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Mary Had a Little...

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mary Had a Little…
Directed byEdward Buzzell
Written byRobert E. Kent
Jameson Brewer
Peter Miller
James Kelly
Produced byGeorge Fowler
Edward Small (executive)
StarringAgnes Laurent
Hazel Court
Jack Watling
CinematographyDesmond Dickinson
Edited byBernard Gribble
Music byBruce Campbell
Caralan Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Lopert Pictures (US)
Release dates
  • September 1961 (1961-09) (UK)
  • 25 July 1961 (1961-07-25) (NYC)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Mary Had a Little... is a 1961 British comedy film directed by Edward Buzzell and starring Agnès Laurent, Hazel Court and Jack Watling.[2] It takes its title from the nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb and is about a slick impresario who tries unsuccessfully to win a bet with a psychiatrist over the production of a perfect baby via hypnotism.

It has been described by film historian David McGillivray as "the first full-fledged British sex comedy."[3]

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The film was the first of a three-picture deal between director Edward Buzzell and producer Edward Small; the other two films were never shot.[4] The screenplay was based on the play of the same name by Arthur Herzog Jr., Muriel Herman and Al Rosen, which had its West End opening at the Strand Theatre on 27 November 1951 in a production directed by Ralph Lynn.[5]

Production took place in October 1960 at Walton Studios near London under the supervision of David Rose.[6] The theme tune, "Mary Had a Little...", was written by Buzzell and sung by Dick James. The completed film turned out to be Buzzell's final directorial assignment and also the penultimate credit for Agnès Laurent.


Having opened in Los Angeles on 25 July 1961, the film went into general release in the UK on 3 August.[7]

Critical reception

The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote: "Whatever the merits of the original play, the film remains, in its strenuously saucy way, on an abysmally unsubtle level."[8]

Variety called it a "lower case farce", adding, "Pregnant idea, miscarries."[9]


  1. ^ "'Mary' Slated to Arrive". Los Angeles Times. 30 June 1961. p. B8.
  2. ^ "Mary Had a Little..." British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 14 January 2024.
  3. ^ David McGillivray, Doing Rude Things: The History of the British Sex Film 1957–1981, Sun Tavern Fields 1992
  4. ^ "FILMLAND EVENTS: 'Four Dolls' Added to Laurentiis Slate". Los Angeles Times. 30 August 1960. p. A8.
  5. ^ Frances Stephens, Theatre World Annual (London) number 3, Rockliff Publishing Corporation 1952
  6. ^ Bill Edwards, 'Production', Kinematograph Weekly vol 521 no 2767, 13 October 1960
  7. ^ F. Maurice Speed, Film Review 1962–63, Macdonald & Co 1962
  8. ^ "Mary Had a Little..." The Monthly Film Bulletin. 28 (324): 115. 1 January 1961 – via ProQuest.
  9. ^ review by 'Tube', Variety 12 July 1961

External links

This page was last edited on 14 January 2024, at 02:06
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