The Country Girl
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGeorge Seaton
Screenplay byGeorge Seaton
Based onThe Country Girl
by Clifford Odets
Produced byWilliam Perlberg
CinematographyJohn F. Warren
Edited byEllsworth Hoagland
Music byVictor Young
Perlberg-Seaton Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • December 11, 1954 (1954-12-11) (Los Angeles)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$6.5 million (est. U.S./Canada rentals)[1]

The Country Girl is a 1954 American drama film written and directed by George Seaton and starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and William Holden. Adapted by Seaton from Clifford Odets' 1950 play of the same name, the film is about an alcoholic has-been actor/singer struggling with the one last chance he has been given to resurrect his career. Seaton won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay. It was entered in the 1955 Cannes Film Festival.[2]

Kelly won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role, which previously had earned Uta Hagen her first Tony Award in the play's original Broadway production. The role, a non-glamorous departure for Kelly, was as the alcoholic actor's long-suffering wife.


In a theatre, auditions are being held for a new musical production titled The Land Around Us. Director Bernie Dodd watches a number performed by fading star Frank Elgin and suggests that he be cast in the leading role. This is met with strong opposition from Philip Cook, the show's producer.

However, Bernie insists on the down-on-his-luck Frank, who is living in a modest apartment with his wife Georgie. They are grateful for the opportunity, though not entirely certain Frank can handle the work.

Drive-in advertisement from 1955

Mealy-mouthed to the director's face, Frank is actually a demanding alcoholic who is completely dependent on his wife. Initially Frank leads Bernie to believe that Georgie is the reason for the decline in his career, resulting in Bernie mistakenly blaming her for everything that happens during rehearsals, including Frank's requests for a dresser and a run-of-the-show contract, first behind her back and eventually to her face. What he does not know is that the real reason why Frank's career has ended is his insecurity. When their five-year-old son Johnny was hit by a car and died while in Frank's care, he was devastated. Bernie also believed Georgie to be suicidal and a drunk, when it is actually Frank who is both; partly using his son's death an excuse to cover up his insecurity, Frank has been reduced to a suicidal alcoholic.

Humiliated when he learns the truth, Bernie realizes that behind his hatred of Georgie was a strong attraction to her. His anger melts away and he kisses her. She tells him that it does not mean that anything has changed.

Frank's performance is a success on opening night. Afterward, he demands respect from Cook, which he and his wife had not been given before the opening. Previously Georgie had said that if only Frank could stand on his own two feet, she could get away from him. At a party to celebrate the play's opening, Bernie believes Georgie will be free to leave Frank, and tells her that he loves her. Later Frank tells them he has noticed their longing looks, and all three talk. Shortly after, Frank leaves the party. Georgie says goodbye to Bernie, and he tells her he appreciates a woman who is loyal. She kisses him lightly and goes to catch up with Frank.



Filmed between February and April 1954, the film had its benefit world premiere at Criterion Theatre, New York on December 15, 1954. The Gala West Coast Premiere took place at the Stanley Warner Theatre, Wilshire Blvd. at Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, on December 21. This was a benefit for the United States Olympic Fund. The critical response was very favorable with Bosley Crowther of The New York Times writing, "The Country Girl comes along fitly as one of the fine and forceful pictures of the year."[3] Variety summed it up with "[a]n exceptionally well performed essay on an alcoholic song man, with Bing Crosby the one carrying on a bottle romance, Country Girl is high on boxoffice punch. It's a strong, intense show that's certain to be talked about."[4]

Awards and nominations

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Motion Picture William Perlberg Nominated [5]
Best Director George Seaton Nominated
Best Actor Bing Crosby Nominated
Best Actress Grace Kelly Won
Best Screenplay George Seaton Won
Best Art Direction – Black-and-White Art Direction: Hal Pereira and Roland Anderson;
Set Decoration: Samuel M. Comer and Grace Gregory
Best Cinematography – Black-and-White John F. Warren Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Foreign Actress Grace Kelly Nominated [7]
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or George Seaton Nominated [8]
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Nominated [9]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Grace Kelly Won [10]
National Board of Review Awards Top Ten Films 3rd Place [11]
Best Actor Bing Crosby Won
Best Actress Grace Kelly (also for Dial M for Murder and Rear Window) Won
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Film Nominated [12]
Best Director George Seaton Nominated
Best Actress Grace Kelly (also for Dial M for Murder and Rear Window) Won
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Written American Drama George Seaton Nominated [13]


All the songs were written by Harold Arlen (music) and Ira Gershwin (lyrics).

Bing Crosby recorded four of the songs for Decca Records[14] and these were issued on a 10-inch LP titled The Country Girl / Little Boy Lost. Crosby's songs were also included in the Bing's Hollywood series.

In popular culture

Some of the dialogue from the film was used in the 2007 Mika song "Grace Kelly". The film is referenced by name in the television series I Love Lucy in the 1955 episode "L.A. at Last" by William Holden who guest-starred in the episode.


  1. ^ "All Time Domestic Champs". Variety. January 6, 1960. p. 34.
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Country Girl". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley (December 16, 1954). "Movie Review – The Country Girl (1954) – Screen: Crosby Acts in 'Country Girl'; Film Based on Odets Drama Makes Bow". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 3, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  4. ^ "The Country Girl". Variety. December 1, 1954.
  5. ^ "The 27th Academy Awards (1955) Nominees and Winners". (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  6. ^ "NY Times: The Country Girl". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-10-18. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
  7. ^ "BAFTA Awards: Film in 1956". BAFTA. 1956. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Official Selection 1955: All the Selection". Archived from the original on 26 December 2013.
  9. ^ "7th DGA Awards". Directors Guild of America Awards. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  10. ^ "The Country Girl – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  11. ^ "1954 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  12. ^ "1954 New York Film Critics Circle Awards". New York Film Critics Circle. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  13. ^ "Awards Winners". Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
  14. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". A Bing Crosby Discography. Retrieved January 28, 2016.