The April Fools (1969)

95 mins | Romantic comedy | 28 May 1969

Director:

Stuart Rosenberg

Writer:

Hal Dresner

Producer:

Gordon Carroll

Cinematographer:

Michel Hugo

Editor:

Robert Wyman

Production Designer:

Richard Sylbert

Production Companies:

Jalem Productions, Inc., Cinema Center Films
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HISTORY

In summer 1965, Jack Lemmon’s production company, Jalem Productions, Inc., acquired Hal Dresner’s screen story, The April Fools, as a starring vehicle for Lemmon, according to a 10 Aug 1965 DV news item. The following year, a 14 Mar 1966 DV brief announced that Universal Pictures had a film in development also titled The April Fools, conceived by Steve Previn; however, the 5 Oct 1966 DV reported that the Jalem project had registered the title first, forcing Universal to rename their film.
       The 30 Dec 1967 LAT stated that The April Fools would be the first in a four-picture deal recently negotiated between Jalem and CBS Theatrical Films. Twelve weeks of principal photography were slated to begin on 1 Apr 1968, with Stuart Rosenberg directing, the 9 Jan 1968 DV reported. Jane Fonda was approached to co-star with Lemmon, but the actress had to decline due to her pregnancy, according to the 7 Mar 1968 DV. Shirley MacLaine, who had acted opposite Lemmon in The Apartment (1960, see entry) and Irma La Douce (1963, see entry), was then offered the role, but an item in the 4 Jun 1968 DV stated that MacLaine would be unavailable due to her shooting schedule on Sweet Charity (1969, see entry). Catherine Deneuve’s casting in the role of “Catherine Gunther” was confirmed in the 25 Jun 1968 DV, which indicated that The April Fools would mark her American motion picture debut.
       Due to his growing concern over civil rights issues, Jack ... More Less

In summer 1965, Jack Lemmon’s production company, Jalem Productions, Inc., acquired Hal Dresner’s screen story, The April Fools, as a starring vehicle for Lemmon, according to a 10 Aug 1965 DV news item. The following year, a 14 Mar 1966 DV brief announced that Universal Pictures had a film in development also titled The April Fools, conceived by Steve Previn; however, the 5 Oct 1966 DV reported that the Jalem project had registered the title first, forcing Universal to rename their film.
       The 30 Dec 1967 LAT stated that The April Fools would be the first in a four-picture deal recently negotiated between Jalem and CBS Theatrical Films. Twelve weeks of principal photography were slated to begin on 1 Apr 1968, with Stuart Rosenberg directing, the 9 Jan 1968 DV reported. Jane Fonda was approached to co-star with Lemmon, but the actress had to decline due to her pregnancy, according to the 7 Mar 1968 DV. Shirley MacLaine, who had acted opposite Lemmon in The Apartment (1960, see entry) and Irma La Douce (1963, see entry), was then offered the role, but an item in the 4 Jun 1968 DV stated that MacLaine would be unavailable due to her shooting schedule on Sweet Charity (1969, see entry). Catherine Deneuve’s casting in the role of “Catherine Gunther” was confirmed in the 25 Jun 1968 DV, which indicated that The April Fools would mark her American motion picture debut.
       Due to his growing concern over civil rights issues, Jack Lemmon pledged half his salary from the film to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Christian Leadership Conference. According to an item in the 12 Aug 1968 LAT, the promised donation would amount to somewhere between $350,000 and $500,000.
       Filming began in New York City on 22 Jul 1968, as announced in a 26 Jul 1968 DV production chart. An article in the 18 Aug 1968 NYT indicated that airport scenes were shot at the TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, NY. While on the East Coast, filmmakers also shot in Connecticut, as stated in the 12 Aug 1968 DV. Over the weekend of 10-11 Aug 1968, the production relocated to Los Angeles, CA, where some filming was set to take place at the CBS Studio Center in Studio City, CA. The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena also served as a location, the 19 Sep 1968 LAT indicated. The completion of filming was announced in the 23 Oct 1968 Var.
       Set decorations entailed “a lot of art,” as stated in a 29 Jul 1968 LAT item. Works provided by art dealer Felix Landau included a sculpture by Frank Gallo and a painting of a nude by James Gill. Lemmon’s wardrobe consisted of ten identical suits, according to the 5 Dec 1968 LAT, which noted that his character does not change in the thirty-six hours depicted onscreen.
       As stated in the 16 Apr 1969 Var, title footage was supplied by Pablo Ferro Films.
       Burt Bacharach, who co-wrote the theme song, “The April Fools,” with Hal David, was originally set to score the film, according to the 17 Jul 1968 DV, while Dionne Warwick was slated to record vocals for the title song, as noted in the 17 Apr 1969 DV.
       In the wake of lackluster reviews, a box-office chart in the 7 Jan 1970 Var listed The April Fools as the twenty-first highest-grossing picture of 1969, with cumulative film rentals of $4.5 million, to date.
       According to the 31 May 1968 DV, Milton Berle was considered for a role. Other items published in DV and LAT between 7 Aug 1968 and 23 Sep 1968 listed the following performers as cast members: Ralph Wainwright; Poupée Bocar; Joe Palma , who was also said to be serving as Lemmon’s secretary; the fourteen-man San Gabriel Valley Eagles ice hockey team; magicians Dai Vernon, Lee Sprague, Nino Guerrero, Bob Fitch, and Jack Adams; Frank Raiter; Johnny Francis; Tommy Strode; John Breckfield; and Thordis Brandt. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Aug 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 Mar 1966
p. 13.
Daily Variety
5 Oct 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Jan 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
7 Mar 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
2 May 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
31 May 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Jun 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
25 Jun 1968
p. 5.
Daily Variety
8 Jul 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 Jul 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
25 Jul 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
26 Jul 1968
p. 10.
Daily Variety
7 Aug 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1968
p. 1, 11.
Daily Variety
30 Aug 1968
p. 15.
Daily Variety
4 Sep 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Sep 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
17 Sep 1968
p. 6.
Daily Variety
19 Sep 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Sep 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
17 Apr 1969
p. 18.
Daily Variety
28 May 1969
p. 3, 15.
Los Angeles Times
30 Dec 1967
p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
29 Jul 1968
Section G, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
12 Aug 1968
Section C, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
14 Aug 1968
Section G, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
21 Aug 1968
Section A, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
19 Sep 1968
Section E, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
5 Dec 1968
Section A, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
25 Jun 1969
Section D, p. 13.
New York Times
18 Aug 1968
Section D, p. 13.
New York Times
29 May 1969
p. 43.
Variety
17 Jul 1968
p. 26.
Variety
23 Oct 1968
p. 20.
Variety
16 Apr 1969
p. 26.
Variety
14 May 1969
p. 19.
Variety
7 Jan 1970
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Story-scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's cost
Women's cost
MUSIC
Mus comp
SOUND
Sd mix
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstyles
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Prop master
SOURCES
SONGS
"The April Fools," words by Hal David, music by Burt Bacharach.
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 May 1969
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 28 May 1969
Los Angeles opening: 25 June 1969
Production Date:
22 July--mid October 1968
Copyright Claimant:
Jalem Productions
Copyright Date:
28 May 1969
Copyright Number:
LP36888
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
95
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22161
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Howard Brubaker, a successful Wall Street broker, lives in Darien, Connecticut, with his preoccupied suburban housewife, Phyllis, and a son who ignores him. While attending a cocktail party given by his boss, Ted Gunther, Howard meets Gunther's French-born wife, Catherine. Unaware of her true identity, he invites her out for a drink at a discotheque, and they meet amateur astrologer Grace Greenlaw. Later, at the Greenlaws' mansion, Howard tells Catherine that he has always felt like the fairy-tale prince who has been turned into a frog and must wait for the kiss of a princess to restore him. Catherine reveals that her marriage is miserable and that she is planning to return to Paris the next day. After delivering Catherine to her apartment, Howard wanders into Central Park and decides to quit his job and go to Paris. He confronts Gunther with the news that he is quitting, then returns to Catherine with a toy frog and confesses his love. Undeterred by the knowledge that she is Gunther's wife, he agrees to meet her at Kennedy Airport. As Catherine tries to convince her husband that she is actually leaving him, Howard takes a drunken train ride with his friend, lawyer Potter Shrader, who advises him on obtaining a divorce. His wife greets the news with apparent indifference, and Howard, finally realizing that his marriage is meaningless, races to the airport. Just before take-off, Howard leaps aboard the plane in time to take the place of the toy frog that Catherine has placed in the seat next to ... +


Howard Brubaker, a successful Wall Street broker, lives in Darien, Connecticut, with his preoccupied suburban housewife, Phyllis, and a son who ignores him. While attending a cocktail party given by his boss, Ted Gunther, Howard meets Gunther's French-born wife, Catherine. Unaware of her true identity, he invites her out for a drink at a discotheque, and they meet amateur astrologer Grace Greenlaw. Later, at the Greenlaws' mansion, Howard tells Catherine that he has always felt like the fairy-tale prince who has been turned into a frog and must wait for the kiss of a princess to restore him. Catherine reveals that her marriage is miserable and that she is planning to return to Paris the next day. After delivering Catherine to her apartment, Howard wanders into Central Park and decides to quit his job and go to Paris. He confronts Gunther with the news that he is quitting, then returns to Catherine with a toy frog and confesses his love. Undeterred by the knowledge that she is Gunther's wife, he agrees to meet her at Kennedy Airport. As Catherine tries to convince her husband that she is actually leaving him, Howard takes a drunken train ride with his friend, lawyer Potter Shrader, who advises him on obtaining a divorce. His wife greets the news with apparent indifference, and Howard, finally realizing that his marriage is meaningless, races to the airport. Just before take-off, Howard leaps aboard the plane in time to take the place of the toy frog that Catherine has placed in the seat next to her. +

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

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