In 1964, Vincente Minnelli took a break from his work at MGM to direct Fox's film version of George Axelrod's 1960 play, "Goodbye Charlie," a deft satire about a notorious womanizer who is murdered and reincarnated as the kind of woman he used to casually exploit and abuse.
Axelrod also directed the play which opened at the Lyceum Theater in March of '60.
On stage, the role of Charlie was played in her Broadway debut by Lauren Bacall, a woman ofen described as "handsome." Bacall's deep, husky voice was obviously also an asset in the role.
For the film version, Minnelli went with the eternally girlish Debbie Reynolds, a less obvious choice whose butch mannerisms indirectly added to the piece's scabrous sense of humor. Tony Curtis (reuniting with Reynolds after Robert Mulligan's "The Rat Race" in 1960) assumed the role played on stage by Sydney Chaplin, and the supporting cast included Pat Boone, Joanna Barnes, Ellen Burstyn (when she was still being billed as Ellen McRae), Laura Devon, Martin Gable and, most memorably, Walter Matthau in one of his most shamelessly hammiest performances as a sex-obsessed wastrel named ... Sir Leopold Sartori.
Andre Previn wrote the kind of music score for the film that makes one think the material, which is fun, should have been a musical all along.