Friday, February 5, 2010

Sex and the Single Girl (1964) and some Belated Thoughts

Some months ago, when I was working on my review of the Natalie Wood boxed set, I invited a couple friends over to watch Sex and the Single Girl (1964) with me. All three of us were pretty horrified by the ridiculousness of this film. Yes I know it's the 1960s and there are a plethora of silly films from that era (many of which I enjoy immensely) but this one was ridiculous to the point of being just plain stupid. How did this film even get made?

When I was reading David R. Slavitt's book George Sanders, Zsa Zsa and Me for review on this blog, I got my answer. Director Richard Quine (known to me primarily as Susan Peters' ex-husband) was desperate for money to pay back taxes, alimony and child support. He also owes his publicist Goldblatt a considerable amount of money. To pay him back he has to work on a new movie, any new movie. Goldblatt also worked for Tony Curtis who thought it would be fun to make a movie with his friends Henry Fonda, Lauren Bacall, Natalie Wood and Mel Ferrer. Warner Brothers had just paid 800 grand for the rights to Helen Gurley Brown's Sex and the Single Girl not realizing that it was a nonfiction book with no plot line whatsoever. All they knew is that the book was a bestseller and culturally significant. So Quine needs movie, Curtis and his cronies want to make a movie together and WB has rights to a socially important book. All three elements literally crash together to make a mess of a movie.

Some other thoughts on this film:

My original review
Sarah's enthusiastic review on Cinema Splendor (she can appreciate strange '60s films like no one else can)
Nicola also didn't like it. Vintage Film Nerd.
Mercurie mentions this film in Part 3 of his excellent series on Sex Comedies. A Shroud of Thoughts.

8 comments:

  1. Yeah...I LOVE Natalie Wood, but this is definately not one of my favorites from her.

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  2. she sure looked good in it though ;) and the presence of Larry Storch automatically garners it a level of respect ;)
    seriously though i only saw it once years ago and didnt think much of it either. my fave Natalie film is Love with the Proper Stranger (the Searchers and Rebel not being "Natalie films" pers se')
    that's interesting how it actually came to be though. kinda like Orson Welles' Lady from Shanghai.

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  3. I really wanted to like this movie, but it was the rare case where even just the sight of the glamorous stars prancing around wasn't enough to entertain me. It was pointless :-P

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  4. A film with a great cast but a lousy cast. I have to wonder if when they were making this, somehow Natalie, Tony, Henry, Lauren, and Mel didn't feel like they were slumming when they made this film! I love some pretty strange Sixties films, but this definitely isn't one of them!

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  5. That review of mine is so old! If I was to re-review it, I'd probably not be so afraid to just say it's one of the dumbest things EVER. I like the cast together, I like them all individually, and I think it would have been terrific if they made something OTHER than SATSG.

    I didn't know that about Quine either!! Maybe that's why the movie didn't work. Perhaps he was just throwing it together to get money?

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  6. I know you're not much on awards, but I just had to let you know I nominated you for a Creative Blogger award at my blog!

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  8. It's a fun movie, and Natalie looks great. I also think she's very funny in it.

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