Paramount seemed nervous about this piece when they released it in 1958 on a double-bill, tucking it underneath a Robert Taylor western called THE HANGMAN. It probably needed the assist commercially as it's a gentle comedy of old-fashioned manners much wedded to Thornton Wilder's stage-original - that later became the musical HELLO DOLLY ! Most of it takes place inside a milliner's shop and a restaurant with occasional venturings-out onto the back-lot for some fresh air. Even the train-journey from 1880s Yonkers to New York that progresses the plot is simply shown on a map. The widowed lady of the title is ostensibly arranging an introduction between Irene the milliner and wealthy widower Horace Vandergelder who's seeking to re-marry but secretly plans to nab him herself. Parallel to this Horace's two clerks Cornelius and Barnaby, left in charge of his hay-and-feed business, go AWOL themselves to New York to find 'adventure'. Both groups inevitably collide and after sundry trips round the mulberry bush (one involving the boys in drag) all ends with everyone paired off satisfactorily. On stage the characters turn and talk to the audience on occasion. The film repeats the device, acknowledging the camera and the moviegoers but this proves a touch oppressive given the somewhat leaden direction. Shirley Booth is adequate as Dolly and Shirley MacLaine a fragrant Irene but Tony Perkins seems ill-at-ease as Cornelius, his face seems tight and his eyes oddly hostile. This was still pre-PSYCHO when he was the boy next door (perhaps he had a premonition) and it's an eerie sight now when he drags up. Robert Morse as Barnaby is more fun and sympathetic but the main honours go to Paul Ford as Horace. His portrait of the cautious self-made man allowing romance to re-enter his soul commands the show. It's a pleasant civilised piece with its wry observations of the human foolishness, fondly-remembered from its own time but it needed a Rene Clair to do it justice.