Mrs Pollifax Movies

Mrs. Pollifax Movies

The first Mrs. Pollifax movie was produced in 1971 and starred Rosalind Russell and Darrin McGavin.  The screenplay was also written by Rosalind Russell under the name C.A. McKnight.  The movie followed the first book in the Mrs. Pollifax very closely and even though it never got the acclaim it deserves it was a cute little film. I have watched it at least 4 times.  It is not available on DVD yet. 


Short Video of Behind the Scenes with Rosalind Russell


Here is the production information from the Internet Movie Database:
Directed by
Leslie H. Martinson (as Leslie Martinson)

Writing credits(in alphabetical order)
Dorothy Gilman book “The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax”
Rosalind Russell writer (as C.A. McKnight)

Cast (in credits order) complete, awaiting verification

Rosalind Russell … Mrs. Pollifax
Darren McGavin … Farrell
Nehemiah Persoff… Berisha
Harold Gould … Nexdhet
Albert Paulsen … Perdido
John Beck … Lulash
Dana Elcar … Carstairs
James Wellman … Mason
Dennis Cross … Bishop
Nick Katurich … Stefan
Don Diamond … DeGamez
Robert Donner … Larrabee
Tom Hallick … Roger
Patrick Dennis … Tourist (uncredited)
Vassily Sulich … Albanian Private (uncredited)

Produced by
Frederick Brisson …. producer
Charles Forsythe …. associate producer

Found a review on the New York Times Website:

Review Summary

Rosalind Russell plays Mrs. Pollifax in this film, thus joining together a well-loved movie star and a well-loved fictional spy. Based on Dorothy Gillman’s novel The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, the story concerns a widow who, feeling she has nothing much to lose, volunteers her services to the CIA saying “I am ready to die for my country.” The CIA does not leap at this curious offer, but she is persistent, and eventually, she is picked to play the role of tourist, accompanied and protected by a “real” CIA agent (Darren McGavin). The purpose of her trip is to pick up some much-sought-after microfilm. When she and her protector are captured and taken to Albania, her charm pen names save the day. This is one of Rosalind Russell’s final films and not a well-regarded one. However, she must have wanted to do it very much, as she wrote the screenplay (under the penname C. A. McKnight). ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

Found on Amazon – Buy or Rent the Video

Mrs Pollifax Movie

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The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

Based on the first of Dorothy Gilman’s popular novels about a senior citizen who joins the CIA, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax stars Angela Lansbury as Emily Polifax, an elderly woman who feels out of sorts and unsure of what to do with herself after the death of her husband. Her doctor tries to cheer her up by telling her this is a perfect time to try new things and fulfill ambitions set aside earlier in life. Emily decides this is fine advice and takes a shot at the career of her dreams — she writes a letter to her congressman asking how one goes about becoming a CIA agent. The letter is passed along and the CIA agrees to an interview. However, Emily is mistakenly sent on a mission to a Morocco before anyone realizes she isn’t actually an agent, and operative Jack Farrell (Thomas Ian Griffith) is sent out to keep an eye on her. When Emily and Jack are unexpectedly taken hostage, Jack discovers Mrs. Pollifax is far more clever and resourceful than anyone expected. The first in a proposed series of TV movies aimed to appeal to the large and loyal audience Lansbury attracted with the show Murder, She Wrote, The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax was produced for CBS television, who first aired it in May 1999. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Short 5 minute Scene from the Movie


Information from the IMDB website:
Directed by:

Anthony Pullen Shaw (as Anthony Shaw)

Writing credits (WGA):

Dorothy Gilman (novel)

Robert T. Megginson (teleplay)

Cast (in credits order):

Angela Lansbury … Mrs. Emily Pollifax
Thomas Ian Griffith … Jack Farrell
Ed Bishop … Carstairs
Paul Birchard … Bishop
Michelle Read … Alice
Tommy O’Neill … Franz
Paul Kennedy … Hans
Joseph Long … Aleksei Yagoda
Gerry O’Brien … Haggarty
John Light … Robin Hughes-Wright
Todd Boyce … Mason
Patricia Martin … Lady Palisibury
Peter Bland
Patrick Joseph Byrnes … Devlin CI Agent
Gráinne de Buitléar … French Maid
Daisy Donovan … Alexandra / Marina
Jacqueline Pearce
Neil Roberts
Maria Tecce … CIA Receptionist

Produced by:

Richard Brams …. producer
Michele Brustin …. executive producer
Paul Lowin …. line producer
Morgan O’Sullivan …. co-producer
David Shaw …. executive producer


This version of the movie sort of combined the first 3 books of the series. For true fans, it wasn’t done very well but I enjoyed Angela Lansbury as the lead character. I have always thought her or Helen Hayes would be great in this role. Sadly, Ms. Hayes died in 1993 at the age of 92. If they do ever do another movie based on the Mrs. Pollifax character they would have to find someone with their same qualities and acting abilities.

Currently, this movie is not available on DVD nor has ever been shown on television as far as I know. The property rights are still owned by CBS and several fans as well as myself have written or emailed them to try and get it released on DVD for home viewing. Someone did finally upload this version of the movie to YouTube. It is not a very good quality but I enjoyed watching it just the same.

The Full Version has been Posted to YouTube:


2 thoughts on “Mrs Pollifax Movies

  1. Does anyone know where I can rent any movies based on the Mrs. Pollifax books? I just found Dorothy Gilman’s books and love them and would like to see what the movies might be like.

  2. i found the movie with Rosalind Russell available on Netflix. i am a big fan of Dorothy Gilman and excited to discover this fan site and discover a movie or two to view!!!

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