The Moon Is Blue (1953)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This is the story of a chaste young TV-commercial actress (Maggie McNamara) who is romanced by a playboy architect (William Holden). Despite all sorts of temptations, the girl refuses the architect's invitation to become his mistress, holding out for marriage or nothing. Meanwhile, middle-aged rake David Niven tries to move in on the girl himself, with an equal lack of success. So why was this harmless little comedy so controversial? It seems that director Otto Preminger decided to film the play as written, retaining such words as "virgin," "seduce," and "mistress" in the script. The antediluvian Motion Picture Production Code refused to approve the film so long as those naughty words remained in the dialogue; thus, Preminger released the picture minus the Code's seal of approval. Rather than hurt the film's chances at the box office, Preminger's bold move resulted in a major financial success -- not to mention the beginning of the end for the ancient, wheezy Production Code. However, in the meantime, troubles piled up; the Jersey City Municipal Court -- at the hands of Secaucus' Justice George King -- fined Alfred Manfredonia, manager of the Stanley Theatre, 100 dollars for screening the film (declaring him guilty of violating a city ordinance), and a ban was imposed on the picture by the Maryland State Board of Motion Picture Censors. While The New York Times' Bosley Crowther dismissed the accusations of prurience, he blithely observed, "The Moon Is Blue is not outstanding, either as a romance or as a times, it gets awfully tedious...Its charm...will depend on how much one delights in its choice of words."
Classics , Comedy , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Bros. Pictures


William Holden
as Don Gresham
David Niven
as David Slater
Maggie McNamara
as Patty O'Neill
Dawn Addams
as Cynthia Slater
Tom Tully
as Michael O'Neill
Fortunio Bonanova
as Television Announcer
Gregory Ratoff
as Taxi Driver
Hardy Kruger
as Sightseer
Johanna Matz
as His Wife
Johannes Heesters
as David Slater
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Critic Reviews for The Moon Is Blue

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

Aside from its candor, however, and its audacity with the words, The Moon Is Blue is not outstanding, either as a romance or as film.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Despite the fuss at the time, there's little blue about this except the title.

February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

For all the movie's staginess and datedness, it's a more personal and ambiguous work than it initially appears to be.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Known today because it challenged the Hollywood Production Code.

Full Review… | September 18, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

No one today is likely to mistake this smarmy little sex farce for a good film, but it is significant historically as one of the nails in the coffin of Hollywood's self-imposed Production Code.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
TV Guide

A landmark of its time -- and a very dull one.

August 29, 2006
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Moon Is Blue


Preminger likely was proud of this film pushing the Code's seal of approval and Niven thought enough about it to name his autobiography after it but it really isn't much to write home about. Holden and Niven who are so fantastic in other roles are terribly flat.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Great lines delivered quickly; a proper screwball rom-com for a girls night in. Does a meeting on top of the Empire State Building sound familiar? One of my favorite Niven's characters too.

Christopher Bergan
Christopher Bergan

Silly comedy once notorious for it's use of the word virgin is now just dated nonsense.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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