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Dream Wife

Dream Wife(1953)

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The film's opening credits are presented after a speech delivered by the "Kahn of Bukistan," who addresses the audience in gibberish which is "translated" by subtitles. A 1951 Variety news item noted that M-G-M purchased the story on which this film was based for appoximately $50,000. Sidney Sheldon made his directing and producing debut with Dream Wife, but he is not credited as producer onscreen or in reviews. Hollywood Reporter news items add Ben Astar and James Mitchell to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a pre-production item in Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column, M-G-M originally sought June Allyson for a leading role. An Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Dimitri Tiomkin would compose the film's score, but Conrad Salinger is credited onscreen with the music. Dream Wife marked the screen debut of stage actress Betta St. John, who changed her name from Betta Streigler.
       The file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library contains a letter, dated 27 Nov1951, written by Joseph Breen of the PCA and sent to Dore Schary, in which Breen warned the producer that the "basic story" of the script or treatment was in violation of the Production Code. Breen wrote that the presentation of the U.S. State Dept. and the fictitious country of Bukistan constituted a violation of the Production Code. While commending the studio for making it clear that Bukistan was a fictitious country, Breen nevertheless asserted that it was a "rather thin veil" through which it was clear to see that the locale of the story was the Near East. [Both the film and studio publicity identified "Bukistan" as a Middle Eastern country.]
       Breen went on to write that the story "ridicules the way of life, the customs, and habits of people unmistakably identified as present day natives of the explosive Near East territory." Although Breen informed Schary in September 1952 that the story, which was probably revised and then resubmitted, seemed to "meet the provisions of the Code," he later appealed to Schary to consider the possiblity that the exhibition of the film might lead to charges that Hollywood was propagandizing. Breen emphasized that the "whole Middle East, predominately Moslem, is in a very touchy state of mind right now." He further noted that the film might "influence public opinion in connection with the troubled question of the State of Israel," and that the charges of propagandizing might result in "serious damage throughout the Moslem world, not only to the company involved, but to our industry in general, and in fact to the whole foreign policy of the United States in that area."
       Dream Wife received an Academy Award nomination in the category of Best Costume Design. Several months after the film was released, Sidney Sheldon requested a release from his contract and moved over to Paramount.