The Pleasure of His Company
Directed byGeorge Seaton
Written byCornelia Otis Skinner (play)
Samuel A. Taylor (play and screenplay)
Produced byWilliam Perlberg
StarringFred Astaire
Debbie Reynolds
Lilli Palmer
Tab Hunter
CinematographyRobert Burks
Edited byAlma Macrorie
Music byAlfred Newman
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • June 1, 1961 (1961-06-01)
Running time
115 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,150,000[1]

The Pleasure of His Company is a 1961 comedy film starring Fred Astaire, Debbie Reynolds and Tab Hunter directed by George Seaton and released by Paramount Pictures. It is based on the 1958 play of the same name by Samuel A. Taylor and Cornelia Otis Skinner.

Astaire was nominated for a Golden Globe award for his performance.


San Francisco debutante Jessica Poole hasn't seen her father, "Pogo" Poole, since the divorce between him and her mother, Katharine, many years before. Pogo went off to travel the world and enjoy himself, while Katharine remarried to stodgy banker Jim Dougherty.

Now Jessica is about to marry Roger Henderson, a cattle rancher from the Valley of the Moon in Sonoma County, and Pogo has been invited to the wedding.

Pogo arrives, as charming as he ever was. He is delighted by Jessica, and captivates her in return. He makes peace with Katharine, and even wins over Toy, the Doughertys' prized cook, though not Jim and Roger.

But Pogo is still as irresponsible as before. He invites Jessica to come away with him and "see the world." He even tries to break up her engagement, to Katharine's dismay. He also seems to be coming between Jim and Katharine, who has never quite got over her love for him.

Despite Pogo's maneuvers, the wedding goes through. But Pogo has reserved two airline tickets: who's going with him? Jim, fearing that Pogo has won over Katharine again, escorts Pogo to the airport with Katharine and her father. Jim, stopping Katharine from buying cigarettes in the airport, fears she is leaving him to meet Pogo at the plane. Jim, Katharine, and her father standing in the waiting room to see Pogo off. Katharine is angered to see that Pogo has taken Jessica's portrait, to which Jim calms her down saying, "Let him have it. After all, the poor guy is alone." Katharine's father then points to someone with Pogo, only for it to be revealed as Toy, much to Jim's dismay. Pogo and Katharine share a heartfelt smile and gaze into each other's eyes. Pogo boards a plane – with Toy.


At the time this film was released, Fred Astaire had given up dancing on screen. He had recently completed a dramatic performance in On the Beach in 1959 and retired from dancing in films because he was getting old. He wouldn't do another Hollywood musical until Finian's Rainbow was released in 1968. However, he did dance a little in this film during the party sequence, and even sang briefly as he teased Lilli Palmer. Famed costume designer Edith Head, who designed dresses for the film, appeared early in the film, showing dresses to Debbie Reynolds.

Original play

Film rights to the play were bought in February 1958 for $350,000 even before the play had been produced. It was bought by the production company of George Seaton and William Perlberg.[2]

The play debuted on Broadway in October 1958. Brooks Atkinson of the New York Times called it "thoroughly delightful".[3]

The play was produced in London where it starred and was directed by Nigel Patrick.[4]


In February 1959 Seaton reportedly wanted Fred Astaire to play the lead alongside Lilli Palmer.[5]

Awards and nominations

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear George Seaton Nominated [6]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Fred Astaire Nominated [7]

See also


  1. ^ "1961 Rentals and Potential". Variety. 10 Jan 1961. p. 58.
  2. ^ THOMAS M. PRYORS (Feb 26, 1958). "UNPRODUCED PLAY BOUGHT FOR FILM: Comedy Is by Samuel Taylor and Cornelia Otis Skinner -- Paramount Retrenches". New York Times. p. 23.
  3. ^ BROOKS ATKINSON (Oct 23, 1958). "Theatre: 'Pleasure of His Company': Delightful Comedy Is Staged at Longacre". New York Times. p. 36.
  4. ^ "U. S. PLAY IN LONDON: 'The Pleasure of His Company' Wins Favorable Reviews". New York Times. Apr 24, 1959. p. 22.
  5. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (Feb 25, 1959). "ASTAIRE IS SOUGHT FOR FILM COMEDY: May Star in 'The Pleasure of His Company' -- Goldwyn Foreign Award Created". New York Times. p. 37.
  6. ^ "The Pleasure of His Company". IMDb. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  7. ^ "The Pleasure of His Company". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved August 20, 2023.