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Operation Mad Ball

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Genre  Comedy, War
Cinematography  Charles Lawton
Language  English
6.5/10 IMDb

Director  Richard Quine
Music director  George Duning
Country  United States
Operation Mad Ball movie poster
Writer  Arthur Carter, Blake Edwards, Jed Harris
Release date  August 17, 1957
Cast  Jack Lemmon (Private Hogan), Ernie Kovacs (Capt. Paul Lock), Mickey Rooney (MSgt. Yancy Skibo), Dick York (Cpl. Bohun), James Darren (Pvt. Widowskas), Kathryn Grant (Lt. Betty Bixby)
Similar movies  All Ladies Do It, Sliver, Cashback, The Lover, The Voyeur, Claude Chabrol's High Heels
Tagline  It's Operation Laughter For You! and anything goes!

Ernie kovacs operation mad ball theatrical trailer

Operation Mad Ball is a 1957 military comedy from Columbia Pictures, produced by Jed Harris, directed by Richard Quine, that stars Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Kathryn Grant, Arthur O'Connell, and Mickey Rooney. The screenplay is by Blake Edwards, Jed Harris, and Arthur Carter, based on an unproduced play by Carter.


Operation Mad Ball movie scenes

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In a hospital unit in the U.S. Army in Europe after World War II, Private Hogan (Jack Lemmon) does not believe that a blue-stocking can be good-looking, but the first sight of dietetic nurse Lieutenant Betty Bixby (Kathryn Grant) sets him straight. When he picks her cigarette lighter up and puts his weapon aside, he is surprísed by security officer Paul Locke (Ernie Kovacs) who admonishes him for putting down his weapon while on guard duty and confines him to quarters preliminary to a court martial. The Colonel in charge of the unit (Arthur O'Connell), however, would prefer to keep everything "in the family" and avoid a court martial.

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Soon, Hogan plans to organise a ball at an off-limits hotel with all the prettiest nurses and his fellow soldiers. Hogan and Cpl. Bohun (Dick York) go through all sorts of mishaps to make sure that the secret Mad Ball goes ahead. Hogan uses a General's X-ray and pretends it belongs to him to win the sympathy of Lt. Bixby, whom he wants to take to the ball. Hogan claims to be suffering from heartburn and an ulcer, and Bixby recommends dietetic changes. When Betty finds out that the X-ray doesn't belong to Hogan, she falls out with him, leaving both Betty and Hogan secretly sad to have lost each other.

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On the night of the ball, each soldier has been paired with a pretty nurse, except Hogan. He waits for Bixby, hoping that she has forgiven him, but he ends up going to the ball on his own. When he arrives, he sees Betty with the Colonel. She takes off her long coat to reveal a pretty dress. At the end, she shares the last dance with Hogan.


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Cast notes

  • This film marks the first time that Jack Lemmon received top billing in a film, and was also the first major screen role for Ernie Kovacs.
  • Awards and honors

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  • 1958 Golden Laurel Award - 2nd place - Top Male Comedy Performance - Jack Lemmon
  • 1958 WGA Award (Screen) - Nominated - Best Written American Comedy - Arthur Carter, Jed Harris, Blake Edwards

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    Operation Mad Ball Operation Mad Ball 1957 Richard Quine Jack Lemmon Ernie Kovacs


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