Mardi Gras (1958 film)

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Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Edmund Goulding
Produced by Jerry Wald
Written by Hal Kanter
Winston Miller
Based onstory by Curtis Harrington
Starring Pat Boone
Music by Lionel Newman
Jerry Wald Productions
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • November 18, 1958 (1958-11-18)
Running time
107 min.
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.69 million [1]
Box office$2.5 million [2]

Mardi Gras is a 1958 American musical comedy film directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Pat Boone and Christine Carère.



A military school cadet (Boone) wins a date with a French movie goddess (Carère) who happens to be the queen of the "Mardi Gras" parade. The two fall in love, but Carère's movie studio wants to capitalize on this newly found love for publicity.



Jerry Wald announced the film in October 1957. It was called Romantic Comedy and was based on an original story by Curtis Harrington, who worked for Wald. The film was about the adventures of four students from the Virginia Military Institute at Mardi Gras, but Wald was unable to use that title because Universal had it registered and he needed permission from the city of New Orleans. Wald said the stars would be Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter and Tony Randall and he hoped for Mitzi Gaynor to play the movie star. [3]

The following month these permissions had been secured and Wald had also arranged for cooperation from the city of New Orleans and the Virginia Military Institute. Winston Miller had been signed to write a script and had already completed half the job. He was sent to VMI for further research. [4]

Wald arranged for second unit filming done of Virginia Military Institute even before a director had been arranged. He originally wanted Gene Kelly but Kelly was too expensive. He eventually decided on Edmund Goulding, whose career was in decline and was therefore cheap, because Wald had admired his films when he was younger. [5]

The script was finished by November 1957. [6]


In December of 1957, Wald announced Barry Coe from Peyton Place would play a lead. [7]

Pat Boone's casting was announced in February 1958. [8] Shirley Jones, who had co-starred with Boone in April Love, was meant to play the female lead but had to drop out due to pregnancy. [9] Instead the studio cast French actress Christine Carere, who has just made A Certain Smile for Fox. [10]

The film was Sheree North's final film with 20th Century Fox, who had signed North in 1954 in order to mold her as a replacement for Marilyn Monroe. While under contract with Fox, North made six other movies that Fox also released; How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955), The Lieutenant Wore Skirts (1956), The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956), The Way to the Gold (1957), No Down Payment (1957) and In Love and War (1958).

Filming started 15 July 1958. [11]

Shot on location in New Orleans, in CinemaScope and Deluxe color, this was director Goulding's final film.


The film received generally good notices ("makes for sprightly, gay entertainment" – Los Angeles Times [12] ).

It opened at number four at the US box office [13] and the following week went to number one where it stayed for two weeks and Variety ranked it the December box office winner [14] but it failed to continue to do well at the box-office.

North was then released from her studio contract. Fox seemed to have lost interest in her in 1956 when they signed Jayne Mansfield to a six-year contract.

Diabolique later wrote "The film is bright enough, but is hampered by its casting. Boone is fine, but Carrere looks like a stunned mullet for most of the running time. Boone kisses her on the cheek, incidentally, but still no mouth!" [15]


Composer Lionel Newman was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score (Scoring of a Musical Picture) for this film.

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  1. 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. 251
  2. Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989. p. 227
  3. A.H. WEILER (Oct 13, 1957). "NOTED ON THE LOCAL MOTION PICTURE SCENE: Michael Todd's Many Happy Returns --Wald Properties--Gaels in Gaul PASSION AND CRIME: "FELLOW" IN FRANCE: LOCAL "CAREER"". New York Times. p. 127.
  4. THOMAS M.PRYOR (Nov 26, 1957). "WALD WILL MAKE MARDI GRASS FILM: Producer to Get Aid From New Orleans and V.M.I. -Fox Signs 3 Writers Lazar Negotiates 3 Deals Of Local Origin". New York Times. p. 41.
  5. Matthew Kennedy, Edmund Goulding's Dark Victory: Hollywood's Genius Bad Boy, Terrace Books 2004 p. 275 accessed 31 August 2014
  6. Hopper, Hedda (Nov 27, 1957). "Looking at Hollywood: Gets O. K. to Photograph New Orleans Mardi Gras". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. a2.
  7. Hopper, Hedda (Dec 12, 1957). "Looking at Hollywood: Barry Coe Gets Star Role in 'Mardi Gras'". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. c14.
  8. THOMAS M. PRYOR (Feb 11, 1958). "PRODUCER SCORES CHICAGO FILM BAN: Hartman Hits Restriction of O'Neill Movie to Adults – Policeman's Book Bought". New York Times. p. 36.
  9. Hopper, Hedda (Apr 5, 1958). "Karen Steele to Co-Star in Bullfighter's Story". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 12.
  10. Hopper, Hedda (June 15, 1958). "French Doll: Meet Christine Carere, a Tiny Bundle of Sheer Acting Talent 'Mardi Gras' Is Next for Christine Incomplete Source". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. g16.
  11. "FILMLAND EVENTS: MGM Sets Blaustein for 'Four Horsemen'". Los Angeles Times. July 15, 1958. p. 21.
  12. George, Wally (Nov 9, 1958). "Mardi Gras' Teen Delight With Pat, Tommy, Gary". Los Angeles Times. p. E3.
  13. "National Box Office Survey". Variety. November 26, 1958. p. 4. Retrieved March 10, 2019 via
  14. Wear, Mike (December 31, 1958). "Dec. Grosses Down But Not Out; 'Mardi Gras' Romps Home Tops; 'Tunnel of Love' Ranks Fourth". Variety . p. 5. Retrieved May 26, 2019 via
  15. Vagg, Stephen (10 September 2019). "The Surprisingly Interesting Cinema of Pat Boone". Diabolique Magazine.