Once More, with Feeling!

This article is about the 1960 film. For other topics of the same name, see Once More with Feeling (disambiguation).
Once More, with Feeling!

Original film poster
Directed by Stanley Donen
Produced by Stanley Donen
Written by Harry Kurnitz
Starring Yul Brynner
Kay Kendall
Gregory Ratoff
Music by Franz Liszt
Ludwig van Beethoven
Richard Wagner
arranged by
Muir Mathieson
Cinematography Georges Périnal
Edited by Jack Harris
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
11 February 1960 (U.S.)
Running time
92 min
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $1,500,000 (US/ Canada)[1]

Once More, with Feeling! is a 1960 British comedy film starring Yul Brenner and Kay Kendall and directed and produced by Stanley Donen from a screenplay by Harry Kurnitz, based on his play.[2]

The film was released by Columbia Pictures and has music by Franz Liszt, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Richard Wagner, arranged by Muir Mathieson. The cinematography was by Georges Périnal and the costume design by Givenchy.


Egomaniacal and temperamental Victor Fabian is the London Festival Orchestra's conductor. His wife Dolly is a harpist who acts on her husband's behalf, presenting his impossible demands to the symphony's backers, only to then find him dallying with a considerably younger musician. Dolly decides to leave him, whereupon he destroys her harp.

Victor's conducting suffers in Dolly's absence and the orchestra needs her back. His agent, Max Archer, tries to get him a new contract, but young Wilbur, son of the orchestra's patron saint, insists to Victor's horror that any agreement must include a performance of his mother's favorite piece of music, John Philip Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever.

Rather than return, Dolly wants a divorce so she can marry Dr. Richard Hilliard, a physicist. An angry Victor blurts out that to be divorced, two people must first be married. It turns out colleagues only assumed Victor and Dolly were husband and wife, and they never actually tied the knot.

Victor won't grant a quick marriage and equally quick divorce unless she agrees to live with him for three more weeks. He wears down her resolve, and Hilliard catches her in a frilly nightgown. A frustrated Dolly tells both she just wants to live alone. She applauds from the audience as Victor, with great reluctance, launches the orchestra into a rousing Stars and Stripes Forever.


The play Once More, With Feeling which was adapted for this film, opened on Broadway on 21 October 1958 at the National Theatre, in a production directed by George Axelrod and designed by George Jenkins, and starring Joseph Cotten, Arlene Francis, and Walter Matthau, who was nominated for a Tony Award as Best featured actor. The play ran for 263 performances.

The film was Kay Kendall's last. She died of leukemia on 6 September 1959, prior to the film's release.



  1. "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
  2. Crowther, Bosley (12 February 1960). "Once More With Feeling (1960) Kay Kendall and Yul Brynner in Comedy". The New York Times.
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