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The Country Girl (1954 film)

The Country Girl
theatrical release poster
Directed by George Seaton
Produced by William Perlberg
Written by George Seaton
Based on the play by Clifford Odets
Music by Victor Young
Cinematography John F. Warren
Edited by Ellsworth Hoagland
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • December 11, 1954 (1954-12-11) (USA)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $6.5 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)[1]

The Country Girl is a 1954 American drama film directed by George Seaton and starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and William Holden. Adapted by George Seaton from Clifford Odets' 1950 play of the same name, the film is about an alcoholic has-been actor struggling with the one last chance he's been given to resurrect his career. Seaton won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay. It was entered in the 1955 Cannes Film Festival.[2]

Kelly won the Oscar for Best Actress for the role, which previously had earned Uta Hagen her first Tony Award in the play's original Broadway production. The role, a non-glamorous departure for Kelly, was as the alcoholic actor's long-suffering wife.

The win was a huge surprise, as most critics and people in the press felt that Judy Garland would win for A Star Is Born. NBC even sent a camera crew to Garland's hospital room, where she was recuperating from the birth of her son, in order to conduct a live interview with her if she won. The win by Kelly instead famously prompted Groucho Marx to send Garland a telegram stating it was "the biggest robbery since Brinks."

Given the period of its production, the film is notable for its realistic, frank dialogue and honest treatments of the surreptitious side of alcoholism and post-divorce misogyny.


In a theatre where auditions are being held for a new musical production, the director, Bernie Dodd, watches a number performed by fading star Frank Elgin and suggests he be cast. This is met with strong opposition from Cook, the show's producer.

Bernie insists on the down-on-his-luck Frank Elgin, who is living in a modest apartment with his wife Georgie. They are grateful, though not entirely certain Frank can handle the work.

Initially Frank leads Bernie to believe that Georgie is the reason for his career decline. Bernie strongly criticizes her, first behind her back and eventually to her face. What he doesn't know is that the real reason Frank's career has ended is his insecurity. When their five-year-old son Johnny was hit by a car while in his care, Frank was devastated by the death and, partly using that as an excuse to cover up his insecurity, reduced to a suicidal alcoholic.

Mealy-mouthed to the director's face, Frank is actually a demanding alcoholic who is totally dependent on his wife. Bernie mistakenly blames her for everything that happens during rehearsals, including Elgin's requests for a dresser and a run-of-the-show contract. He believes Georgie to be suicidal and a drunk, when it is actually Frank who is both.

Humiliated when he learns the truth, Bernie realizes that behind his hatred of Georgie was a strong attraction to her. He kisses her and falls in love.

Elgin succeeds in the role on opening night. Afterward he demands respect from the producer that he and his wife had not been given previously. At a party to celebrate, Bernie believes that now that Elgin has recovered his self-respect and stature, Georgie will be free to leave him. But she stands by her husband instead.


Awards and honors

Academy Awards

The Country Girl won two Academy Awards.[3]

Award Result Winner
Best Motion Picture Nominated William Perlberg
Winner was Sam SpiegelTemplate:Spaced ndashOn the Waterfront
Best Director Nominated George Seaton
Winner was Elia KazanTemplate:Spaced ndashOn the Waterfront
Best Actor Nominated Bing Crosby
Winner was Marlon BrandoTemplate:Spaced ndashOn the Waterfront
Best Actress Won Grace Kelly
Best Writing, Screenplay Won George Seaton
Best Art Direction (Black-and-White) Nominated Hal Pereira, Roland Anderson, Samuel M. Comer, Grace Gregory
Winner was Richard DayTemplate:Spaced ndashOn the Waterfront
Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) Nominated John F. Warren
Winner was Boris KaufmanTemplate:Spaced ndashOn the Waterfront

In popular culture

Some of the dialogue from the film was used in the Mika song, "Grace Kelly". The film is referenced in the TV series I Love Lucy] in the episode "L.A., At Last".



  1. ^ "All Time Domestic Champs", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Country Girl". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  3. ^ "NY Times: The Country Girl". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 

External links