Pepe (film)

Pepe is a 1960 American musical comedy film starring Cantinflas in the title role, directed by George Sidney. The film contained a multitude of cameo appearances, attempting to replicate the success of Cantiflas' American debut Around the World in 80 Days.

movie poster
Directed byGeorge Sidney
Produced byGeorge Sidney
Written byClaude Binyon
Dorothy Kingsley
Story bySonya Levien
George Sidney
Leonard Spigelgass
Based onBroadway Zauber play by Leslie Bush-Fekete
Dan Dailey
Shirley Jones
Music byJohnny Green
CinematographyJoseph MacDonald
Edited byViola Lawrence
Al Clark
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • December 20, 1960 (1960-12-20)
Running time
180 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$4.8 million (US/ Canada rentals) [2]

The film received generally unfavorable reviews from critics and failed to match the box-office success of his previous American film. The movie was issued on VHS tape in 1998; to date, there has been no release on DVD.[3]


Pepe (Cantinflas) is a hired hand, employed on a ranch. A boozing Hollywood director, Mr. Holt, buys a white stallion that belongs to Pepe's boss. Pepe, determined to get the horse back (as he considers it his family), decides to go to Hollywood. There he meets film stars, including Jimmy Durante, Frank Sinatra, Zsa Zsa Gabór, Bing Crosby, Maurice Chevalier and Jack Lemmon in drag as Daphne from Some Like It Hot. He is also surprised by things that were new in the U.S. at the time, such as automatic doors. When he finally reaches the man who bought the horse, he is led to believe there is no hope of getting it back. However Mr. Holt offers him a job when he realizes that Pepe brings new life to the stallion. With his luck changing, Pepe wins big money in Las Vegas, enough that Mr. Hold lets him be the producer of his next movie. Most of the movie centers around his meeting Suzie Murphy (Shirley Jones), an actress on hard times who hates the world. Just like with the stallion, Pepe brings out the best in Suzie and helps her become a big star in a movie made by Mr. Holt. The last scene shows both him and the stallion back at the ranch with several foals.




George Sidney later recalled "there were problems dealing with the logistics of making a picture in two countries with a writer's strike going on at the same time. It was difficult trying to schedule around this person and that person and getting all of the people together. Shooting in Mexico with two sets of crew down there posed problems. I was moving back and forth and any time I was in one place I needed to be in another place." Sidney says that because of the writers strike, Durante and Cantiflas had to ad lib their scene together. "It turned out to be pretty funny," said Sidney. "The studio thought we had hired writers on the black market."[4]


Bosley Crowther of The New York Times was not impressed. "The rare and wonderful talents of Mexican comedian Cantinflas, who was nicely introduced to the general public as the valet in "Around the World in 80 Days," are pitifully spent and dissipated amid a great mass of Hollywooden dross in the oversized, over-peopled "Pepe," which opened at the Criterion last night."[5]

Soundtrack album

The soundtrack was issued in 1960 by Colpix Records in the U.S. (CP 507) and Pye International Records in the UK (NPL 28015). The tracks were:

Side One

  1. Pepe sung by Shirley Jones
  2. Mimi / September Song sung by Maurice Chevalier
  3. Hooray for Hollywood sung by Sammy Davis Jr.
  4. The Rumble (André Previn) - orchestral version

Side Two

  1. That's How It Went, All Right (Dory Langdon Previn / André Previn) sung by Bobby Darin
  2. The Faraway Part of Town (Dory Langdon Previn / André Previn) sung by Judy Garland
  3. Suzy's Theme (Johnny Green) - orchestral version
  4. Pennies from Heaven / Let's Fall in Love / South of the Border sung by Bing Crosby
  5. Lovely Day (Agustín Lara / Dory Langdon Previn) sung by Shirley Jones


The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards:[6]

Comic book adaption

See also


  1. "Although various reviews list the film's length as 190 or 195 minutes, studio records reveal that the actual running time was 180 minutes 29 seconds. It is possible that the running time in the reviews included the film's intermission." - Turner Classic Movies.
  2. "All-Time Top Grossers", Variety, 8 January 1964 p 69
  4. Davis, Ronald L. (2005). Just making movies. University Press of Mississippi. p. 79.
  5. Crowther, Bosley (December 22, 1960). "The New York Times": 18. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. "The 33rd Academy Awards (1961) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  7. "Dell Four Color #1194". Grand Comics Database.
  8. Dell Four Color #1194 at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
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