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Cactus Flower

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Cactus Flower (1969) starring Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, Goldie Hawn, Rick Lenz
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Cactus Flower (1969) starring Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, Goldie Hawn, Rick Lenz

Synopsis of Cactus Flower

Cactus Flower is delightful comedy sparked with crazy, mixed-up situations and a kooky, Academy Award(r)-winning debut performance by Goldie Hawn.  A “white lie” that snowballs and involves more and more people …

Review of Cactus Flower

See what happens when you tell a lie?  Cactus Flower is a very funny comedy that deals with a dentist (Walter Matthau) that doesn’t want to get too serious with his girlfriend (Goldie Hawn).  So the bachelor dentist tells her the lie that he’s married.  She thinks that she’s deeply in love with him, and when he missed their one-year anniversary dinner, she thinks it’s all over.  She attempts suicide, only to be rescued by a handsome neighbor.  Matthau is distraught at the thought of losing her, and proposes.  But she wants to meet his wife first

This snowballs into a very funny movie, with some very interesting people.  As one lie leads into another, Matthau asks his straight-laced nurse (Ingrid Bergman) to impersonate his wife.  And this only makes things worse …

Cast of characters in Cactus Flower

  • Dr. Julian Winston (Walter MatthauThe Sunshine Boys).  A bachelor, who’s determined to stay a bachelor, which is why he lies about being married.  But, he truly cares for Toni.  And he values his nurse – who is better than a wife to him.
  • Toni Simmons (Goldie HawnPrivate Benjamin).  A young lady, working at a record store.  She’s very kind, big-hearted, and feels bad for Julian’s “wife”.  Which leads to her insisting to meet her, which leads to:
  • Stephanie Dickinson (Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca).  A very efficient nurse, who the audience realizes has feelings for Julian long before he does.  An old maid, who was married and divorced very young, living with her sister and brother in law.  And she has a cactus plant on her desk …
  • Igor Sullivan (Rick LenzHec Ramsey).  The handsome neighbor who smells gas, and breaks into Toni’s apartment to save her life.  And then has a protective attitude toward her.  Which turns into something more …
  • Harvey Greenfield (Jack WestonThe Four Seasons).  Julian’s friend, who isn’t quick to pay his debts.  Whom Stephanie vehemently dislikes.  And who has to pretend to be “Mrs. Winston’s” boyfriend, when Julian needs a reason for his “wife” to divorce him.  So, of course, he goes on a public “date” with Stephanie …
  • Señor Arturo Sanchez (Vito ScottiThe Godfather).  A minor role as the ambassador, who is chasing Stephanie.  A very funny minor role, though.

Editorial review of Cactus Flower courtesy of

Walter Matthau and Goldie Hawn in Cactus Flower

Cactus Flower is a delightful comedy sparked by crazy, mixed-up situations and the kooky, Academy Award®-winning film debut of Goldie Hawn (Best Actress in a Supporting Role, 1969). Walter Matthau (The Odd Couple, 1968) also stars as Julian Winston, an easygoing bachelor dentist whose delicately balanced scheme to get married crumbles under some unexpected circumstances. Newly remastered.Winston is stringing along his dizzy blonde mistress, Toni (Hawn), by telling her that he has a wife and children. But when he learns that she has tried to commit suicide over him, he promises to marry her. Toni, refusing to be a home wrecker, insists on first meeting Winston’s wife, so he convinces Stephanie (Ingrid Bergman) – his starched and no-nonsense nurse – to pose as his wife. Winston’s scheme leads to unforeseen twists and surprises for everyone.

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