Sixty years ago today, the film Bells are Ringing premiered. By now, it should come as no surprise that I absolutely adore Judy Holliday. This is no exception, she is great. You have to see this film.
Title: Bells are Ringing
Directed by: Vincente Minnelli
Produced by: Arthur Freed
Written by: Betty Comden, Adolph Green
Starring: Judy Holliday, Dean Martin
Music by: Jule Styne
Music supervised and conducted by: André Previn
Cinematography: Milton Krasner
Edited by: Adrienne Fazan
Distributed by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date: June 23, 1960
Running time: 126 minutes
Budget: $3.2 million
Box office: $3.6 million
Ella Peterson works as a switchboard operator at the Susanswerphone answering service. She can’t help breaking the rules by becoming overly involved in the lives of the subscribers. Some of the more peculiar ones include a dentist who composes songs on an air hose, an actor who emulates Marlon Brando, and a little boy for whom she pretends to be Santa Claus.
Ella has a secret crush on the voice of subscriber Jeffrey Moss, a playwright for whom she plays a comforting “Mom” character. She finally meets him face to face, when she brings him a message under a false name (Melisande Scott) and romantic sparks and some confusion begin.
A humorous subplot involves the courtly Otto, who convinces Susanswerphone to take orders for his “mail-order classical record business”, known as Titanic Records. Unfortunately, Otto is actually a bookie whose orders are a system for betting on horses. Unwittingly, Ella changes orders for the supposedly incorrect Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony, Opus 6, not realizing she is changing “bets”.
Although the police begin to assume that Susanswerphone might be a front for an escort service, the plot ends happily, with Jeff proposing, and her wacky subscribers coming to thank her.