The Birds And The Bees From 1956
Released in 1956, The Birds and the Bees is a musical comedy from director Norman Taurog and written by Sidney Sheldon. The film stars the legendary George Gobel, Mitzi Gaynor and David Niven. The film is a retelling of the 1941 film, The Lady Everly Preston Sturges. The Film was produced by Paul Jones and distributed by Paramount Pictures
The Comedic Plot
The Birds and The Bees follows George Hamilton, played by George Gobel, an innocent, naïve man. He is also quite rich as he is the heir to a meat packing company. The only problem is, he is vegetarian. He is on his way back from the Congo after a three year expedition to find a rare snake. He is taking a luxury cruise liner back home to Connecticut with his valet, Marty. He soon runs into Jean, played by the flirtatious Mitzi Gaynor. She is on the ship with her father, Colonel Patrick Henry Harris, played by David Niven. Both she and her father are equally untrustworthy. In fact, they make up a con artist trio with their friend Gerald, played by Reginald Gardiner. They can smell the money and gullibility on George a mile away and try to figure out how they can have this lamb for dinner. The tables are soon turned though when Mitzi falls in love with the humble and kind George, as he is probably the complete opposite of the type of men she usually hangs out with.
The length of the journey gives George’s Valet, Marty, enough time to figure out what the larcenous trio is up to and he tells George his suspicions. George breaks off all contact with Mitzi and both of them are left heartbroken. Mitzi however plans to get her revenge on George for leaving her and devises a new con to play.
One Of Norman Tauroq’s Best
The director, Norman Tauroq has directed over 180 films in his career, earning him a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. He is the youngest director, at 33 to ever win the Academy Award for best director. He directed Nine films featuring Elvis Presley and six featuring Dean Martin and Richard Lewis. He has worked with stars as diverse as Spencer Tracy, Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.
The film, though not quite a musical, does contain two songs performed by the actors. The song “The Birds and The Bees” was written by Harry Warren and Mack David. In the film George Goebel and Mitzi Gaynor perform it as a duet. “La Parisienne” was also written by Harry Warren and Mack David and performed as a solo by Mitzi Gaynor.
The Start Of The Legendary David Niven
The Birds and The Bees were originally conceived as a way for George Gobel to break into films. At the time he was the star of the highest rated NBC show, The George Gobel Show, also coining his nickname “Lonesome George”. This nickname went on to be applied to the last Galapagos Tortoise as well as one of three B-52 Stratofortress Bombers that made a nonstop, around the world journey in 1957. David Niven, the supporting actor, went on to worldwide acclaim for his breakout role in Around The World In Eighty Days later that year.