THOMPSON (Nov 2, 1952). "PORTRAIT OF THE LADY NAMED NEAL". New York Times. p. X5.
- "Drama: Patricia Neal, Mature Will Star in 'Desert'". Los Angeles Times. May 8, 1952. p. B10.