Goodbye Charlie is a 1964 comedy film about a callous womanizer who gets his just reward. It was adapted from George Axelrod's play Goodbye, Charlie and starred Debbie Reynolds and Tony Curtis. The play also provided the basis for Switch, with Ellen Barkin and Jimmy Smits.

Plot summary

Charlie Sorrel is shot and killed by Sir Leopold Sartori (Walter Matthau) when he is caught fooling around with Sartori's wife. Later, passerby Bruce Minton III (Pat Boone) comes to the aid of a dazed woman (Debbie Reynolds) wandering on a beach. She doesn't remember much other than directions to Charlie's residence.

The next morning, it all comes back to her: she is the reincarnation of Charlie. After getting over the shock, she convinces her best (and only) friend, George Tracy (Tony Curtis), of her identity. All manner of complications arise as she first accepts the situation and then decides to take advantage of it, with Tracy's reluctant help.

Charlie has changed his sex, but he cannot change his ways, and eventually he gets murdered again ... only to be reincarnated one more time: as a dog.


Goodbye Charlie
  • Tony Curtis as George Wellington Tracy
  • Debbie Reynolds as Virginia Mason
  • Pat Boone as Bruce Minton, the 3rd
  • Ellen Burstyn (credited as Ellen McRae) as Franny Salzman
  • Joanna Barnes as Janine Highland
  • Laura Devon as Rusty Sartori
  • Martin Gabel as Morton Craft
  • Roger C. Carmel as the inspector
  • Harry Madden as Charles Sorel
  • Myrna Hansen as Starlet
  • Michael Romanoff as patron
  • Anthony Eustrel as the butler
  • Walter Matthau as Sir Leopold Sartori

Original Play

George Axelrod's play debuted on Broadway in 1959 starring Lauren Bacall and Sydney Chaplin, produced by Leland Hayward, and directed by Axelrod himself. It was not a big success only running for 109 performances. The New York Times said it plays like "an extended vaudeville sketch".


Goodbye Charlie

Film rights to the play were bought even before it premiered by 20th Century Fox for $150,000 plus a percentage of the profits. James Garner and Marilyn Monroe were discussed as earlier stars.

Daryl F. Zanuck offered the project to Billy Wilder after he returned to Fox but Wilder turned it down, saying "no self-respecting picture maker would ever want to work for your company". (Zanuck had just forced Joseph L. Mankiewicz to re-cut Cleopatra (1963)).

Playwright Harry Kurnitz was hired to write the script and Tony Curtis was attached early on. Vincente Minelli was hired to direct, his first movie away from MGM since 1942.

Television adaptation

In 1985, Goodbye Charlie was made into a TV series (starring Suzanne Somers as the reincarnated Charlie), but only the pilot episode was broadcast.


Goodbye Charlie

External links

Goodbye Charlie
  • Goodbye Charlie at the Internet Movie Database
  • Goodbye Charlie at the TCM Movie Database
  • Review of film at New York Times
  • Goodbye Charlie the play at IBDB

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