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Cactus Flower (film)

Cactus Flower
File:Cactus Flower 1969.jpg
Directed by Gene Saks
Produced by M. J. Frankovich
Written by Abe Burrows (play),
Pierre Barillet (Fleur de cactus),
Jean-Pierre Grédy (Fleur de cactus),
I. A. L. Diamond (screenwriter)
Starring Walter Matthau,
Ingrid Bergman,
Goldie Hawn
Music by Quincy Jones
Cinematography Charles Lang
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
December 16, 1969
Running time
103 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3 million
Box office $25,889,208[1]

Cactus Flower is a 1969 comedy film directed by Gene Saks and starring Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, and Goldie Hawn, who won an Oscar for her performance. The screenplay was adapted by I. A. L. Diamond from a Broadway stage play written by Abe Burrows, which in turn was based upon the French play Fleur de cactus by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Grédy. The film was the seventh highest grossing film of 1970.

The film has been remade a few times. An unauthorized Hindi version titled Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya?, starring Salman Khan, Sushmita Sen and Katrina Kaif, was released in 2005. An English language remake, Just Go With It, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, was released in 2011. An Egyptian version titled Nos Sa'a Gawaz (Half-Hour Marriage), starring Rushdy Abaza, Shadia and Adel Imam, was released in 1969.


21-year-old Toni Simmons attempts to commit suicide by inhaling gas from a second-hand stove. Her neighbor, Igor Sullivan, smells the gas and rescues her by using mouth to mouth resuscitation, which evolves into a kiss after Toni regains consciousness.

Toni's failed suicide attempt stems from her despondency following a romantic breakup. Her lover, Julian, ended the relationship by announcing he had a wife and three children. Unknown to Toni, Julian is not married. Upon learning of Toni's suicide attempt, Julian decides to marry Toni, but he needs a wife to divorce in order to sustain his earlier lie. Julian asks Stephanie Dickinson, his long time assistant, to pose as his wife. At first unwilling, she ultimately relents, since she has long had a crush on her employer.

Toni senses Miss Dickinson's feelings for Julian and asks Julian to help Miss Dickinson find another man. Ultimately Julian's friend Harvey, Señor Arturo Sánchez, and Igor all become embroiled in Julian's scheme. Toni suspects Julian's untrustworthiness and leaves him for Igor. Julian finally falls in love with Miss Dickinson.

The prickly cactus Miss Dickinson keeps on her desk in the office gives the film its name. Like Miss Dickinson, the cactus thrives in the driest of settings.

Ultimately, however, both the cactus and Miss Dickinson "bloom."


Actor Role Other notes
Walter Matthau Dr. Julian Winston a dentist
Ingrid Bergman Stephanie Dickinson Dr. Winston's assistant
Goldie Hawn Toni Simmons Dr. Winston's girlfriend
Jack Weston Harvey Greenfield a friend and patient of Dr. Winston
Rick Lenz Igor Sullivan a writer and Toni's neighbor
Vito Scotti Señor Arturo Sánchez a diplomat and patient of Dr. Winston
Irene Hervey Mrs. Durant a patient of Dr. Winston
Eve Bruce Georgia a date of Harvey Greenfield's
Irwin Charone Record Store Manager Toni's employer
Matthew Saks nephew one of Mrs. Dickinson's nephews


On release, the film was acclaimed by both critics and the general public, becoming the eighth highest grossing film of 1969. Howard Thompson of The New York Times stated that "both the expansive scenario of I. A. L. Diamond and the flexible direction of Gene Saks open up and even ventilate the story".[2] Roger Ebert declared that "the chemistry works" and "the movie is better than the play".[3]

In her first major film role, Goldie Hawn, once described as the "dizzy cream puff who is constantly blowing her lines [on Laugh-In]",[4] was praised for being "a natural reactress; her timing is so canny that even her tears run amusingly".[5] Hawn's performance in Cactus Flower won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, her sole Oscar to date.


Goldie Hawn won two awards for her supporting role:

In addition, there was a nomination for Ingrid Bergman and an additional one for Goldie Hawn:

Screenwriter I. A. L. Diamond was nominated for the 1969 Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium, the only one of his ten screenplay nominations that was not for a screenplay that he co-wrote with Billy Wilder.

See also


  1. ^ "Box Office Information for Cactus Flower". The Numbers. Retrieved February 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Howard (1969-12-17). "'Cactus Flower' Blooms". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (1969-12-29). "Cactus Flower". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  4. ^ "Laugh-In Dropouts". Time Magazine. 1969-12-05. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  5. ^ "Late Bloomer". Time Magazine. 1969-12-19. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 

External links