|Directed by||Henry Koster|
|Produced by||Fred Kohlmar|
|Written by||Hal Kanter|
Nunnally Johnson (uncredited)
|Based on||Erasmus With Freckles (1963 novel)|
by John Haase
|Narrated by||Ed Wynn|
|Music by||George Duning|
|Edited by||Marjorie Fowler|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||US$2.2 million|
Robert Leaf (James Stewart) is an American college professor whose precocious son Erasmus (Bill Mumy) is a mathematical prodigy. After using his skills for gambling at the racetrack, it is discovered that Erasmus is infatuated with model and actress Brigitte Bardot. He writes love letters to her, and she invites him to visit her in France. Prof. Leaf accompanies him on the journey. Prof. Leaf later uses his son's talent to raise funds for liberal arts scholarships. He is assisted by Peregrine Upjohn (John Williams), who is secretly a con artist who plans to abscond with the funds.
- James Stewart as Prof. Robert Leaf
- Fabian as Kenneth
- Glynis Johns as Vina Leaf
- Cindy Carol as Pandora "Penny" Leaf
- Bill Mumy as Erasmus Leaf
- Ed Wynn as The Captain (also the narrator, who frequently breaks the fourth wall).
- Brigitte Bardot as herself
- John Williams as Peregrine Upjohn
- Jack Kruschen as Dr. Volker
- Charles Robinson as George
- Howard Freeman as Dean Sawyer
- Jane Wald as Terry, George's Wife
- Alice Pearce as Unemployment-Office Clerk
- Jesse White as Cliff Argyle the Bookie
- Gene O'Donnell as Police Lt. Rink
- Orville Sherman as Von Schlogg
- Maida Severn as Miss Eva, Ras' Teacher
The novel was published in 1963. There was some talk that Disney would option the film rights and cast Bing Crosby in the lead role. However rights were bought by 20th Century Fox who assigned the project to Nunnally Johnson, Henry Koster and James Stewart, the team that made Mr Hobbs Takes a Vacation and Take Her, She's Mine.
Johnson later said he "hadn't wanted to do" the film. "I didn't think there was enough material in it, but I really allowed myself to be persuaded to do it. Jimmie would sign if I would write it, and Koster would get a job if Jimmie would sign. It all got around that, one depending on another. There was no material in there that justified a picture."
Although Nunnally Johnson wrote early drafts of the film, Hal Kanter was brought in to work on it and he gets sole screen credit. Kanter says it was Henry Koster's idea to introduce a captain, played by Ed Wynn, to act as a Greek chorus.
Johnson said Koster got this idea from the film Tom Jones. Johnson did not like the device because he felt it did not suit the picture and told Koster to get another writer to do it. He told Koster "You'd better get a good gag man who does those one-line things. I don't do that, and I couldn't do it." Koster hired Kanter and Johnson asked to take his name off the film. Johnson says when he saw Stewart "he told me he didn't know I'd taken my name off of it. He was unhappy about the picture too, but there was nothing to do by then."
It was one of the first movies made at the recently re-opened 20th Century Fox studios.
Billy Mumy was cast on the recommendation of James Stewart's wife, Gloria Stewart, who taught a Sunday School class that Mumy attended.
Johnson later said, "Henry was an old-fashioned fellow, and If it hadn't have been for the fact that Jimmie Stewart was the leading man in the pictures, he would have expired much earlier than he did. I'm afraid he's through now, you know. But I've seen him, and there's nothing sadder than these old directors who disappear and don't get jobs. In the old days, a fellow wrote a script, they hired a director. Now, quite often, unless they can get somebody like Willie Wyler or Billy Wilder or somebody like that, the writer directs it. This all goes to prove, to me anyway, that the old-time directors, were a real collection of frauds."
The film was the sixth straight acting role for Fabian since he quit singing. He had previously appeared in Mr Hobbs Takes a Vacation. He had never been to the races before being cast so researched his role by going to the races and developing a betting system.
There was some doubt Bardot would appear in the film but she relented and her scenes were shot in three days in Paris.
According to Fox records, the film needed to earn $4,500,000 in rentals to break even and made $2,920,000, meaning it made a loss.
- Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989
- Anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Top Grossers of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p. 36 and Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p. 230. Please note figures are rentals accruing to distributors and not total gross.
- Deming, Mark. "DEAR BRIGITTE (1965)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- CHARLES POORE (30 May 1963). "Books of The Times: Man Flees Toward Troubles He Creates". New York Times. p. 10.
- Dorothy Kilgallen: (15 July 1963). "Bobby Darin Casting New Shadow". The Washington Post, Times Herald. p. A22.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- Finnigan, Joseph (28 July 1963). "Bing Anxious to Return to Pictures". Chicago Tribune. p. e11.
- Hopper, Hedda (26 Oct 1963). "Looking at Hollywood: Genius, 8, Complicates Stewart's Next Film". Chicago Tribune. p. 9.
- Johnson p 135
- Scheuer, Philip K (15 Sep 1964). "'I Typed for Bardot on Towel'--Kanter: Gag Writer Reveals Secret; They Change Haase's Titles". Los Angeles Times. p. C9.
- Johnson p 135
- Johnson p 135
- MURRAY SCHUMACH Special to The New York Times (1 May 1964). "FOX STUDIOS BUZZ WITH FILMMAKING: Richard Zanuck Forecasts Busiest May In 10 Years". New York Times. p. 43.
- Hopper, Hedda (25 Aug 1964). "10-Year-Old Wiser Than the Playboys: Red-Haired Child Actor Socks Film Salary Into Properties". Los Angeles Times. p. D8.
- Johnson p 173
- "Goes Straight". Los Angeles Times. 17 Nov 1964. p. C9.
- Vagg, Stephen (26 August 2019). "The Cinema of Fabian". Diabolique.
- Scott, John L (13 Dec 1964). "HOLLYWOOD CALENDAR: Film That Loves 'Em and Leaves 'Em". Los Angeles Times. p. O9.
- Hopper, Hedda (1 June 1964). "Entertainment: Busy Ethel Merman Signed for Picture Won't Interfere With Her Honeymoon, Actress Says". Los Angeles Times. p. C20.
- Silverman, Stephen M (1988). The Fox that got away : the last days of the Zanuck dynasty at Twentieth Century-Fox. L. Stuart. p. 324.
- Johnson, Nunnally (1969). Recollections of Nunnally Johnson oral history transcript. University of California Oral History Program.