The Solid Gold Cadillac

The Solid Gold Cadillac is a 1956 film directed by Richard Quine and written by Abe Burrows, Howard Teichmann and George S. Kaufman. It was adapted from the hit Broadway play of the same name by Teichmann and Kaufman, in which they pillory big business and corrupt businessmen. The film stars Judy Holliday and Paul Douglas. The film is in black-and-white except for the very last scene, which is in Technicolor.

The Solid Gold Cadillac
Directed byRichard Quine
Produced byFred Kohlmar
Written byAbe Burrows
Based onThe Solid Gold Cadillac
1953 play
by George S. Kaufman
Howard Teichmann
StarringJudy Holliday
Paul Douglas
Narrated byGeorge Burns
Music byCyril J. Mockridge
CinematographyCharles Lang
Edited byCharles Nelson
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
August 22, 1956 (1956-08-22)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.4 million (US)[1]


At a shareholders meeting for International Projects, a billion dollar corporation, John T. Blessington (John Williams) announces he is replacing Edward L. McKeever (Paul Douglas), the company's founder, president and chairman of the board, who is resigning to work for the federal government in Washington D.C. Laura Partridge (Judy Holliday), a minority stockholder with just ten shares of stock, drives its arrogant, self-serving executives to distraction with her incessant questioning during this and subsequent meetings.

Blessington comes up with the idea of hiring the struggling actress as director of shareholder relations to keep her occupied answering letters from small shareholders. He assigns her a secretary, Amelia Shotgraven (Neva Patterson), with secret instructions to obstruct her as much as possible. The conscientious Miss Partridge, upon discovering there is nothing substantial for her to do, decides to write the stockholders herself. She gains Amelia's friendship and wholehearted assistance by helping her develop a romantic relationship with office manager Mark Jenkins (Arthur O'Connell).

When the directors find out, they fire Amelia. However, Laura discovers that Blessington's thoroughly unqualified brother-in-law, Harry Harkness (Hiram Sherman), has driven an apparent competitor into bankruptcy, unaware International Projects actually owns the unfortunate company. With that as leverage, she gets Amelia rehired.

Still determined to neutralize Laura, the board decides to send her to Washington to persuade McKeever to give them some government contracts. She agrees to go, with the secret intention of trying to convince him to return and take back control from his crooked cronies. However, the company directors recall that he has divested himself of all his shares and is thus powerless, so they brush him off.

McKeever takes them to court, arguing that Laura was an unlicensed, illegal lobbyist; but, when she is forced to admit on the stand that she had another, romantic, reason for seeing him, the case is dropped. However, Laura has forged a warm relationship with many of the smaller investors while working at the company; they responded and sent in their proxies, giving her the right to vote their shares. Laura and McKeever use these votes to replace the entire board. They marry. As a gift to "The Girl Who Has Everything," her husband presents her a single solid gold Cadillac for her birthday.



Bosley Crowther of The New York Times praised Holliday highly, stating, "the invincible Miss Holliday has dared to project her youthful figure and personality into the character shaped by Miss Hull" (Josephine Hull, then in her seventies, played the role in the Broadway play) and is "knocking the role completely dead."[2] However, he felt that the villains of the piece were neither particularly convincing ("not precisely representatives of the workaday financial world"), original ("cut from a fairly familiar stencil of Kaufmanesque farce"), or formidable enough ("The problems set up by the play-wrights are little barriers of cardboard farce").[2] He concluded, "it will give you an entertaining ride, but don't expect it to take you or your intelligence very far."[2] The Film4 reviewer agreed that the story was not particularly convincing ("Yeah – like global capitalism gets overthrown that easily"), but "even so, it's undemanding and amusing."[3]

Awards and nominations

Jean Louis won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design Black and White. Ross Bellah, William Kiernan, and Louis Diage were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction Black and White.[4]

Holliday was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, while the film was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

See also


  1. "Top Grosses of 1957", Variety, 8 January 1958: 30
  2. Bosley Crowther (October 25, 1956). "The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956)". The New York Times.
  3. "Solid Gold Cadillac, The". Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  4. "NY Times: The Solid Gold Cadillac". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
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