Free for All (film)

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Free for All
Free for All (film).jpg
Directed by Charles Barton
Screenplay by Robert Buckner
Story by Herbert Clyde Lewis
Produced byRobert Buckner
Starring Robert Cummings
Ann Blyth
Percy Kilbride
Cinematography George Robinson
Edited by Ralph Dawson
Music by Frank Skinner
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dates
  • November 1949 (1949-11)(New York City)
  • November 25, 1949 (1949-11-25)(United States)
  • November 29, 1949 (1949-11-29)(Los Angeles)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States

Free for All is a 1949 American comedy film directed by Charles Barton and starring Robert Cummings, Ann Blyth and Percy Kilbride. [1] [2]



A young man invents a pill that can turn water into gasoline. While staying in Washington DC to register his patent, he falls in love with his host's daughter. However, she works for a major oil company and after she lets slip to her employers about the magical new formula, they desperately try to get their hands on it.



The film was based on a story by Herbert Clyde Lewis called Patent Applied For. In August 1947 Universal announced they had purchased the story and it would be the first film made by producer-writer Robert Buckner under Buckner's new contract with the studio. [3]

In May 1949 the studio announced the film would be called Hot Water and would star Ann Blyth, who had recently been put on suspension by the studio; her casting meant the suspension was lifted. The project meant Buckner's proposed film Paradise Lost, 1949 was pushed back on Universal's schedule. [4]

In May 1949 Robert Cummings was cast in the male lead and Charles Barton was appointed director. [5] [6] In June the title was changed to Free for All. [7]

Filming started in Washington in June 1949. [8] The Daughters of the American Revolution opposed filming comedy scenes at Mount Vernon. A compromise was reached where the scenes were shot at the grounds but not inside the shrine. There were twenty days filming at the studio. [9]

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  1. Goble p.770
  2. Free For All, Monthly Film Bulletin; London vol. 17, issue 193, (1 January 1950): 29.
  3. "Drama and Film". Los Angeles Times . 14 August 1947. p. A3.
  4. "Buckner to Film 'Hot Water' at U-I: Producer Will Star Ann Blyth in Herbert Lewis Comedy". The New York Times . 14 May 1949. p. 9.
  5. "Leo Genn to Play Role in 'Quo Vadis'". The New York Times. 16 May 1949. p. 17.
  6. "Sherman is Named to Direct 'Victim'". The New York Times. 26 May 1949. p. 35.
  7. "Proser, Nassers to Film Musical". The New York Times. 4 June 1949. p. 8.
  8. Hopper, Hedda (7 June 1949). "Ed and Keenan Wynn Will Be in 'Alice' Cast". Los Angeles Times. p. A6.
  9. Daugherty, Frank (22 July 1949). "'Free for All' Difficulties". The Christian Science Monitor . p. 5.