The Moon Is Blue (1953) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Moon Is Blue1953

The Moon Is Blue (1953)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Moon Is Blue Photos

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."


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 Krüger
as Couple in Final Scene
Johanna Matz
as His Wife
Johannes Heesters
as David Slater
View All

Critic Reviews for The Moon Is Blue

All Critics (9) | 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.

March 25, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

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

February 9, 2006
Top Critic

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

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

The Moon Is Blue is a small comedy that seems to sparkle, sound monotonous, look machine-made, and appear smartly guided at the same moment.

November 23, 2020 | Full Review…

Known today because it challenged the Hollywood Production Code.

September 18, 2010 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

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.

October 23, 2007 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

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

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

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

What a shame. One of the best movies I've seen and there's almost no one that has seen it. The script is absolutely brilliant. So is the acting. So is the imagery. Perhaps one of the most overlooked movies ever?

Stefan P
Stefan P

Super Reviewer

The Moon Is Blue Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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