On the Riviera

On the Riviera is a 1951 musical comedy film made by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Walter Lang, produced by Sol C. Siegel from a screenplay by Valentine Davies and Phoebe and Henry Ephron, based on the play The Red Cat by Rudolph Lothar and Hans Adler. This version stars Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney and Corinne Calvet with Marcel Dalio, Henri Letondal and Sig Ruman, and with uncredited featured dancer Gwen Verdon in dance sequences choreographed and staged by Jack Cole.

On the Riviera
1951 movie poster
Directed byWalter Lang
Produced bySol C. Siegel
Written byscreenplay by
Valentine Davies
Henry Ephron
Phoebe Ephron
based on a play by
Hans Adler
Rudolph Lothar
StarringDanny Kaye
Gene Tierney
Corinne Calvet
Marcel Dalio
Sig Ruman
Music byAlfred Newman
Sylvia Fine
CinematographyLeon Shamroy
Edited byJ. Watson Webb Jr.
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • April 20, 1951 (1951-04-20)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.5 million (US rentals)[1][2]

Having extensive production value, this is a "backstage" musical, where all songs occur as stage performances and many of the characters are stage performers. The film served as a vehicle for multi-talented Broadway veteran Danny Kaye.

This was the third film version of the same story. The original was entitled Folies Bergère (1935) and starred Maurice Chevalier, Merle Oberon and Ann Sothern. The remake in 1941 was That Night in Rio and starred Don Ameche, Alice Faye and Carmen Miranda.

It was nominated for two Academy Awards; for Best Music and Best Art Direction (Lyle R. Wheeler, Leland Fuller, Joseph C. Wright, Thomas Little, and Walter M. Scott).[3]


Jack Martin (Danny Kaye) is an American entertainer. He has a skit in his show, making fun of the Captain Henri Duran (also Kaye). On one particular evening, the Captain and his wife, Lili (Gene Tierney) come to see Jack's impersonation. To the surprise of the couple, the act is amazingly realistic. Backstage, the Captain meets Jack's girlfriend, Colette (Corinne Calvet), and invites her to a party he is going to hold. Colette declines.

Later in the evening, Jack meets Lili and is attracted to her beauty. He does an impersonation of the Captain for her. But the real Captain receives a telegram that his airline is in danger because a contract is not being renewed and he has already purchased 51% of the stock. He has to leave France.

Jack is hired to play the Captain to confuse his rival, Periton (Jean Murat), but at the stock market, he buys the remainder of the airline stock. That evening, at the party, Jack is hired again to play the Captain. He does not want Lili to know, but Lili is informed without his knowing. He sweeps her off her feet and they stay close to each other for the remainder of the evening.

Meanwhile, Colette is furious to discover that Jack is at the party and decides to go there as well, where she discovers that he is impersonating the Captain. To make matter worse, the real Captain returns to his house, confusing all involved. Periton corners Jack instead and talks to him in French, which Jack can't understand.



  1. 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1951', Variety, January 2, 1952
  2. Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century-Fox: A Corporate and Financial History Rowman & Littlefield, 2002 p 223
  3. "NY Times: On the Riviera". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
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