Bachelor Party, The (1957)

UA (Norma production)

Directed by Delbert Mann, and scripted by Paddy Chayefsky, this verbose, borderline pretentious melodrama was an effort to repeat the success of their previous collaboration, Marty,” which won the 1955 Best Picture Oscar.

Like “Marty,” Chayefsky’s “Bachelor Party” began as a TV play. A group of New York office workers, including Don Murray, E.G. Marshall, and Jack Warden throw a party for one of their fellow workers, thirtyish Arnold (Philip Abbott), before he gets married.

With the booze flowing in this traditionally wild ritualistic party, their inhibitions loosen, and conversely, all kinds of personal confessions come to the surface.

Arnold’s married pals begin reflecting on their own lives. Chief among them is Charlie Samson (Don Murray), a staid bookkeeper who intends to cut loose at Arnold’s premarital bacchanale.

The most pathetic figure in the drama is Walter (E. G. Marshall), a self-described “swinger,” who after a few drinks shows self-loathing.

Mostly secondary characters, the women in “Bachelor Party” include Nancy Marchand, Patricia Smith, and Karen Norris, who also reveal their true natures in unexpected ways.

In an Oscar-nominated turn, the dark-haired, exotic-looking Carloyn Jones plays a beatnik known as the Existentialist, “good time girl” with whom Charlie Samson briefly dallies.

Detailed Plot

Charlie Samson (Murray), a married bookkeeper, is struggling to advance himself by taking night classes to become an accountant. He and co-workers throw a bachelor party for a fellow bookkeeper, Arnold Craig (Philip Abbott); Charlie is Arnold’s best man.  Colleagues attending the party include the older married man Walter (Marshall), who suffers from asthma, and Eddie (Warden), a happy-go-lucky bachelor.

As the party goes on, all five men are tested. Charlie finds his loyalty to his wife tested during the evening, and almost has an affair with another woman (Jones) he meets on the street. Walter, in despair about his situation, wanders off during the evening.

Arnold becomes drunk and ambivalent about getting married, and he breaks off the wedding only to change his mind after he sobers up and Charlie gives him a lecture about the benefits of marriage.  Meanwhile, Eddie strikes up a conversation with an older woman at a bar.  In the end, Charlie decides that married life is the way to go, and that his struggle to build a home is worthwhile, and better than the empty and lonely existence of his friend Eddie.

 

Oscar Nominations: 1

Supporting Actress: Carolyn Jones

 

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The Supporting Actress Oscar went to Miyoshi Umeki for “Sayonara.”

End Note

Carolyn Jones established a name when playing Morticia Addams in the 1960s TV series “The Addams Family.”

Cast

Don Murray as Charlie Samson.

E.G. Marshall as Walter

Jack Warden as Eddie Watkins, the Bachelor

Philip Abbott as Arnold Craig

Larry Blyden as Kenneth

Patricia Smith as Helen Samson

Carolyn Jones as The Existentialist

Nancy Marchand as Mrs. Julie Samson

Credits

Running time: 92 Minutes.

Directed by Delbert Mann.

Screenplay by Paddy Chayevsky.

Released April 10, 1957.

 

 

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