The Poppy Is Also a Flower (1966)

100 mins | Drama | October 1966

Director:

Terence Young

Producer:

Euan Lloyd

Cinematographer:

Henri Alekan

Production Designers:

Maurice Colasson, Tony Roman

Production Company:

Telsun Foundation
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HISTORY

The 1 Sep 1965 Var announced the project as a television special financed by the United Nations (UN) and Xerox Corporation. The script, based on a scenario by the late Ian Fleming, was credited to Jack Davies and Joe Eisinger. Davies did not receive onscreen credit. The 27 Aug 1965 DV noted the expected 13 Sep 1965 start of principal photography. Locations included France, Monaco, Iran, and Naples, Italy. The picture was referenced by its alternate title, Poppies Are Also Flowers.
       The 6 Oct 1965 Var and 25 Oct 1965 LAT included Frank Sinatra, Alec Guiness, Sterling Hayden, and Richard Widmark among the cast. The 10 Nov 1965 Var noted that Princess Grace de Monaco, formerly known as Grace Kelly, would make her first screen appearance since retiring in 1956. Business consultant Anna Rosenberg Hoffman was also involved in the production, although her contribution was not specified. The 23 Sep 1965 DV reported that singer Trini Lopez cancelled a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS, 20 Jun 1948--6 Jun 1971) to appear in the film. He was due in Monte Carlo, Monaco, the following weekend. A 1 Dec 1965 Var news item noted that actor Marcello Mastroianni played a brief scene at Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy. The production then moved to Tehran, Iran, according to the 8 Dec 1965 Var. Filming was completed in the final days of 1965, as reported in the 5 Jan 1966 LAT. Weeks later, however, ... More Less

The 1 Sep 1965 Var announced the project as a television special financed by the United Nations (UN) and Xerox Corporation. The script, based on a scenario by the late Ian Fleming, was credited to Jack Davies and Joe Eisinger. Davies did not receive onscreen credit. The 27 Aug 1965 DV noted the expected 13 Sep 1965 start of principal photography. Locations included France, Monaco, Iran, and Naples, Italy. The picture was referenced by its alternate title, Poppies Are Also Flowers.
       The 6 Oct 1965 Var and 25 Oct 1965 LAT included Frank Sinatra, Alec Guiness, Sterling Hayden, and Richard Widmark among the cast. The 10 Nov 1965 Var noted that Princess Grace de Monaco, formerly known as Grace Kelly, would make her first screen appearance since retiring in 1956. Business consultant Anna Rosenberg Hoffman was also involved in the production, although her contribution was not specified. The 23 Sep 1965 DV reported that singer Trini Lopez cancelled a performance on The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS, 20 Jun 1948--6 Jun 1971) to appear in the film. He was due in Monte Carlo, Monaco, the following weekend. A 1 Dec 1965 Var news item noted that actor Marcello Mastroianni played a brief scene at Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy. The production then moved to Tehran, Iran, according to the 8 Dec 1965 Var. Filming was completed in the final days of 1965, as reported in the 5 Jan 1966 LAT. Weeks later, however, the 17 Mar 1966 DV stated that additional photography in Los Angeles, CA, would conclude the next day. Euan Lloyd told the 30 Mar 1966 Var that the final scenes, which featured Gilbert Roland and E. G. Marshall, were shot at Columbia Studios under the direction of Henry Levin. The $1.8 million budget was comprised of $600,000 from Xerox and $1.2 million from the city of Vienna, Austria. The picture, completed over a period of nine months, was currently being edited in France.
       While filming was still underway, the 22 Dec 1965 Var reported that several European distributors, including the J. Arthur Rank Organisation, Gaumont Film Company, and Rizzoli Film, had spent a total of more than $1 million to secure territorial rights. Proceeds were allocated to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), which was anticipating another $2 million in “supplementary theatrical rights.” In an interview with the 17 Apr 1966 LAT, director Terence Young commended cast members for their dedication, particularly Omar Sharif, who played his scenes on weekends while making Doctor Zhivago (1965, see entry) in Spain, and Yul Brynner, who made five trips between Europe and the U.S. at his own expense. Young also complimented the government of Iran, which was the only opium-producing country at that time to allow UN supervision of its crop. He revealed that scenarist Ian Fleming was quite knowledgeable about the illegal opium trade, and that much of the film was based on fact, such as the concept of infusing of raw opium with radioactive material. Young was preparing a truncated version of the film for its television debut, which would be expanded to nearly two hours for theatrical release. According to the 19 Nov 1966 Var, Young was asked to direct by Adlai Stevenson, a former U.S. envoy to the United Nations. The director reportedly received $1.00 for his six-week tenure with the production.
       The 16 Feb 1966 Var noted that the proposed European title was Flowers of Evil. This provoked indignation from filmmaker Sam Fuller, who was in France developing a production by the same name. Because the phrase was originated by the nineteenth-century poet Baudelaire, it had long since entered the public domain.
       An eighty-minute version of The Poppy Is Also a Flower debuted 22 Apr 1966 on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) to positive reviews. The event was sponsored by Xerox, which paid $200,000 for the time slot, as reported in the 19 Jan 1966 Var. Eli Wallach’s performance won him an Emmy Award for Supporting Dramatic Actor.
       The theatrical version premiered 7 May 1966 at the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna, Austria. As reported in the 18 May 1966 Var, the $90,000 event was attended by several cast members, along with Austrian president Franz Jonas, and actors Sean Connery, Maximilian Schell, and Gina Lollobrigida. Although the article stated that featured actors were paid only one U.S. dollar or its equivalent, the 9 Feb 1966 Var claimed that they received union scale. The 28 Sep 1966 issue noted that footage added to the theatrical edit was integral to the storyline, but considered “too adult” for general television audiences.
       The 5 Oct 1966 Var announced openings in Chicago, IL, and Dallas, TX, later that month. A New York City debut followed on 13 Dec 1967. According to the 28 Dec 1966 Var, major U.S. distributors believed the film had poor theatrical prospects following its television debut. The picture was acquired by Harold Roth, president of independent distributor Comet Films, who anticipated $2 million in theatrical rentals by the end of 1967. Rental fees already totaled $500,000 at the time of the article. The 19 Nov 1966 Var reported worldwide gross receipts of $6 million, $1 million of which had been allocated to UNICEF.
       The 21 Jul 1967 DV announced that Terence Young and Yul Brynner were to receive gold medals at the upcoming Taormina Film Festival in Italy, for participating in the charitable endeavor for virtually no pay.
       The 19 Oct 1966 Var credited radio personality Jim Ameche with providing voice narration on theatrical trailers and broadcast advertising.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 Aug 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 Sep 1965
p. 9.
Daily Variety
28 Dec 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 Mar 1966
p. 8.
Daily Variety
25 Apr 1966
p. 8.
Daily Variety
5 Jun 1967
p. 14.
Daily Variety
21 Jul 1967
p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
18 Sep 1965
Section B, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1965
Section C, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
5 Jan 1966
Section D, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
17 Apr 1966
Section A, p. 2.
New York Times
14 Jan 1966
p. 79.
New York Times
16 Jan 1966
Section X, p. 19, 29.
New York Times
18 Apr 1966
p. 59.
New York Times
13 Dec 1967
p. 54.
Variety
1 Sep 1965
p. 35.
Variety
6 Oct 1965
p. 77.
Variety
10 Nov 1965
p. 18.
Variety
1 Dec 1965
p. 69.
Variety
8 Dec 1965
p. 75.
Variety
22 Dec 1965
p. 1.
Variety
19 Jan 1966
p. 34.
Variety
9 Feb 1966
p. 40.
Variety
16 Feb 1966
p. 27.
Variety
30 Mar 1966
p. 50.
Variety
18 May 1966
p. 11.
Variety
28 Sep 1966
p. 18.
Variety
5 Oct 1966
p. 22.
Variety
19 Oct 1966
p. 16.
Variety
19 Nov 1966
p. 28.
Variety
23 Nov 1966
p. 26.
Variety
28 Dec 1966
p. 13.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANIES
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2nd unit dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
U. N. delegate prod
WRITERS
Story idea
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2nd unit photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Poppies Are Also Flowers
Flowers of Evil
Release Date:
October 1966
Premiere Information:
Chicago and Dallas openings: Oct 1966; New York opening: 13 Dec 1967
Production Date:
13 Sep--late Dec 1965; additional scenes completed 18 Mar 1966
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastmancolor
Duration(in mins):
100
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When Benson, a U. S. narcotics investigator, is killed in the Iranian desert after offering to buy opium from a nomadic tribal chief, the United Nations sends agents Lincoln and Jones to smash the dope ring. Their trail leads first to Tehran, where they meet Linda, who, after claiming to be Benson's widow, disappears. The agents plot with U. N. scientists to intercept a cargo of opium, mark it with radioactive tracers, and use Geiger counters to follow it through underworld channels to the drug traffic center. For a while the agents maintain contact with the cargo but then lose it. Eventually the Naples police report having seized the cargo, which is traced to Marco, a wealthy playboy in Monte Carlo. Lincoln finds Marco aboard his yacht, hosting a party attended by Linda, and he questions Marco's wife, Monique, who is a drug addict. The following morning Lincoln's dead body is found, and Jones continues the pursuit alone. He tracks Marco to a Paris-bound train, where he again meets Linda, and she reveals herself to be a U. N. agent. After escaping an attack by Marco's henchmen, they return to Marco's yacht and succeed in implicating him in both the murder and the narcotics ... +


When Benson, a U. S. narcotics investigator, is killed in the Iranian desert after offering to buy opium from a nomadic tribal chief, the United Nations sends agents Lincoln and Jones to smash the dope ring. Their trail leads first to Tehran, where they meet Linda, who, after claiming to be Benson's widow, disappears. The agents plot with U. N. scientists to intercept a cargo of opium, mark it with radioactive tracers, and use Geiger counters to follow it through underworld channels to the drug traffic center. For a while the agents maintain contact with the cargo but then lose it. Eventually the Naples police report having seized the cargo, which is traced to Marco, a wealthy playboy in Monte Carlo. Lincoln finds Marco aboard his yacht, hosting a party attended by Linda, and he questions Marco's wife, Monique, who is a drug addict. The following morning Lincoln's dead body is found, and Jones continues the pursuit alone. He tracks Marco to a Paris-bound train, where he again meets Linda, and she reveals herself to be a U. N. agent. After escaping an attack by Marco's henchmen, they return to Marco's yacht and succeed in implicating him in both the murder and the narcotics ring. +

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.