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The Yellow Rolls-Royce

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Title: The Yellow Rolls-Royce  
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Subject: Terence Rattigan, Anthony Asquith, 23rd Golden Globe Awards, Riz Ortolani, Anatole de Grunwald
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The Yellow Rolls-Royce

The Yellow Rolls-Royce
Directed by Anthony Asquith
Produced by Anatole de Grunwald
Written by Terence Rattigan
Starring Rex Harrison
Jeanne Moreau
Music by Riz Ortolani
Cinematography Jack Hildyard
Edited by Frank Clarke
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • 13 May 1965 (1965-05-13) (USA)
Running time
122 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $5.4 million (USA)[3]
949,156 admissions (France)[4]

The Yellow Rolls-Royce is a 1964 dramatic composite film written by Terence Rattigan, produced by Anatole de Grunwald and directed by Anthony Asquith, the trio responsible for The V.I.P.s (1963).

Apparently adapting an idea from In Those Days, a 1947 German drama by Helmut Käutner that had its US premiere in March 1951,[1] The Yellow Rolls-Royce uses a yellow 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II[5] to frame the story of three very different owners: an English aristocrat, a Miami gangster and a wealthy American widow. It is set in the years up to and including the start of World War II.

Prompted by the production team's success with Art Carney, Alain Delon and Jeanne Moreau.

The soundtrack song "Best Original Song at the 23rd Golden Globe Awards.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
  • Reception 4
    • Critical 4.1
    • Box Office 4.2
  • References 5
  • External links 6


On a flatbed lorry driven in the streets of London, a motor car is under a grey cover with the initials RR. The Edmund Purdom), in the back of the Rolls with the shades drawn. For appearance's sake, Lord Frinton will not divorce his wife, but he returns the car.

20,023 miles later, fiancée Mae Jenkins (Shirley MacLaine) and his right-hand man Joey Friedlander (Art Carney). When Maltese returns to Miami to take care of some unsavory business, he leaves Friedlander to chaperone Jenkins. Friedlander turns a blind eye when she falls in love with Stefano (Alain Delon), a handsome young street photographer she had met while still with Maltese. Upon finding Jenkins and Stefano in the back of the Rolls with the shades drawn, Friedlander walks away. But he later shows Jenkins an eight-day-old American newspaper headline, Bugs O’ Leary Slain—Police Claim Gang Warfare, that was Maltese's business in the United States. Although in love with Stefano, Jenkins reluctantly leaves him, telling him that it was just a fling, to protect both of them from possible reprisal from her lethal boyfriend Maltese.

Trieste on the Yugoslav border – the year, 1941 — The Rolls is in a repair shop. The car exterior is filthy with OCCASIONE (Second-Hand) painted on the windscreen. It is bought by Gerda Millett (Ingrid Bergman), a bossy, wealthy American widow touring Europe. Just before the Invasion of Yugoslavia by the Nazi Germans, she encounters patriot Davich (Omar Sharif) who commandeers her automobile to sneak into Yugoslavia, hiding in the boot before the border crossing. Along the way, these two very different people fall in love. At their Ljubljana hotel, they survive a German aerial attack, then she insists on driving him to a partisan camp in the mountains and makes several trips to pick up more villagers and deliver them to the camp. She wants to stay and help repel the invaders, but Davich will not permit it, saying it is not her fight. He tells her to go back to America and tell people what she has witnessed. The car is seen being unloaded from a cargo ship in New York. During the end credits, it is seen driving along an expressway, passing beneath a road sign reading I-95, George Washington Bridge, Bronx – Next Right.



In early April 1964, Robert H. O'Brien, President of Omar Sharif were already cast in the key roles.[6]

Shooting took place in MGM's British Studios in London and on location in Italy.[6]


The film's reviews were "tepid," but it performed "respectably" at the box office.[2]


According to The Sunday Telegraph, "anyone willing to be taken for a smooth ride could hardly find a more sumptuous vehicle, star-studded, gold-plated, shock-proof and probably critic-proof, too."[2] Time magazine called it an "elegant, old-fashioned movie about roadside sex" that "looks worn at times," but is "always appropriately overprivileged in high-powered personalities and spectacular sets."[5] The New York Times called it a "pretty slick vehicle, that is pleasing to the eye and occasionally amusing, but it hardly seems worthy of all the effort and the noted personalities involved."[1]

Box Office

The film grossed $5.4 million at the US box office, among the top ten films in box office receipts for 1965, a year in which Mary Poppins topped the list with $28.5 million.[3]

The movie was not particularly successful at the French box office, failing to reach more than one million admissions.[4]

The film's producers also benefited financially from television's willingness to pay studios more for more timely broadcasting rights to new films: The Yellow Rolls-Royce received its television premiere on CBS[7] in fall 1967.[8]


  1. ^ a b c at Music Hall: Three Stories Linked by Car's OwnershipThe Yellow Rolls-Royce, a 14 May 1965 review by A.H. Weiler from The New York Times
  2. ^ a b c d Article: The Yellow Rolls-Royce from Turner Classic Movies
  3. ^ a b The Box Office: The Gross Is Greener, a 14 January 1966 article from Time
  4. ^ a b Box office information for film at Box Office story
  5. ^ a b Cinema: Back-Seat Romance, a 21 May 1965 review from Time
  6. ^ a b c d
  7. ^ Television, an 6 October 1967 article from Time
  8. ^ Television: Every Living Room a Nabe, a 23 June 1967 article from Time

External links

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