Dear Brigitte (1965) starring Jimmy Stewart, Glynis Johns, Billy Mumy, Fabian, Ed Wynn, Jesse White
Dear Brigitte is a funny family comedy, dealing with the Leaf family, headed by Dr. Robert Leaf (Jimmy Stewart). He’s the proverbial absent-minded professor, a poet who loves art and music, and dislikes the hard sciences. When his young son Erasmus (Billy Mumy) turns out to be a mathematical prodigy, it causes him no end of consternation. Vina Leaf (Glynis Johns) plays the loving mother. Cindy Carol plays the older sister (who uses her brother’s math skills to do her homework. And later the homework of her boyfriend, Fabian, which leads to people wanting to use him to win at the race track.
All Erasmus wants, however, is to meet Brigitte Bardot, who he has a crush on. Ed Wynn has a very nice role as the Captain, a family friend and neighbor. Who makes running commentary to the audience (breaking the fourth wall) throughout the film, with some very funny commentary. Dear Brigitte is a fun film — although Brigitte Bardot barely shows up.
Editorial review of Dear Brigitte courtesy of Amazon.com
This family comedy stars James Stewart as Dr. Robert Leaf, a college professor who dislikes science and tries to instill in his children a love of art and music. So Robert and his wife Vina (Glynis Johns) are dismayed to discover that their eight-year-old son Erasmus (Billy Mumy) is tone-deaf and color-blind; what’s worse, he has a genius-level talent for mathematics. Robert isn’t sure what to do about Erasmus, but while his older sister Pandora (Cindy Carol) puts his skills to work by getting him to do her homework, his older friend Kenneth (Fabian) has a better idea. Kenneth and Erasmus come up with a foolproof plan for picking the winners in horse racing — so foolproof that it draws the attention of two con men, Upjohn (John Williams) and Argyle (Jesse White), who want to use Erasmus’s skills to clean up at the track.
Robert at first refuses, and then relents only when they agree to use a cut of the proceeds to endow a humanities scholarship, though Robert is about the only one surprised when the men prove not to be good to their word. Meanwhile, Erasmus is head over heels in love with French screen siren Brigitte Bardot — so much so that he’s been writing her love letters. In return, the lucky boy has received an invitation to come meet her, and Robert and Erasmus use some of their racetrack winnings to fly to Paris and take her up on her offer. Nunnally Johnson, who received no credit, contributed to the screenplay; Miss Bardot, of course, play — ¦Dear Brigitte ( Dear Brigitte — ¦ )
- James Stewart (The Greatest Show on Earth) … Professor Robert Leaf. The absent minded professor, who dislikes the hard sciences. But, he’s a loving family man and father, as well.
- Fabian (Five Weeks in a Balloon) … Kenneth ‘Kenny’ Taylor. Erasmus’ friend, and wants to be Panny’s boyfriend.
- Glynis Johns (Mary Poppins, The Court Jester) … Vina Leaf. The loving wife, and mother. She serves as a more centered counterpoint to her husband.
- Cindy Carol (Cape Fear) … Pandora ‘Panny’ Leaf. Erasmus’ sister. She’s going through the typical teenage angst, as well as living with a mathematical genius.
- Bill Mumy (Lost in Space, The Twilight Zone, Babylon 5) … Erasmus ‘Ras’ Leaf. The mathematical genius — who makes his father slightly crazy. Although his skills are used to predict horse races, his motivation is … To meet Brigitte Bardot!
- John Williams(Dial M for Murder, Visit to a Small Planet) … Peregrine Upjohn. The “classy” gentleman …. Who turns out to be a gentleman crook.
- Ed Wynn (Cinderfella [Jerry Lewis], Alice in Wonderland) … The Captain. The comic narrator, as well as the Leaf’s neighbor. One of the highlights of the movie
- Jack Kruschen (The Apartment) … Doctor Volker
- Charles Robinson … George. The “modern” artist living next door.
- Howard Freeman (The Time of Your Life) … Dean Sawyer
- Jane Wald … Terry – George’s wife and model
- Alice Pearce (Bewitched) … Unemployment Office Clerk
- Jesse White (Harvey) … Cliff Argyle – the Bookie
- Gene O’Donnell (The Ape) … Police Lt. Rink
- Orville Sherman (Westworld) … Von Schlogg
- Maida Severn … Miss Eva – Ras’ Teacher
- Pitt Herbert … Bank Manager
- Adair Jameson … Mrs. Wo – Dress Shop Sales Lady
- Marcel De la Brosse … Paris Taxi Driver
Trivia for Dear Brigitte
- This movie was going to be called ERASMUS WITH FRECKLES, after the book on which it was based. But Brigitte Bardot only agreed to appear on the condition that her name did not appear in the credits or any of the promotional materials. The only way the producers could capitalize on Americans’ fascination with Bardot was by changing the title.
- Glynis Johns character, Vina Leaf, firmly and politely defends England’s bankers when the Bank Manager attempts to contrast the way English and American banks regard children. Glynis Johns previous theatrical role was the mother of two small children and wife of an English banker in Mary Poppins .