Facts of Life, The (1960): Melvin Frank’s Oscar Winning Romantic Comedy, Starring Bob Hope and Lucille Ball (New Year’s Eve)

In this middling romantic comedy, directed and co-written by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, Bob Hope and Lucille Ball play a married couple, but not to each other. Things change, when the duo decide to have an affair.

Grade: C+ (** out of *****)


The Facts of Life


Narrative Structure:

As the annual vacation of six neighbors, the Gilberts, Masons and Weavers, approaches, Kitty Weaver and Larry Gilbert get themselves frustrated with the routine.

When their spouses are kept away from the vacation, Kitty and Larry find themselves alone in Acapulco with the Masons bedridden with illness.

Forced together, Kitty and Larry fall in love. However, when the vacation is over, they face difficulties deciding whether to continue the romance.

Despite their individual popularity, the comedians are stuck is a film that is too verbose, charmless, and lacks chemistry between the two leads, as one might have expected.

Inexplicably, the movie was nominated for five Oscars, winning one.

Oscar Alert

Oscar Nominations: 5

Story and Screenplay (Original): Norman Panama and Melvyn Frank

Cinematography (b/w):  Charles B. Lang

Art-Direction-Set Decoration (b/w): Joseph McMillan Johnson and Kenneth A. Reid; Ross Dowd

Costume Design (b/w): Edith Head and Edward Stevenson

Song: “The Facts of Life,” music and lyrics by Johnny Mercer


Oscar Awards: 1

Costume Design

Oscar Context

In 1960, the Best Story Oscar went to Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond for “The Apartment”; the Cinematography Oscar to Freddie Francis for ”Sons and Lovers”; the Art Direction to “The Apartment”; and the Best Song Award to Manos Hadjidakis for “Never on Sunday.”

Bob Hope as Larry Gilbert
Lucille Ball as Kitty Weaver
Ruth Hussey as Mary Gilbert
Don DeFore as Jack Weaver
Louis Nye as Charles Busbee
Philip Ober as Doc Mason
Marianne Stewart as Connie Mason
Hollis Irving as Myrtle Busbee


UA (Panama and Frank Production)

Directed by Melvin Frank
Screenplay by Norman Panama; Story by Melvin Frank
Produced by Frank, Panama
Cinematography Charles Lang
Edited by Frank Bracht
Music by Leigh Harline, Johnny Mercer

Distributed by United Artists

Release date: November 14, 1960

Running time: 103 minutes