John and Mary (1969)

R | 92 mins | Drama | 14 December 1969

Director:

Peter Yates

Writer:

John Mortimer

Producer:

Ben Kadish

Cinematographer:

Gayne Rescher

Editor:

Frank P. Keller

Production Designer:

John Robert Lloyd

Production Company:

Debrod Productions
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HISTORY

John and Mary, based on Mervyn Jones’s 1966 novel of the same name, was originally slated to be shot in London, England, where the novel is set. According to a 29 Jan 1969 Var article, director Anthony Harvey was the first to option screen rights, and later paired with producer Ben Kadish. Two sets of writing teams made failed attempts at adapting the script before John Mortimer was hired. Kadish eventually took over the film option from Anthony Harvey, who was later replaced by Peter Yates, as reported in a 5 Nov 1968 LAT item. In the meantime, Warren Beatty and then girl friend Julie Christie considered starring as “John” and “Mary.” Since the film was without a director at that time, Beatty suggested Jack Clayton, but Clayton had to pass on the project because his mother was ill. Beatty and Christie withdrew their interest, and Kadish subsequently decided to move the setting to New York City. Peter Yates was later quoted in a 28 Dec 1969 LAT article, stating that the location was changed to avoid the recently popularized cliché of “swinging London.” According to the 14 Dec 1969 LAT review, the final film did not adhere closely to Jones’s novel.
       Mia Farrow’s casting was announced in the 16 Oct 1968 DV. Dustin Hoffman’s agreement to co-star was finalized one month later, the 20 Nov 1968 DV stated. During filming, Hoffman appeared in nightly performances of the stage play, Jimmy Shine, which ran from 5 Dec 1968 to 26 Apr 1969 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway.
       Principal photography began ... More Less

John and Mary, based on Mervyn Jones’s 1966 novel of the same name, was originally slated to be shot in London, England, where the novel is set. According to a 29 Jan 1969 Var article, director Anthony Harvey was the first to option screen rights, and later paired with producer Ben Kadish. Two sets of writing teams made failed attempts at adapting the script before John Mortimer was hired. Kadish eventually took over the film option from Anthony Harvey, who was later replaced by Peter Yates, as reported in a 5 Nov 1968 LAT item. In the meantime, Warren Beatty and then girl friend Julie Christie considered starring as “John” and “Mary.” Since the film was without a director at that time, Beatty suggested Jack Clayton, but Clayton had to pass on the project because his mother was ill. Beatty and Christie withdrew their interest, and Kadish subsequently decided to move the setting to New York City. Peter Yates was later quoted in a 28 Dec 1969 LAT article, stating that the location was changed to avoid the recently popularized cliché of “swinging London.” According to the 14 Dec 1969 LAT review, the final film did not adhere closely to Jones’s novel.
       Mia Farrow’s casting was announced in the 16 Oct 1968 DV. Dustin Hoffman’s agreement to co-star was finalized one month later, the 20 Nov 1968 DV stated. During filming, Hoffman appeared in nightly performances of the stage play, Jimmy Shine, which ran from 5 Dec 1968 to 26 Apr 1969 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway.
       Principal photography began on 27 Jan 1969, according to the 29 Jan 1969 Var. The picture was budgeted at $3.5 million according to a 4 Jan 1969 NYT article, and was shot in New York City. By the end of the year, the 9 Dec 1969 NYT declared it had been a record year for film production there with forty-five major motion pictures shot in the past twelve months. Although the article claimed John and Mary was filmed entirely in NY, a 21 Apr 1969 DV item reported that the final five days of shooting began that day in the Bahamas.
       Interiors, including that of “John’s” apartment, were filmed at Biograph Studios in the Bronx, NY. As noted in various contemporary sources including the 23 Feb 1969 LAT and 5 May 1969 NYT, location shooting took place at Maxwell’s Plum singles bar; the Fillmore East concert venue; a church in Greenwich Village; Bloomingdale’s department store; Beekman Place in Midtown East; photographer Milton H. Greene’s studio; a set of tennis courts on Riverside Drive; John F. Kennedy International Airport; Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood; “an unheated, untenanted brownstone on East 31st Street” which stood in for “Mary’s” apartment; and Barbizon Plaza, where a political rally was staged. Although Yates stated in the 4 Jan 1969 NYT that he would avoid filming New York clichés, such as the Empire State Building and Central Park, a 26 Feb 1969 Var brief stated that the shooting schedule had been altered to take advantage of snowfall, and a scene between Farrow and Hoffman was slated to be filmed in the snow in Central Park.
       A news brief in the 18 Dec 1968 Var noted that Johanna Grant would serve as publicity coordinator; a 3 Mar 1969 DV item stated that AFI student Richard Basch would act as Peter Yates’s intern; and the 29 Jul 1969 DV reported that June Foray would record voices for the picture.
       French singer Claudine Longet was reportedly sought to record the title song but was unavailable, the 29 Oct 1969 DV reported. Decca Records released a “single disk” titled “John and Mary,” featuring an instrumental song with “heavy breathing.” As a gimmick, Decca released the record with a tag warning, “This record is rated ‘X’ – suggested for mature audiences.” The risqué song was said to be aimed at “the FM and ‘underground’ stations rather than the AM outlets.”
       The film opened on 14 Dec 1969 to lackluster reviews. In the 4 Jan 1970 NYT, it was named by film critic Vincent Canby as one of the ten worst pictures of 1969. Likewise, a 2 May 1970 LAT article noted that The Harvard Lampoon named it one of the ten worst movies of the year. An 8 Apr 1970 Var box-office chart listed the film as the twenty-second highest grossing picture that week (in a select 20-24 markets) with a cumulative gross of $2,224,869 in thirteen weeks of release.
       Actress Tyne Daly made her feature film debut in John and Mary. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
10 Apr 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Oct 1968
p. 1.
Daily Variety
20 Nov 1968
p. 1.
Daily Variety
14 Feb 1969
p. 10.
Daily Variety
3 Mar 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
21 Apr 1969
p. 15.
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
29 Oct 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Nov 1969
p. 10.
Daily Variety
25 Nov 1969
p. 3, 12.
Los Angeles Times
5 Nov 1968
Section D, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
19 Feb 1969
Section E, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
23 Feb 1969
Section T, p. 1, 15.
Los Angeles Times
14 Dec 1969
Section R, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
28 Dec 1969
Section N, p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
2 May 1970
Section A, p. 9.
New York Times
4 Jan 1969
p. 30.
New York Times
5 May 1969
p. 56.
New York Times
9 Dec 1969
p. 66.
New York Times
4 Jan 1970
p. 81.
Variety
18 Dec 1968
p. 22.
Variety
29 Jan 1969
p. 24, 68.
Variety
26 Feb 1969
p. 28.
Variety
14 Jan 1970
p. 71.
Variety
8 Apr 1970
p. 11.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2nd unit dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Asst art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Men's ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
Orch
Orch
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel John and Mary by Mervyn Jones (London, 1966).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Maybe Tomorrow," music by Quincy Jones, lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman.
DETAILS
Release Date:
14 December 1969
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 14 December 1969
Production Date:
27 January--late April 1969
Copyright Claimant:
Debrod Productions
Copyright Date:
14 December 1969
Copyright Number:
LP37505
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
92
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22211
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

John, a furniture designer, and Mary, an art gallery assistant, meet at Maxwell's Plum, a New York City singles bar. Without exchanging names, they go back to John's fashionable Riverside Drive apartment and make love. Mary awakens, and while John sleeps, she looks through his book collection, at his furniture, and at a picture of his former girl friend, Ruth, a model. While Mary showers, John gets up and examines her handbag to find out who she is. Unenthusiastically, he makes breakfast for her. They engage in casual conversation while each privately sizes up the motivations of the other and recalls recent unhappy affairs. After breakfast, John plays a recording of Handel's music on his stereo system and exchanges verbal attacks with Mary. Their thoughts continue: John recalls the time that Ruth came uninvited to his apartment with all her belongings, and Mary thinks of her recent affair with James, a married politician. Mary leaves the apartment, but she forgets her keys and returns. John makes lunch for her, and during the afternoon she goes to sleep on his bed and dreams of a date with the politician in a hotel room. When she awakens, John decides suddenly that she reminds him of his mother and asks her to go. She writes her telephone number on a mirror, but John erases it and rushes to a party given by Ruth. He quickly becomes bored with the boisterous affair and leaves to find Mary. Recalling that she lives in Murray Hill, he goes there by taxi, searching the neighborhood in vain. When he returns to his apartment, Mary is there cooking dinner. They get into bed, exchange names, and begin ... +


John, a furniture designer, and Mary, an art gallery assistant, meet at Maxwell's Plum, a New York City singles bar. Without exchanging names, they go back to John's fashionable Riverside Drive apartment and make love. Mary awakens, and while John sleeps, she looks through his book collection, at his furniture, and at a picture of his former girl friend, Ruth, a model. While Mary showers, John gets up and examines her handbag to find out who she is. Unenthusiastically, he makes breakfast for her. They engage in casual conversation while each privately sizes up the motivations of the other and recalls recent unhappy affairs. After breakfast, John plays a recording of Handel's music on his stereo system and exchanges verbal attacks with Mary. Their thoughts continue: John recalls the time that Ruth came uninvited to his apartment with all her belongings, and Mary thinks of her recent affair with James, a married politician. Mary leaves the apartment, but she forgets her keys and returns. John makes lunch for her, and during the afternoon she goes to sleep on his bed and dreams of a date with the politician in a hotel room. When she awakens, John decides suddenly that she reminds him of his mother and asks her to go. She writes her telephone number on a mirror, but John erases it and rushes to a party given by Ruth. He quickly becomes bored with the boisterous affair and leaves to find Mary. Recalling that she lives in Murray Hill, he goes there by taxi, searching the neighborhood in vain. When he returns to his apartment, Mary is there cooking dinner. They get into bed, exchange names, and begin a relationship. +

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

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