Cast & Crew
In the small town of Liberty Hill, Miss Dove, a prim schoolteacher who is known as "terrible Miss Dove" because she is a strict disciplinarian, keeps a boy after class for swearing, but when she experiences sharp pains, sends him home to get his father, Dr. Tom Baker. As Miss Dove waits, she remembers years earlier when she first returned home from college: Miss Dove goes to see her father, the town banker, as soon as she arrives, and is warmly greeted by the bank's vice-president, John Porter. That night, her father dies suddenly after Miss Dove tells him that she is in love with an archaeologist named Pendleton. Miss Dove is startled to learn that her father had embezzled $11,000 from the bank, although John stresses that the money was merely "borrowed." To avoid a scandal, Miss Dove vows to repay the money by working as a schoolteacher. Miss Dove then rejects Pendleton's marriage proposal and sacrifices her own happiness to work at the local elementary school. Back in the classroom, Tom, one of Miss Dove's former pupils, insists that she be hospitalized. The attending nurse is another former student, Billy Jean, who is in love with her former classmate, policeman Bill Holloway, who reveres Miss Dove. Miss Dove recalls Bill as a child: Bill, a poverty-stricken orphan being raised by his alcoholic grandmother Annie, comes to class in filthy, ill-fitting clothes. Bill's ethics, however, outclass those of some of the wealthier students, and Miss Dove encourages him without showing undue affection. While maintaining her usual strict discipline, Miss Dove lavishes attention on Bill, allowing him to do yardwork at her house in exchange for lunch, and eventually buys him a graduation suit. Years later, after Annie dies, Miss Dove supports Bill, and when he returns from Marine service after World War II, she is the first person he visits. Miss Dove also recollects Tom's wife Virginia, who is now happily married and pregnant, but previously seemed misguided. Billy Jean, meanwhile, confesses that her own child is illegitimate, and that she claims to be a widow to protect her daughter. Billy Jean was severely disappointed because Bill broke their engagement when she admitted her transgression. The next morning, renowned playwright Maurice Levine and convict Fred Makepeace, two more former pupils, come to visit Miss Dove. Miss Dove recalls when Maurice, then an eleven-year-old Polish refugee, first came to her class: Maurice is placed in the first grade so he can learn English, and she soon discovers he has a vivid imagination. However, his peers tease the bright Jewish boy, calling him "Rab," short for the word "rabbi." During geography lessons, Miss Dove instructs her class about the Jewish homeland, noting that "rabbi" is a term of respect. She then arranges for Maurice's family to host a special dinner for her class, in order to demonstrate that a Jewish family is the same as any other family. Miss Dove has since followed Maurice's career, and he thanks her for attending the opening night of his play. She then realizes that Fred has escaped from jail, and tactfully suggests that Bill go to lunch with Fred and Maurice, then escort Fred back to prison. Fred is grateful to Miss Dove, as is Bill after he hears her praise Billy Jean for being genteel. Not long after, John visits Miss Dove with news that the Board of Rotarians has elected to pay her medical bills. John insists that it is not out of charity, but respect for her, as he feels indebted to her. Miss Dove then recalls years earlier when there was a run on the bank: A national scare causes anxious patrons to crowd the bank in order to withdraw their money before the bank closes. Although John tries to dispel rumors about the bank's closing, even loyal customers demand their money. Just a few minutes before closing, Miss Dove quietly makes her way through the throng and, with her usual air of authority, goes to the front of the line to make a deposit. When she tries to fill out a slip, she pretends that her pen is out of ink and asks for another. To further delay the process, Miss Dove calmly notes that the pen John gives her is also out of ink and, given another pen, slowly fills out the deposit slip. She finishes the transaction just at closing time, and reminds the protesting patrons that John is merely obeying federal law. John is still grateful for Miss Dove's action. Tom now reports that Miss Dove has a tumor on her spine which will require an operation. Miss Dove expresses her confidence in Tom's skill as a surgeon, and when he warns her the operation could be fatal, she gives him her father's pocketwatch, which he has always admired. The next day, after Tom begins surgery, the principal dismisses class for the day, while Fred escapes from jail again to go to Liberty Hill, and Bill reunites with Billy Jean. When Miss Dove finally awakens from her surgery, Tom returns the watch as a sign that all is well, and reports that Virginia has given birth to twins. The church bells chime as everyone gathers in the street below to celebrate the successful operation. In typical fashion, Miss Dove asks that the principal resume classes so that her students can study for an upcoming test.
Robert Lynn Sr.
A. Cameron Grant
Samuel G. Engel
Paul S. Fox
Harry M. Leonard
Walter M. Scott
Lyle R. Wheeler
Darryl F. Zanuck
Good Morning, Miss Dove
Director Henry Koster had originally intended for Olivia de Havilland to play the lead role and for Good Morning, Miss Dove (1955) to be shot on location in England. In the end, Jennifer Jones played the spinster school teacher who has devoted her life to her students, giving Jones a chance to branch out beyond the typical leading lady role, allowing her to play a much older and unglamorous woman. The film, shot in the new "CinemaScope" process, went into production on the Fox lot from July 11th to mid-August 1955, with additional sequences added later in early September. The West German title was Guten Morgen, Miss Fink, and the Fox Publicity Department came up with taglines like, "A Picture of Everybody for Everybody!" and "She's the laughter in your tears and the tears in your laughter." The rest of the cast included Robert Stack, Kipp Hamilton, Chuck Connors, reliable character actress Mary Wickes, two alumni of the The Dick Van Dyke Show - Richard Deacon and Jerry Paris - as well as two actors from the Leave it to Beaver TV series, Ken Osmond and Stanley Fafara.
Stack, who played the doctor who saves Miss Dove's life, later wrote in his autobiography, Straight Shooting, "The film told a touching story of a schoolteacher, a wealthy, lighthearted girl at the turn of the century, who gave up a chance for romance and excitement to devote herself to others. As time passed, she became a spinster geography teacher who influenced the lives of generations of students. I played a doctor who helped her recover from an illness. Miss Dove was played by Jennifer Jones...Jennifer was shy. Very shy. In one scene, as the doctor, I was supposed to give her the knee-reflex test. She kept looking at me, saying Do you have to do that? (In other words, did I have to put my hand on her knee?) I laughed and finally said, Jennifer, I'm the doctor, you're the patient, and it's in the script. She was the only really shy actress I've ever worked with."
Released in New York on November 23, 1955, Good Morning, Miss Dove was one of two big hits for Jennifer Jones that year, along with Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing. The New York Times admitted that the film was hokey, but predicted correctly that it would play well with audiences, "Since it is unashamedly sentimental without being excessively maudlin about its heroine, Good Morning, Miss Dove deserves credit for being honest and entertaining. What matter if this nostalgic review of the career of a schoolteacher and her impact on several generations of townsfolk appears obvious and, at times cliché-cluttered? The customers at the Roxy [Theater in New York], where it was unveiled yesterday with benefit of color and CinemaScope, undoubtedly will shed a surreptitious tear and smile in remembrance of their own "Miss Doves." It is, to put it bluntly, far more diverting than going back to school...Our heroine, it might be added, is dedicated and self-effacing enough to avoid the proffered hand of an admirer to pay off her father's indebtedness. Although such a paragon would appear to be improbable, Miss Dove, in the person of Jennifer Jones, is a remarkable but believable character. Although she sounds like a character out of Dickens, her carefully etched portrait of the genuinely dedicated geography teacher is a neat blend of pride, genuine gentility and humor. Robert Stack, as the respectful doctor; Kipp Hamilton, as his sweet, pretty and expectant wife; Peggy Knudsen, as a practical, rough-hewn nurse who yearns to be "genteel"; Chuck Connors, as the cop who is her fiancé; Jerry Paris, as the playwright, and a covey of youngsters, who perform without affectation help make "Miss Dove" a winning personality. Although she is involved in some mawkish situations straight out of soap opera, her bittersweet reflection makes for pleasant memories."
Producer: Samuel G. Engel
Director: Henry Koster
Screenplay: Eleanore Griffin; Frances Gray Patton (novel)
Cinematography: Leon Shamroy
Art Direction: Mark-Lee Kirk, Lyle R. Wheeler
Music: Leigh Harline
Film Editing: William Reynolds
Cast: Jennifer Jones (Miss Dove), Robert Stack (Dr. Thomas 'Tom' Baker), Kipp Hamilton (Virginia 'Jincey' Baker), Robert Douglas (Mr. John Porter), Peggy Knudsen (Nurse Billie Jean Green), Marshall Thompson (Wilfred Banning Pendleton III), Chuck Connors (William 'Bill' Holloway), Biff Elliot (Alexander 'Alex 'Burnham), Jerry Paris (Maurice 'Rab' Levine), Mary Wickes (Miss Ellwood).
by Lorraine LoBianco
Straight Shooter by Robert Stack with Mark Evans
The Internet Movie Database
The AFI Catalog of Feature Films
The New York Times Film Review, Good Morning, Miss Dove: The Teacher is a Pet , November 23, 1955
Good Morning, Miss Dove
Now, we'll take our clothes off and we'll feel more comfortable.- Billie Jean
The pronoun "we" is misleading unless you propose to take off your clothes too.- Miss Dove
You know Bill Holloway? Office Holloway I suppose I should refer to him.- Billie Jean
William was one of my pupils.- Miss Dove
Well I just thought you might like to know how he's got you up on a pedestal. He says that you're his ideal of "real genteel".- Billie Jean
William Holloway started out with a gift rarer than mathematical genius or perfect pitch. A child in whom the ethical instinct was as innate as the function of breathing.- Miss Dove
Oh brother! If anyone should ever tell him that, you could drive a truck right between his ears!- Billie Jean
Frances Gray Patton's novel incorporated three short stories that had previously appeared in The Ladies Home Journal: "The Terrible Miss Dove," "Miss Dove and Judgment Day" and "Miss Dove and the Maternal Instinct." According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, the studio paid $52,500 for the rights to the novel. The Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also at UCLA, reveals that the Jewish family dinner portrayed in the film was originally written as a more extensive Passover seder.
According to January and March 1955 Hollywood Reporter news items, the film was originally scheduled to be shot on location in England and Olivia de Havilland was considered for the leading role. Hollywood Reporter news items include the following actors in the cast, although their appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed: Mary Castle, Amanda Belanger, Linda Bennett, Patti Garrity, Michael Mayron, Joyce Baum, Elizabeth Holmes, Robert Quarry and Nicholas Koster, the son of the film's director, Henry Koster.
Released in United States Fall November 1955
Released in United States Fall November 1955