Mary Had a Little...

Mary Had a Little…
Directed by Edward Buzzell
Produced by George Fowler
Edward Small (executive)
Written by Robert E. Kent
Jameson Brewer
Peter Miller
James Kelly
Starring Agnes Laurent
Distributed by Lopert Pictures
United Artists
Release dates
July 1961 (US)[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English

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.[3]

It has been described by film historian David McGillivray as "the first full-fledged British sex comedy."[4]

Production and release

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.[5] 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 the famous farceur Ralph Lynn.[6]

Production took place in October 1960 at Walton Studios near London under the supervision of David Rose.[7] 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 its star Agnès Laurent.

Having opened in Los Angeles on 25 July 1961, the film went into general release in the UK on 3 August.[8] Variety called it a "lower case farce," adding, "Pregnant idea, miscarries."[9] "Whatever the merits of the original play," noted Britain's Monthly Film Bulletin, "the film remains, in its strenuously saucy way, on an abysmally unsubtle level."[10]



  1. 'Mary' Slated to Arrive Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 30 June 1961: B8.
  2. bfi
  3. Situation Comedy Helped by Fast Pace Mulcahy, Frank. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 18 July 1961: C6.
  4. David McGillivray, Doing Rude Things: The History of the British Sex Film 1957-1981, Sun Tavern Fields 1992
  5. FILMLAND EVENTS: 'Four Dolls' Added to Laurentiis Slate Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 30 Aug 1960: A8.
  6. Frances Stephens, Theatre World Annual (London) number 3, Rockliff Publishing Corporation 1952
  7. Bill Edwards, 'Production', Kinematograph Weekly vol 521 no 2767, 13 October 1960
  8. F. Maurice Speed, Film Review 1962-63, Macdonald & Co 1962
  9. review by 'Tube', Variety 12 July 1961
  10. 'Entertainment Films: Shorter Notices', Monthly Film Bulletin August 1961
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