Love Story (1970)

GP | 100 mins | Romance | 16 December 1970

Director:

Arthur Hiller

Writer:

Erich Segal

Producer:

Howard G. Minsky

Cinematographer:

Dick Kratina

Editor:

Robert C. Jones

Production Designer:

Robert Gundlach

Production Company:

Love Story Co.
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HISTORY

The title, Love Story, appears at the beginning of the film. All other credits are presented at the end. The story begins with a voiceover by Ryan O’Neal’s character, “Oliver Barrett, IV”: “What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart, and Bach, the Beatles, and me?”
       Robert Evans, Paramount Pictures’ worldwide production vice president, told the 7 May 1969 LAT that he bought Erich Segal’s screenplay, Love Story, with his current girl friend, Ali MacGraw, “in mind” for the leading role. Two weeks later, the 21 May 1969 Var remarked that the “racially versatile” MacGraw, a thirty-year-old former model “from a Scots-English background,” would follow her role as “a Jewish princess” in Goodbye, Columbus (1969, see entry) by portraying “a college student of Italian extraction.” According to film critic Vincent Canby in the 10 Jan 1971 NYT, however, Segal originally created “Jenny Cavilleri” as a poor Jewish girl from the Bronx, NY, but Paramount executives, “for reasons of their own,” changed her to an Italian girl from Cranston, RI. Robert Evans, who would marry MacGraw several weeks before production began, hoped to pair her with “a sensitive young actor like Beau Bridges or Jon Voight,” and wanted Larry Peerce, who directed MacGraw in Goodbye, Columbus, to helm the movie. French composer Charles Aznavour and American songwriter Jimmy Webb were separately signed to write the film’s theme and title song, according to the 24 Dec 1969 and 22 May 1970 issues of DV. However, none of these men were involved with the ... More Less

The title, Love Story, appears at the beginning of the film. All other credits are presented at the end. The story begins with a voiceover by Ryan O’Neal’s character, “Oliver Barrett, IV”: “What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart, and Bach, the Beatles, and me?”
       Robert Evans, Paramount Pictures’ worldwide production vice president, told the 7 May 1969 LAT that he bought Erich Segal’s screenplay, Love Story, with his current girl friend, Ali MacGraw, “in mind” for the leading role. Two weeks later, the 21 May 1969 Var remarked that the “racially versatile” MacGraw, a thirty-year-old former model “from a Scots-English background,” would follow her role as “a Jewish princess” in Goodbye, Columbus (1969, see entry) by portraying “a college student of Italian extraction.” According to film critic Vincent Canby in the 10 Jan 1971 NYT, however, Segal originally created “Jenny Cavilleri” as a poor Jewish girl from the Bronx, NY, but Paramount executives, “for reasons of their own,” changed her to an Italian girl from Cranston, RI. Robert Evans, who would marry MacGraw several weeks before production began, hoped to pair her with “a sensitive young actor like Beau Bridges or Jon Voight,” and wanted Larry Peerce, who directed MacGraw in Goodbye, Columbus, to helm the movie. French composer Charles Aznavour and American songwriter Jimmy Webb were separately signed to write the film’s theme and title song, according to the 24 Dec 1969 and 22 May 1970 issues of DV. However, none of these men were involved with the final production.
       Although Erich Segal wrote and sold Love Story as a screenplay, he later turned it into a short novel published by Harper & Row on 4 Feb 1969, as well as a short-story “condensation” in the Feb 1969 issue of Ladies Home Journal, the 10 Dec 1969 Var reported. A full-page advertisement in the 8 May 1970 DV proclaimed that the “motion picture adaptation” of the “National No. 1 Best Seller” would be in theaters by Christmas. According to the 19 Aug 1970 Var, the New American Library’s Signet imprint would print 3,500,000 paperback copies of Love Story a month before the film’s opening, but the 9 Dec 1970 Var noted that the printing had already exceeded five million copies.
       Principal photography began 18 Nov 1969 in Boston, MA, according to a production chart in the 19 Dec 1969 DV. Harvard University’s Donald C. Watson ice rink at 65 N. Harvard Street in Allston, MA, was used for several scenes, and students from several colleges filled the stands as background actors. Harvard ice hockey coach, Olympic skater William Cleary, stunt-doubled for Ryan O’Neal and served as one of the film’s technical advisors. The production also used Harvard Yard, the center of the Harvard campus in Cambridge, MA, and nearby Radcliff College. A Victorian boarding house at 119 Oxford Street in Cambridge was used as the lead characters’ first home following their marriage, and MacGraw sat on its front steps when she uttered the film’s iconic line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” The 17 Dec 1969 Var noted that production had moved to New York City, where filming was expected to last into Jan 1970. Paramount headquarters at 1501 Broadway was used as the offices of Harvard University’s “Dean’ Thompson” and “Oliver Barrett III.” Other New York City locations included Central Park, Mt. Sinai Medical Center’s Klingenstein Pavilion on Fifth Avenue, and Fordham University in the Bronx (where the exterior of the Harvard ice rink was shot). The Barrett mansion was filmed at an estate in Old Westbury, Long Island, New York. An item in the 5 Feb 1970 DV mentioned that producer Howard G. Minsky and director Arthur Hiller had returned to Hollywood from New York, having ostensibly finished shooting, but the 6 Mar 1970 DV reported that additional scenes were being filmed in Newport Beach, CA, which was “doubling Cape Cod,” MA. Adolph Zukor, Paramount’s ninety-seven-year-old founder, visited the production at Newport Beach on the final day of shooting, the 2 Apr 1970 LAT noted. According to the 30 Dec 1970 DV, the budget was $2.26 million.
       In a commentary track accompanying Paramount’s 2001 DVD release of Love Story, Hiller claimed he originally auditioned six actors for the Oliver Barrett, IV role, including Beau Bridges, Michael York, and Christopher Walken. When he settled on Ryan O’Neal, he rehearsed the actor and Ali MacGraw for ten days, because he wanted them to be friends before filming began. When he assembled his first cut of the film for Paramount executives, Hiller placed the doctor’s office scene in which Oliver learns about Jenny’s fatal disease at the beginning, but everyone felt the result was “flat” because nobody at that point cared about Jenny’s character. Moving the scene two-thirds of the way into the story solved the problem.
       Love Story was Tom (Tommy) Lee Jones’s first feature film. He graduated from Harvard University several months before filming began.
       The 17 Dec 1970 DV announced that Love Story premiered in New York City the night before. On the West Coast, it opened as “an exclusive engagement” in Westwood, CA, on Christmas Day. The 15 Jan 1971 LAT noted that the film was selected to be shown at that year’s Royal Command Performance, attended by Queen Elizabeth, in London, England. Ryan O’Neal and other stars from the film were also present. The 6 Jan 1971 Var summed up the film’s early success by predicting it “may join the ranks of those ‘dream’ grossers, judging by its initial record-breaking business.” In the first two weeks of release, Love Story “earned back its negative and print cost.” By Jul 1971, the film had made $50 million.
       Love Story was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture; Directing (Arthur Hiller); Actor (Ryan O’Neal); Actress (Ali MacGraw); Actor in a Supporting Role (John Marley); and Writing (Story and Screenplay—based on factual material or material not previously published or produced) (Erich Segal). Francis Lai won the film’s only Academy Award, for Music (Original Score).
       AFI ranked Love Story #9 on its “100 Years…100 Passions” list, and Ali MacGraw’s line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” was #13 on its “100 Years…100 Movie Quotes” list. The quote was so popular, and maligned, that director Peter Bogdanovich used it to set up the final punch line of his 1972 comedy, What’s Up, Doc? (see entry). In that film, Barbra Streisand’s “Jody Maxwell” tells Ryan O’Neal’s “Howard Bannister” that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” and he answers, “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
7 May 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
2 Jun 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Dec 1969.
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Dec 1969
p. 10.
Daily Variety
24 Dec 1969
p. 10.
Daily Variety
20 Jan 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
28 Jan 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
6 Mar 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Feb 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 May 1970
p. 24.
Daily Variety
22 May 1970
p. 3.
Daily Variety
15 Sep 1970
p. 12.
Daily Variety
17 Dec 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
30 Dec 1970
p. 6.
Daily Variety
10 Nov 1971
p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
7 May 1969
Section E., p. 28.
Los Angeles Times
4 Nov 1969
Section E., p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
2 Apr 1970
Section D, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
6 Dec 1970
Section V, p. 31.
Los Angeles Times
8 Dec 1970
Section I, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
15 Jan 1971
Section H, p. 12.
New York Times
27 Jan 1970
p. 38.
New York Times
18 Dec 1970
p. 44.
New York Times
10 Jan 1971
Section D, p. 1.
Variety
21 May 1969
p. 26.
Variety
12 Nov 1969
p. 17.
Variety
10 Dec 1969
p. 75.
Variety
17 Dec 1969
p. 28.
Variety
19 Aug 1970
p. 60.
Variety
9 Dec 1970
p. 60.
Variety
6 Jan 1971
p. 5.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Starring:
as Jenny
And
as Oliver Barrett III
With:
as Dean Thompson
as Dr. Shapeley
[and]
as Dr. Addison
Oliver's roommates:
as Ray
Tom Lee Jones
as Hank
+

PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
In a Howard G. Minsky Arthur Hiller Production
Produced in association with the Love Story Company
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Key grip
Gaffer
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward
Ryan O'Neal's ward furnished by
MUSIC
Concerto no. 3 in d major
Sonata in f major
"Lo! a fair rose is blooming"
"Joy to the world"
Lyrics
SOUND
Sd rec by
Sd rec by
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Casting
Tech adv, hockey seq
Tech adv, hockey seq
Unit pub
Unit pub
SOURCES
SONGS
"Concerto No. 3 In D Major," by Johann Sebastian Bach
"Sonata In F Major," by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
"Lo! A Fair Rose Is Blooming," by Michael Praetorius
+
SONGS
"Concerto No. 3 In D Major," by Johann Sebastian Bach
"Sonata In F Major," by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
"Lo! A Fair Rose Is Blooming," by Michael Praetorius
"Joy To The World," by George Frederick Handel
lyrics by Isaac Watts.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 December 1970
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 16 December 1970
Los Angeles opening: 25 December 1970
Production Date:
18 November 1969 - January 1970
additional scenes filmed in March 1970
Copyright Claimant:
Love Story Co.
Copyright Date:
20 October 1970
Copyright Number:
LP38327
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
print by Movielab
Duration(in mins):
100
MPAA Rating:
GP
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22601
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Harvard University student and hockey player Oliver Barrett IV visits the Radcliffe College library and meets music major Jenny Cavilleri, who works there to help pay tuition. Despite the fact that he is from a distinguished, wealthy Boston, Massachusetts, family and she is the daughter of a poor Italian baker from Rhode Island, they are attracted to each other. After several months together, Jenny tells Oliver that she has received a scholarship to study music in Paris, France; instead of pursuing her studies, however, she accepts Oliver's proposal of marriage. Although they receive her father's blessings, Oliver's father threatens to disinherit him. Nevertheless, the young couple is married in a simple ceremony. After graduation, Oliver applies for a grant to law school, but the dean refuses to accept his financial separation from his father as evidence of his need for the money. To meet the costs of school and rent, they move into a poor section of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Jenny goes to work as a schoolteacher. When Oliver finally completes law school, they move to New York City, where he enters a prestigious law firm, and they happily plan a family. One day, Oliver is called into the office of Jenny's doctor, who tells him that Jenny is dying. Shocked and heartbroken, Oliver tries to hide the truth until he finds that Jenny already knows. The couple faces the inevitable prospect of death. Because he needs a great deal of money for medical expenses, Oliver visits his father and borrows $5,000, although he does not explain the reason for the loan or apologize for not communicating with him. Soon, Jenny is in the hospital, and dies in Oliver's ... +


Harvard University student and hockey player Oliver Barrett IV visits the Radcliffe College library and meets music major Jenny Cavilleri, who works there to help pay tuition. Despite the fact that he is from a distinguished, wealthy Boston, Massachusetts, family and she is the daughter of a poor Italian baker from Rhode Island, they are attracted to each other. After several months together, Jenny tells Oliver that she has received a scholarship to study music in Paris, France; instead of pursuing her studies, however, she accepts Oliver's proposal of marriage. Although they receive her father's blessings, Oliver's father threatens to disinherit him. Nevertheless, the young couple is married in a simple ceremony. After graduation, Oliver applies for a grant to law school, but the dean refuses to accept his financial separation from his father as evidence of his need for the money. To meet the costs of school and rent, they move into a poor section of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Jenny goes to work as a schoolteacher. When Oliver finally completes law school, they move to New York City, where he enters a prestigious law firm, and they happily plan a family. One day, Oliver is called into the office of Jenny's doctor, who tells him that Jenny is dying. Shocked and heartbroken, Oliver tries to hide the truth until he finds that Jenny already knows. The couple faces the inevitable prospect of death. Because he needs a great deal of money for medical expenses, Oliver visits his father and borrows $5,000, although he does not explain the reason for the loan or apologize for not communicating with him. Soon, Jenny is in the hospital, and dies in Oliver's arms. As Oliver leaves, his father arrives to console him, but Oliver rejects the reconciliation, walks to Central Park, and there recalls his brief life with Jenny. +

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

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