Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

This week’s mystery movie was the 1956 MGM picture “The Opposite Sex,” with June Allyson, Joan Collins, Dolores Gray, Ann Sheridan,  Ann Miller, Leslie Nielsen, Jeff Richards, Agnes Moorehead, Charlotte Greenwood, Joan Blondell, Sam Levene, Harry James, Art Mooney, Dick Shawn, Jim Backus, Bill Goodwin, Alice Pearce, Barbara Jo Allen, Sandy Descher and Carolyn Jones. (Yes, Endora and Morticia!)

Screenplay by Fay and Michael Kanin, adapted from a play (“The Women”) by Clare Boothe. New songs by Nicholas Brodszky and Sammy Cahn,  musical supervision by George Stoll, dances and musical numbers by Robert Sidney, orchestrations by Albert Sendrey and Skip Martin, vocal supervision by Robert Tucker, music coordinator Irving Aaronson.

Photography by Robert Brenner, art direction by Cedric Gibbons and Daniel B. Cathcart, set decorations by Edwin B. Willis and Henry Grace, special effects by A. Arnold Gillespie and Warren Newcombe, assistant director George Rhein, color consultant Charles K. Hagedon. Costumes by Helen Rose, editing by John McSweeney Jr. recording supervisor Dr. Wesley O. Miller, hairstyles by Sydney Guilaroff, makeup by William Tuttle.

Produced by Joe Pasternak. Directed by David Miller.

In CinemaScope and MetroColor.

“The Opposite Sex” is available on DVD from Warner Archive.

Writing in the New York Times (Nov. 16, 1956), Bosley Crowther said:

Although Clare Boothe’s “the Women” was staged about twenty years ago and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer filmed it in 1939, it has aged gracefully, to judge by “The Opposite Sex,” the remake that arrived at the Capitol yesterday.

Most of Miss Boothe’s comedy-drama still drips vitriol, and the fangs and claws of its decorative vixens are almost as terrifying as they were two decades ago. The venomous mixture of deadly females vs. deadlier females, sharp dialogue and songs is a surface inspection of Manhattan society rather than the deep dissection it once was. One might not want to live in this plush “jungle” but the principals, who keep the catfights going briskly, make it an interesting place to visit.

Although some aspects of the original investigation of  the well-endowed Park Avenue-Broadway echelon have changed, “The Women” basically is still the story of “the jaded, frenetic women” whose meat is gossip and whose wine is divorce talk.

I picked “The Opposite Sex” primarily for Dolores Gray, who only has 10 movie credits on IMDB (and lots more television). It was an opulent, big-budget production intended to compete with films’ upstart rival, television. The musical numbers are elaborately choreographed. The sets and costumes are excellent, the photography is top-notch. MGM poured buckets of money into this film.

But. There is also much to dislike about this movie. It’s an extremely repulsive 1950s portrayal of women as:

'The Opposite Sex'
… obsessed with diamonds …

'The Opposite Sex'

… and furs …


'The Opposite Sex'

The women of “The Opposite Sex” love, love, love shopping! All elegantly dressed, but they still need the latest outfits.

'The Opposite Sex'
Oh, and of course the women of “the Opposite Sex” are terrible drivers.

They have nothing to do while their rich, powerful husbands attend to business but laze around the beauty parlor, gossip and worry about their weight as they do lunch.  Oh yes, and worry and gossip who might be trying to steal someone’s rich, powerful husband, etc.

If you’re looking for a 1950s portrayal of women as snarky, scheming, shopaholic trophy wives, “The Opposite Sex” is a pretty much a classic.

Aug. 17, 2019, Mystery Photo

Here’s a better shot of June Allyson in one of the production numbers.

Aug. 17, 2019, Mystery Photo

Here’s a better shot of the painfully beautiful Joan Collins as the sultry homewrecker Crystal Allen.

Aug. 17, 2019, Mystery Photo

… and a mirror shot of June Allyson.

Aug. 17, 2019, Mystery Photo
And here’s Joan Blondell. Mrs. Dick Powell (1936-1944) and Mrs. Dick Powell (1945-1963) had very few scenes together.

Aug. 12, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Monday, we have a mystery gent.

Update: This is Jerry Antes in a long production number about bananas that produces nausea in Joan Blondell (Blondell was about 50 at this point but her character is supposed to be pregnant).

Aug. 13, 2019, Mystery Photo
For Tuesday, we have a mystery woman.

Update: This is Alice Pearce.

Brain Trust roll call: Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery dancer) and Jim Warren (mystery movie).

Aug. 14, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Wednesday, we have a mystery girl.

Update: This is Sandy Descher.

Brain Trust roll call: Eve (mystery movie and Monday’s mystery dancer), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie and both mystery guests), Anne Papineau (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery manicurist), Howard Mandelbaum (Tuesday’s mystery manicurist), Gary (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery manicurist), Jenny M. (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery manicurist), Candace R. Copley (Tuesday’s mystery manicurist), Sylvia E. (mystery movie and both mystery guests), Bruce Reznick (Tuesday’s mystery manicurist) and L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast).

Aug. 15, 2019, Mystery Photo

For Thursday, we have a mystery gent who is being hypnotized by an entirely unmysterious fellow.

Update: This is Dick Shawn and Jim Backus.

Aug. 15, 2019, Mystery Photo
Also for Thursday, our mystery manicurist has a mysterious client. She is extremely curious about such goings-on.

Update: This is Dolores Gray and Alice Pearce.

Brain Trust roll call: Tucson Barbara (Wednesday’s mystery girl), Sarah (Wednesday’s mystery girl), Don Danard (Wednesday’s mystery girl), Gary (Monday’s mystery dancer and Wednesday’s mystery girl), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery girl), David Inman (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery girl), Sue Slutzky (mystery movie and all mystery guests), Sylvia E. (Wednesday’s mystery girl), Jenny M. (Wednesday’s mystery girl) and Anne Papineau (Wednesday’s mystery girl).

Aug. 16, 2019, Mystery Photo
Our mystery movie has a large cast. Here’s a car full of mystery guests!

Update: June Allyson, Ann Miller, Agnes Moorehead and Jeff Richards.

Aug. 16, 2019, Mystery Photo
And we also have this mysterious lady…

Update: This is Ann Sheridan.

Aug. 16, 2019, Mystery Photo

So many mystery guests! Good thing our mystery movie is in CinemaScope, no?

Update: Dolores Gray, Leslie Nielsen in a rare role as a romantic leading man, Joan Collins, Jonathan Hole and Joan Blondell.

Aug. 16, 2019, Mystery Photo
How did you get in here?

Update: Joan Collins and the late Robert Osborne introduce “The Opposite Sex” on TCM in 2015 when Collins was guest programmer. (She talks about turning down a date with Jack Nicholson). The full lineup is here.

Brain Trust roll call: Tucson Barbara (Thursday’s mystery guests), Jenny M. (Thursday’s mystery guests), Anne Papineau (Monday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests), Sylvia E. (Thursday’s mystery guests plus BOTHW and non-mysterious psychotherapist) and Sue Slutzky (Thursday’s mystery guests).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1956, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Marc Wilder in THE OPPOSITE SEX (1956). I believe Barrie Chase is to his left.


  2. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Correction: Jerry Antes among tropical beauties.


  3. Eve says:

    Is that the recently deceased Jerry Antes in The Opposite Sex?


  4. tucsonbarbara says:

    “The Opposite Sex”

    Monday – Jerry Antes
    Tuesday – Alice Pearce


  5. Anne Papineau says:

    On Monday, Jeff Richards in “The Opposite Sex.” On Tuesday, Alice Pearce.


  6. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Alice Pearce.


  7. Gary says:

    This is Alice Pearce who looks to be playing a manicurist so I;ll guess the film is The Opposite Sex.


  8. B.J. Merholz says:

    Broadway Rhythm?


  9. Jenny M says:

    Alice Pearce in The Opposite Sex.


  10. CANDACE R COPLEY says:

    Alice Pearce


  11. Sylvia E. says:

    I think Tuesday is Alice Pearce.


  12. Bruce Reznick says:

    Alice Pearce?


  13. LC says:

    This is a remake of The Women from 1939 – The Opposite Sex (1956) w/June Allison, Joan Collins, Ann Sheridan, Ann Miller, Alice Pearce…not anywhere close to being as good.


  14. Sylvia E. says:

    The movie is The Opposite Sex 1956
    Monday’s leading male dancer is Jerry Antes (found out that he’s the dancer in Rear Window)
    Tuesday is indeed Alice Pearce (my earlier guess. Recognized her from her ‘Alice Kravitz’ days on Bewitched)

    Big cast – will guess-as-you-go, but will make my own predictions on who Wednesday and Thursday will bring. Friday I’m sure of.


  15. tucsonbarbara says:

    Wednesday – Sandy Descher


  16. Sarah says:

    It’s Sandy Drescher.


  17. Don Danard says:

    I think Wednesday’s Mystery Girl is Sandy Descher.


  18. Gary says:

    Wednesday is Sandy Descher and Monday’s dancer is Jerry Antes,


  19. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Sandy Descher.


  20. Sarah says:

    The French Line.


  21. David Inman says:

    Sandy Descher today — is the movie “The Opposite Sex”?


  22. Don Danard says:

    I’d say the Wednesday Mystery Lass is Sandy Descher.


  23. Sue Slutzky says:

    Sandy Descher on Wednesday?


  24. Sylvia E. says:

    Wednesday – Sandy Descher (one of the world’s top notch ‘screamers’ as evidenced in “Them” 1954.)


  25. Jenny M says:

    Sandy Descher


  26. Sue Slutzky says:

    I cracked it! The movie is “The Opposite Sex.” Monday – Jerry Antes, Tuesday – Alice Pearce.


  27. Don Danard says:

    Wednesday’s Mystery Young Lady is Sandy Descher.


  28. Anne Papineau says:

    On Wednesday: Sandy Descher


  29. tucsonbarbara says:

    Dick Shawn; Dolores Gray


  30. Jenny M says:

    Dick Shawn and Dolores Gray


  31. Anne Papineau says:

    Dolores Gray on Thursday and might that be Dick Shawn??


  32. Sylvia E. says:

    Thurs. – Dolores Gray is under the hair dryer w/ BOTHW from Tuesday, Alice Pearce
    The patient is Dick Shawn and the “un-mysterious, therefore cropped out” Doctor/Hypnotist is Jim Backus, I think.


  33. Anne Papineau says:

    Monday’s mystery gent is Jerry Antes


  34. Sue Slutzky says:

    Thursday: Dick Shawn and Dolores Gray


  35. Benito says:

    THE OPPOSITE SEX 1956. June Allyson coming soon. I prefer the 1939 version.


  36. tucsonbarbara says:

    June Allyson, Ann Miller, Agnes Moorehead, Jeff Richards, Ann Sheridan, Dolores Gray, Leslie Nielsen, Joan Collins, Jonathan Hole, Joan Blondell, Ms. Collins, and Robert Osborne


  37. Howard Mandelbaum says:

    Thursday: Dick Shawn; Dolores Gray, Alice Pearce.
    Friday: June Allyson, Ann Miller, Agnes Moorehead, Theona Bryant, Jeff Richards; Ann Sheridan; Dolores Gray, Leslie Nielsen, Joan Collins, Jonathan Hole, Joan Blondell; Joan Collins, Robert Osborne.


  38. Sylvia E. says:

    I wondered how you would pull off including such a huge cast. Anyhooo…

    Friday – Image #1: In the back seat we have June Allyson, Agnes Moorehead and (I think) Janet Lake. In the front seat we have Ann Miller seated next to our hunky, cowboy driver, Jeff Richards

    Image #2: Ann Sheridan in a GREAT hat. Screen left, O.S. is June Allyson again (love her hat, too.)

    Image #3: Moving from screen left to right: Dolores Gray (in a gorgeous gown this time,) Leslie Nielson, (a very young) Joan Collins, Jonathan Hole and Joan Blondell

    Image #4: Is (a more mature) Joan Collins and the greatly missed, Robert Osborne. I’m guessing this was the TCM screening of “The Opposite Sex.” I wonder if they paired it with “The Women.”

    This has been such fun. Looking forward to Saturday.


  39. Gary says:

    This is a film in which a number of women appeared …Joan Collins, Ann Sheridan. Ann Miller, and Dolores Gray…all of whom could have been Big Stars if the studios had promoted them and developed scripts for them Sad how Hollywood wasted so much time and talent.


  40. Gary says:

    When I was growing up in a small town in Kansas one day a car stopped;at a local restaurant. The passengers were Agnes Morehead, Charles Boyer, Dane Clark and Franchot Tone. They were touring in Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell and just passing through town.. Fortunately a reporter for the local paper was having lunch at the same place and said hello to them and got their story. Other wise, unrecognized, they were all out of town mystery guests.


  41. Gary says:

    Forgot to tell you that when I worked at the theatre in Miami in 1959 Dick Shawn played Charlie’s Aunt for two weeks. He was rather good …better than his usual stand up routine. Nice singing voice.


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