Two for the Seesaw

Two for the Seesaw is a 1962 American romantic-drama film directed by Robert Wise and starring Robert Mitchum and Shirley MacLaine. It was adapted from the Broadway play written by William Gibson.

Two for the Seesaw
Original film poster by Mitchell Hooks
Directed byRobert Wise
Produced byWalter Mirisch
Written byWilliam Gibson
Isobel Lennart
StarringRobert Mitchum
Shirley MacLaine
Music byAndré Previn
CinematographyTed D. McCord
Edited byStuart Gilmore
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • November 21, 1962 (1962-11-21)
Running time
119 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,750,000 (US/ Canada)[1]


Jerry Ryan (Mitchum) is a lawyer from Nebraska who has recently separated from his wife. To get away from it all, he has moved to a shabby apartment in New York. He is struggling with the divorce, which has been filed but is not final, and takes long walks at night.

At a party, he meets Gittel Mosca (MacLaine), a struggling dancer. They instantly get along, and begin to fall in love. But the relationship is hampered by their differences in background and temperament.

Jerry gets a job with a New York law firm and prepares to take the bar examination. He helps Gittel rent a loft for a dance studio, which she rents out to other dancers. But their relationship is stormy, and Jerry has difficulty separating himself emotionally from his wife.

They prepare to move in together nevertheless, but Gittel is upset when she learns that the divorce came through and Jerry did not tell her about it. Jerry explains that even though he is divorced from his former wife on paper, they remain bonded in many ways. He and Gittel decide he needs to return to Nebraska.



Paul Newman was originally slated to star opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the film. When Taylor was forced to drop out because of shooting overruns on Cleopatra, Newman was free to take the role of 'Fast Eddie' Felson in The Hustler.[2]

"Second Chance", the title tune, became a pop music and jazz standard, recorded by Ella Fitzgerald and other artists. At the 35th Academy Awards, the "Song From Two for the Seesaw (Second Chance)" from Two for the Seesaw – Music by André Previn; Lyric by Dory Langdon was nominated for Best Original Song but lost to Days of Wine and Roses. The movie was also nominated for Best Cinematography, Black and White (Ted D. McCord). However, The Longest Day (Jean Bourgoin and Walter Wottitz) triumphed over it.

MacLaine revealed on Oprah on April 11, 2011 that she and Mitchum began a relationship during the filming of this film that lasted until his death.

See also


  1. "Top Rental Features of 1963", Variety, 8 January 1964 p 71. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
  2. Newman, Paul. DVD commentary, The Hustler
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