The Matchmaker (1958) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Matchmaker (1958)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Matchmaker Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Thornton Wilder's 1938 stage play The Merchant of Yonkers was based on an old British stage farce by John Oxenford (which in turn served as the basis of an Austrian farce by Johann Nestroy). Merchant of Yonkers was a bomb, but Wilder was quite fond of the piece, so he revised it as the considerably more successful The Matchmaker in 1955. The 1958 film version stars Shirley Booth as 19th-century matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi (a character not found in the Oxenford or Nestroy versions; Wilder "borrowed" Dolly from Moliere's The Miser). Dolly is currently trying to arrange a marriage between Yonkers dry-goods merchant Horace Vandergelder (Paul Ford) and hatmaker Irene Molloy (Shirley MacLaine)-though she secretly harbors a desire to march Horace to the altar herself. Meanwhile, Vandergelder's chief clerk Cornelius (Anthony Perkins), celebrating a recent promotion, decides to head to New York for a "good time". Though he's supposed to be minding the store, Cornelius abandons the shop, with fellow-clerk Barnaby (Robert Morse, repeating his stage role) in tow. Inevitably, Cornelius and Barnaby wind up escorting Irene Molloy and her co-worker Minnie Fay (Perry Wilson) to a fancy restaurant, where Horace and Dolly are also dining. As the many plot twists wend their way through the proceedings, the camera occasionally pauses to allow the character to speak directly to the audience, expressing their innermost desires and philosophies; this purely theatrical device works quite well on screen, especially the monologue about honesty delivered by handyman Malachi Stack (played with alcoholic whimsy by Wallace Ford). While the name "Malachi Stack"may not be familiar to you, the other characters-and the basic plot-will be instantly recognizable to fans of Hello Dolly, the 1964 musical comedy version of The Matchmaker.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Romance, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John Michael Hayes
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 18, 2005
Paramount Pictures


Shirley Booth
as Dolly 'Gallagher' Le...
Paul Ford
as Horace Vandergelder
Shirley MacLaine
as Irene Molloy
Anthony Perkins
as Cornelius Hackl
Robert Morse
as Barnaby Tucker
Perry Wilson
as Minnie Fay
Wallace Ford
as Malachi Stack
Russell Collins
as Joe Scanlon
Rex Evans
as August
Gavin Gordon
as Rudolph
Torben Meyer
as Maitre D'
Joe Forte
as Train Conductor
Jon Lormer
as Mr. Duckworth
Sandra Giles
as Older Beauty
Lorraine Crawford
as Younger Beauty
Fred Somers
as Cab Driver
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Matchmaker

Critic Reviews for The Matchmaker

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

July 4, 2005

Audience Reviews for The Matchmaker

This play should probably stick to the theatre. Either that or they could have used a different director. This movie is very predictable on top of feeling like a play and how stupid everything the characters did seemed. Sometimes I found a bit of fun in a scene, and I thought Perkins and Morse were real cute, but other than that, this is pretty dull. If you really like romantic comedies, you may enjoy this more than I did, though.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


interesting to see Hello Dolly without music and some of the performers are better then in the other film particularly Shirley MacLaine but don't go out of your way.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer


Shirley Maclaine has solidified her role as my favorite 60s cutie. This is an adorable movie that knows how adorable it is, what with the audience narration and everything. Charm doesn't make the story any more dimensional, however, and I don't think Anthony Perkins will ever shake the typecast of creeper off him after Psycho.

Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

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