Parrish (film)

For other uses, see Parrish (disambiguation).

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Delmer Daves
Produced by Delmer Daves
Written by Delmer Daves
Based on Parrish
by Mildred Savage
Starring Troy Donahue
Claudette Colbert
Karl Malden
Dean Jagger
Connie Stevens
Diane McBain
Sharon Hugueny
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Harry Stradling Sr.
Edited by Owen Marks
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • May 4, 1961 (1961-05-04)
Running time
138 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1.5 million[1]
Box office $4.2 million (US/ Canada rentals) [2]

Parrish is a 1961 American drama film made by Warner Bros.. It was written, produced and directed by Delmer Daves, based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Mildred Savage. The music score was by Max Steiner, the cinematography by Harry Stradling Sr., the art direction by Leo K. Kuter and the costume design by Howard Shoup.

The film stars Troy Donahue, Claudette Colbert, Karl Malden and Dean Jagger, with Connie Stevens, Diane McBain, Sharon Hugueny, Sylvia Miles, Madeleine Sherwood and Hayden Rorke. The film marked Claudette Colbert's last role on the big screen.


The movie shows the story of conflict between a young, independently minded man and his stepfather, a ruthless tobacco tycoon.

Young Parrish McLean and his mother live on Sala Post's tobacco plantation in the state of Connecticut. His mother marries Post's ambitious rival Judd Raike, who then sets about ruining Post.

They were growing Connecticut Shade Tobacco, extensively visible in some scenes.


Original novel

Warners bought the film rights, even before publication. for a figure reported to be between $160,000 and $200,000.[3] When the novel was published in 1958 the New York Times called it an "impressive debut".[4]


The original director was Joshua Logan with John Patrick to write the script. Clark Gable was mentioned as a possible male lead.[5] A nationwide talent search was launched to find the younger male lead[6] although Anthony Perkins was also a front runner. Natalie Wood was announced as young female lead.[7]

Delmer Daves then became involved as director, which saw Troy Donahue come on board as the lead.[8]

Parts of the movie were shot in East Windsor and Poquonock (Windsor), Connecticut. Mildred Savage, on whose novel the film was based, was a frequent visitor to the set. She was quoted during filming as saying:

My central theme — and fortunately Mr. Daves agrees about this — is that young people today are neither "beat" or "lost". I wanted to show an affirmative hero who may be confused because of his youth and sex troubles, but who is still masculine, unaffected and optimistic — able to get ahead on his own two feet. The idea of setting this story in the tobacco industry came last. It seemed sensible to put a vigorous, healthy young man to work in the soil.[1]

Delmer Daves differentiated the film from his earlier A Summer Place:

There I tried to dramatize the terrible end of communication between parents and children. Here, in this day of mass identification, I show the need for a young man to establish his individual liberty against the world's increasing push towards conformity.[1]

It was Claudette Colbert's first film in nine years. "I didn't really intend to make another picture," she admitted at the time. "I took this one because I felt it had a point of view. The mother wants to break the silver cord and lead a normal sex life of her own."[1]

"Working with these kids is a little tough sometimes," said Karl Malden of the film's youthful cast. "Still, they're eager and they're learning. And we can always do retakes if something goes wrong."[1]


Max Steiner composed the film score. On this film he made use of his belief that "every character should have a theme." The Warner Bros. Records soundtrack (WS-1413) recording used five of the film's main themes in both a short version and a concerto versions. In addition to the "Tobacco Theme," (for tobacco heir Parrish McLean), "Paige's Theme," "Allison's Theme," "Lucy's Theme," and "Ellen's Theme;" the soundtrack included Steiner's song "Someday I'll Meet You Again." Max Steiner conducted the Warner Bros. Orchestra, and the featured artist was George Greeley as guest pianist. George Greeley was also featured on several singles issued by Warner Brothers.


The film was a success at the box office but received little critical acclaim.

A 1965 New York Times article called it "pure camp".[9]

In 1967, Donahue described the film as the most satisfying of his movies to date. "I had the best script and the best opportunity as an actor," he said. "Not too many of those came my way."[10]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 FOCUS ON A CONNECTICUT 'PARRISH' By EUGENE ARCHER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 05 June 1960: X5.
  2. "All-Time Top Grossers", Variety, 8 January 1964 p 69
  3. WARNERS TO FILM NEWCOMER'S BOOK: Studio Acquires 'Parrish' by Mildred Savage -- Hearing May 20 for Musicians By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 07 May 1958: 42.
  4. Tobacco Culture: PARRISH. By Mildred Savage. 470 pp. New York: Simon & Schuster. $4.95. Tobacco Culture By EDMUND FULLER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 26 Oct 1958: BR4.
  5. Looking at Hollywood: Josh Logan Gets Rights to Pasternak Novel Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 03 Nov 1958: b16.
  6. FILMLAND EVENTS: Alan Scott Scripts New 'Stage Door' Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 19 Dec 1958: B8.
  7. PARAMOUNT PLANS TO PRODUCE FOR TV: To Provide Funds and Studio for Filmed Series as First Step -- Extras in Dispute By THOMAS M. PRYORSpecial to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 02 Mar 1959: 32.
  8. GOLDEN BOY TROY: Tall, Talented, and Terrific, He Has Attained the Fame Hedda Predicted for Him Last January Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 29 May 1960: b16.
  9. Meehan, Thomas. "Not Good Taste, Not Bad Taste — It's 'Camp': Not Good Taste, Not Bad Taste — It's 'Camp'" The New York Times (March 21, 1965)
  10. Clifford, Terry "Troy Donahue Newest Film 'Kid You'" Chicago Tribune (January 8, 1967)
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