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HISTORY

On 28 Feb 1962, LAT announced that Harold Jacob Smith was developing the screenplay for The Sandpiper, the first original screen story by Filmways, Inc. chairman Martin Ransohoff. Smith’s involvement was brief, however, as a 13 Dec 1962 DV news item stated that a new draft was being completed by Irene and Louis Kamp.
       In the spring, Ransohoff began negotiations with Elizabeth Taylor to star as “Laura Reynolds.” According to the 29 May 1963 NYT and 5 Jun 1963 Var, Taylor was to receive $1 million against ten percent of the gross profits—a fee that had become standard for the actress since she appeared in Cleopatra (1963, see entry). William Wyler agreed to direct the $4 million production, and subsequently stalled his commitment to The Sound of Music (1965, see entry). Following Taylor’s public affair with Cleopatra co-star Richard Burton, many sources suggested that the two would work together once again if arrangements could be made to accommodate Burton’s schedule. Meanwhile, the 16 May 1963, 3 Jun 1963, and 26 Jun 1963 DV stated that alternative actors in consideration included Rock Hudson, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, and Marlon Brando. The 20 Jun 1963 edition hinted that Taylor likely requested Ransohoff and Wyler postpone production until Burton completed The Night of the Iguana (1964, see entry) in Mexico, where she accompanied him during the shoot. The delays ultimately caused Wyler to drop out of the picture altogether, and the 23 Jul 1963 DV reported rumors that Taylor would also leave the project to be replaced by Kim ... More Less

On 28 Feb 1962, LAT announced that Harold Jacob Smith was developing the screenplay for The Sandpiper, the first original screen story by Filmways, Inc. chairman Martin Ransohoff. Smith’s involvement was brief, however, as a 13 Dec 1962 DV news item stated that a new draft was being completed by Irene and Louis Kamp.
       In the spring, Ransohoff began negotiations with Elizabeth Taylor to star as “Laura Reynolds.” According to the 29 May 1963 NYT and 5 Jun 1963 Var, Taylor was to receive $1 million against ten percent of the gross profits—a fee that had become standard for the actress since she appeared in Cleopatra (1963, see entry). William Wyler agreed to direct the $4 million production, and subsequently stalled his commitment to The Sound of Music (1965, see entry). Following Taylor’s public affair with Cleopatra co-star Richard Burton, many sources suggested that the two would work together once again if arrangements could be made to accommodate Burton’s schedule. Meanwhile, the 16 May 1963, 3 Jun 1963, and 26 Jun 1963 DV stated that alternative actors in consideration included Rock Hudson, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, and Marlon Brando. The 20 Jun 1963 edition hinted that Taylor likely requested Ransohoff and Wyler postpone production until Burton completed The Night of the Iguana (1964, see entry) in Mexico, where she accompanied him during the shoot. The delays ultimately caused Wyler to drop out of the picture altogether, and the 23 Jul 1963 DV reported rumors that Taylor would also leave the project to be replaced by Kim Novak.
       Over the next few months, Filmways pushed ahead with location scouting and other pre-production work while the screenplay underwent revisions by Michael Wilson and Dalton Trumbo. According to the 21 Oct 1963 DV, Ransohoff had entered discussions with British director Tony Richardson and his Tom Jones (1963) star Albert Finney. Although the new script had since made its way back to Taylor, the 14 Feb 1964 and 23 Mar 1964 issues of DV indicated that Novak was still in the running, while another plan was devised to reunite The Sound of Music’s Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
       By summer, however, production moved from Columbia Pictures to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)—a 15 Sep 1964 DV report revealed that Ransohoff had bought back the property for $300,000 following disputes over costs related to the casting of Burton and Taylor, who had both become available. MGM presumably agreed to honor the couple’s salary demands, as the 29 Jun 1964 DV announced that they were confirmed to star for director Vincente Minnelli. A few weeks later, the 7 Jul 1964 and 16 Jul 1964 DV indicated that Gene Tierney and Carolyn Jones were originally considered to play Burton’s onscreen wife before the casting of Eva Marie Saint. The 12 Aug 1964 LAT claimed there was a role for Taylor’s longtime friend Montgomery Clift. Additionally, Sammy Davis, Jr. had agreed to take a hiatus from the Philadelphia, PA, tryout run of his Broadway play, The Golden Boy, to appear as “Cos Erickson,” but a 31 Aug 1964 DV article alleged that he was displeased with recent script revisions and unwilling to pay the $40,000 necessary to take a hiatus from The Golden Boy to shoot the role in its current iteration. The day after his departure, DV claimed that Sidney Poitier was considered to replace him, and actor Bill Gunn told the 4 Nov 1964 Var that his submission for the role was rejected in favor of Nat King Cole. The character was ultimately played by a white actor, Charles Bronson. Roddy McDowall also bowed out of the production, but the 10 Sep 1964 DV stated that he would follow Taylor to the set to continue filming her for a feature in Life magazine. Additional DV and Var casting announcements also named Joan Connors, Shirley Boone, Diane Sayer, Jean Houseman and son Michael Houseman among the cast along with Morgan Mason, son of actor James Mason.
       Principal photography began 7 Sep 1964, as stated in a DV production chart published four days later. Filming took place in Northern California at Monterey, Pebble Beach, Big Sur, and the Doud Estate outside Carmel. According to a 27 Feb 1964 DV article, Ransohoff planned to commission a special $40,000 portable soundstage that could be used to integrate the sets and exteriors on the actual locations; however, the 22 Sep 1964 LAT noted that a similar amount ($35,000) was used to purchase an existing glass cottage home for Taylor’s character, Laura Reynolds. The 28 Aug 1964 DV and 4 Oct 1964 LAT indicated that additional scenes were shot in West Covina, CA, and the California State Polytechnic University campus in Pomona.
       Early in production, the title was briefly changed to Flight of the Sandpiper when Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. and director Robert Wise filed an arbitration against MGM due to the title’s similarity to The Sand Pebbles (1966, see entry), which was based on an existing property.
       Just over a month after filming began, the 16 Oct 1964 DV reported the unit was moving to Paris, France, for interior shoots, which was done to abide by income tax laws limiting the number of days Burton and Taylor could work in the U.S. A 16 Nov 1964 LAT article stated that the production occupied stages at both the Studios de Saint-Maurice and Billancourt Studios, and included a replica of Big Sur’s famous Nepenthe restaurant used in one of the final sequences. On 7 Dec 1964, DV announced the completion of principal photography for $7.5 million.
       According to the 7 Oct 1964 Var, the six-foot redwood sculpture of Taylor created by Cos Erickson in the film was sculpted by California-based artist Edmund Kara and shipped to Paris for filming. The 2,200-pound piece was insured by Lloyd’s of London, England, for $100,000. A 20 Aug 1964 DV brief stated that additional costs were incurred when Burton upgraded his wardrobe budget by $10,000 to hire menswear designer Sy Devore. Despite these high costs, MGM planned to spend an additional $1 million on advertising and promotions, as stated in the 14 May 1965 DV. According to an earlier 2 Feb 1965 issue, this included a paperback novelization of the script by Martin Ransohoff.
       A 28 May 1965 DV story announced that the first public screening was scheduled for 4 Jun 1965 at the Golden Bough Cinema in Carmel with the hope of raising $10,000 for the Monterey County Symphony. First-run box-office reports in the 30 Jun 1965 Var indicated that the film had already been playing for one week in Washington, D.C. The first official premiere event took place 8 Jul 1965 at the Paramount Theatre in Hollywood, CA, with proceeds benefitting the Hemophilia Foundation of Southern California. Regular screenings were to begin at the same venue on 23 Jul 1965, while the New York City engagement began 15 Jul 1965 at the Radio City Music Hall.
       Composer Johnny Mandel received various accolades for both his music and the title theme song, “The Shadow Of Your Smile,” which he co-wrote with lyricist Paul Francis Webster. These included an Academy Award for Music (Song); Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Score – Motion Picture and Best Original Song – Motion Picture; and Grammy Awards for “Song of the Year” and Best Original Score. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
30 Apr 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
13 Dec 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
16 May 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
3 Jun 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
20 Jun 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
26 Jun 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
23 Jul 1963
p. 1.
Daily Variety
10 Sep 1963
p. 5.
Daily Variety
21 Oct 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
30 Oct 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 Feb 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
27 Feb 1964
p. 1.
Daily Variety
23 Mar 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
29 Jun 1964
p. 4.
Daily Variety
7 Jul 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Jul 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Aug 1964
p. 7.
Daily Variety
20 Aug 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
28 Aug 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
31 Aug 1964
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
1 Sep 1964
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
1 Sep 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 Sep 1964
p. 4.
Daily Variety
10 Sep 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
11 Sep 1964
p. 8.
Daily Variety
15 Sep 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
15 Sep 1964
p. 14.
Daily Variety
22 Sep 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
30 Sep 1964
p. 4.
Daily Variety
13 Oct 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Oct 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Dec 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
2 Feb 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 May 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
28 May 1965
p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
28 Feb 1962
Section C, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
12 Aug 1964
Section D, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
22 Sep 1964
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
4 Oct 1964
Section M, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
16 Nov 1964
Section C, p. 23.
Los Angeles Times
30 Jun 1965
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
8 Jul 1965
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
16 Jul 1965
Section C, p. 10.
New York Times
29 May 1963
p. 28.
New York Times
16 Jul 1965
p. 14.
Variety
5 Jun 1963
p. 5.
Variety
7 Oct 1964
p. 14.
Variety
4 Nov 1964
p. 2, 17.
Variety
23 Dec 1964
p. 15.
Variety
24 Jun 1965
p. 3.
Variety
30 Jun 1965
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Martin Ransohoff Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Coord of the Big Sur scene
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Wildlife photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
SOUND
Rec supv
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Supv prod exec
Coöp
Laura's paintings
Redwood sculpture
Title art
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Shadow of Your Smile," music by Johnny Mandel, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Flight of the Sandpiper
Release Date:
23 June 1965
Premiere Information:
Carmel benefit screening: 4 June 1965
Washington, D.C. opening: 23 June 1965
Los Angeles premiere: 8 July 1965
New York opening: 15 July 1965
Production Date:
7 September--7 December 1964
Copyright Claimant:
Venice Productions
Copyright Date:
15 June 1965
Copyright Number:
LP30828
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
Metrocolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
116
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Laura Reynolds, a freethinking artist, lives with her 9-year-old illegitimate son, Danny, in a beach house near Monterey. The boy's uninhibited upbringing has brought him into conflict with the law, and Laura is ordered by the court to enroll him in the private school headed by Episcopal clergyman Edward Hewitt or risk losing him. Convinced that she can better educate the boy herself, she complies reluctantly, resentful of the judge's interference. She is surprised, however, at the ease with which Danny settles down to the school routine. Despite the initial hostility between Laura and Hewitt, who is married and the father of two boys, they are drawn into a passionate love affair. Antagonized by her nonconformist friends, Hewitt nevertheless yields to his passion, though he is tormented by guilt and humiliation. He reveals his affair to his wife, Claire, who withdraws, brokenhearted; and he subsequently makes a public admission. Laura condemns him for making their private relationship into public gossip, and they sever their liaison. Hewitt now confronts the self-seeking politicians who have been using him and his school for their own ends, and he resigns his headmastership. Leaving both Claire and Laura behind, he sets off to regain his former ideals as a ... +


Laura Reynolds, a freethinking artist, lives with her 9-year-old illegitimate son, Danny, in a beach house near Monterey. The boy's uninhibited upbringing has brought him into conflict with the law, and Laura is ordered by the court to enroll him in the private school headed by Episcopal clergyman Edward Hewitt or risk losing him. Convinced that she can better educate the boy herself, she complies reluctantly, resentful of the judge's interference. She is surprised, however, at the ease with which Danny settles down to the school routine. Despite the initial hostility between Laura and Hewitt, who is married and the father of two boys, they are drawn into a passionate love affair. Antagonized by her nonconformist friends, Hewitt nevertheless yields to his passion, though he is tormented by guilt and humiliation. He reveals his affair to his wife, Claire, who withdraws, brokenhearted; and he subsequently makes a public admission. Laura condemns him for making their private relationship into public gossip, and they sever their liaison. Hewitt now confronts the self-seeking politicians who have been using him and his school for their own ends, and he resigns his headmastership. Leaving both Claire and Laura behind, he sets off to regain his former ideals as a minister. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.