Axelrod also directed the play which opened at the Lyceum Theater on December 16th, 1959 and had a brief run, closing on March 19th, 1960.
On stage, the role of Charlie was played by Lauren Bacall (in her Broadway debut), a woman whose beauty was often described as "handsome." Bacall's deep, husky voice was obviously also an asset in the role.
But Minnelli went with the eternally girlish Debbie Reynolds for his film, a less obvious choice but Reynolds' butch mannerisms (and game performance) indirectly added to the piece's scabrous 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 in the movie version includes Pat Boone, Joanna Barnes, Ellen Burstyn (when she was still being billed as Ellen McRae), Laura Devon, Martin Gabel, Roger C. Carmel and, most memorably, a shameless Walter Matthau in one of the hammiest comedy performances on film as a sex-obsessed wastrel named ... Sir Leopold Sartori.
André Previn wrote the kind of bouncy music score for the film that makes one think the material would have been even better as a movie musical.
Note in Passing: A few years ago, Fox Home Entertainment finally released "Goodbye, Charlie" but (like other Fox DVDs at the time) the company used an inferior pan-and-scan version for the transfer, not the original CinemaScope aspect of the original theatrical release. This was a version made up for television syndication in the late 1960s when TVs were boxes with square screens. I remember Dave Kehr being outraged at the time in his New York Times essay on the situation, where he asked, Doesn’t the studio of CinemaScope find this just a little bit embarrassing?
~Tony Curtis and Debbie Reynolds in "Goodbye, Charlie"
~photography: Twentieth Century-Fox. 1964©
~Newspaper display ad for the play "Goodbye, Charlie"
~Reynolds and Walter Matthau in a scene from the film version
~photography: Twentieth Century-Fox 1964©