Cash McCall

Cash McCall is a 1960 American romantic drama film in Technicolor from Warner Bros., produced by Henry Blanke, directed by Joseph Pevney, and starring James Garner and Natalie Wood. The film's screenplay by Lenore J. Coffee and Marion Hargrove is based upon the novel of the same name by Cameron Hawley.

Cash McCall
Directed byJoseph Pevney
Produced byHenry Blanke
Written byLenore J. Coffee
Marion Hargrove
Cameron Hawley (novel)
StarringJames Garner
Natalie Wood
Music byMax Steiner
CinematographyGeorge J. Folsey
Edited byPhilip W. Anderson
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • January 20, 1960 (1960-01-20) (Los Angeles)[1]
  • January 23, 1960 (1960-01-23) (USA)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,750,000 (US/ Canada)[2]

The film's storyline concerns a wealthy entrepreneur who buys moribund businesses in order to first refurbish and then sell them at a considerable profit. During his latest acquisition, he becomes attracted to the daughter of the company's owner, which begins to complicate both his professional and private life.


Grant Austen (Dean Jagger), the head of Austen Plastics, yearns for retirement. So when Schofield Industries, his largest customer, threatens to take its business elsewhere, Austen considers selling his company. He hires a consulting firm, which finds an interested potential buyer, the notorious businessman Cash McCall (James Garner).

Cash meets with Austen and his daughter Lory (Natalie Wood), who owns part of the company. Austen conceals the problem he has with Schofield Industries. Afterwards, Cash speaks to Lory privately. It turns out they met the previous summer and became instantly attracted to each other. However, when Lory showed up at his cabin soaking wet from a summer rain storm later that night, Cash, not ready for a serious relationship, turned her away. Mortified by the rejection, she fled back into the storm. Upon further thought, not being able to get Lory out of his mind, Cash realized he had made a big mistake. Not really interested in the company, he overpays for Austen Plastics just so he can talk to her again.

Before the deal is finalized, Cash's assistant Gil Clark (Henry Jones) discovers that Austen Plastics holds patents essential to Schofield Industries. Its alarmed boss, retired Army General Danvers (Roland Winters), tries to buy Austen Plastics himself. Cash then decides that he could run Schofield more profitably and starts buying up the controlling interest in the second company.

In the middle of all the deal making, Cash proposes marriage to Lory, and she accepts. However, the assistant manager of the hotel where Cash resides, Maude Kennard (Nina Foch), wants Cash for herself and tricks Lory into believing that she is Cash's girlfriend. Meanwhile, one of Austen's business acquaintances convinces him that Cash swindled him and paid much less than the company is worth, prompting Austen to sue Cash. Eventually, after Austen, Lory, and Cash talk at the Austen home, everything is cleared up, and Cash and Lory reconcile, marrying soon thereafter.



This was one of three theatrical films produced with Garner as leading man during the period in which he was still playing the lead in the Warner Bros. television series Maverick. Garner subsequently left the studio upon winning a contentious lawsuit and continued his movie career. Cash McCall screenplay writer and comedy novel best seller Marion Hargrove had also written several scripts for Garner's Maverick series. Parley Baer, who plays Harvey Bannon in Cash McCall, had portrayed "Chester" in the original radio version of the Western series Gunsmoke.


The film received mixed reviews from critics. Howard Thompson of The New York Times called it "a painless, amusing movie exercise that now and then touches solid ground."[3] Variety wrote that the film suffered from characters that were "stock and, in some cases, foolish," and a script that "borders on the ridiculous in piling on the number and kind of [McCall's] multifarious enterprises," but "for audiences willing to accept a surface story for romantic shenanigans, the picture will suffice."[4] Harrison's Reports wrote: "True, not too much attention to detail has been devoted to the real intricacies of business and high finance, but it's still a pleasant piece of entertainment certain to delight audiences who crave life's complexities dished out in simple mouthfuls."[5] Richard L. Coe of The Washington Post declared: "Exactly what the makers of 'Cash McCall' thought they were doing I don't know, but they have come up with a boozy fairy tale which to men will have all the appeal 'Cinderella' presumably has for females."[6] The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote, "The financial wangling is often quite amusing ... but nothing can prevent the film's romantic stretches seeming a trite and tedious makeweight to Cash's amoral escapades in the financial jungle."[7]

See also


  1. "Cash McCall - Details". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  2. "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
  3. Thompson, Howard (January 28, 1960). "'Cash McCall' Explores Business World". The New York Times: 26.
  4. "Cash McCall". Variety: 6. December 9, 1959.
  5. "'Cash McCall' with James Garner and Natalie Wood". Harrison's Reports: 202. December 19, 1959.
  6. Coe, Richard L. (January 15, 1960). "Horatio, Get Lost!". The Washington Post: C19.
  7. "Cash McCall". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 27 (315): 47–48. April 1960.
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