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.
Friday, February 5, 2010
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