The Owl and the Pussycat (1970)

R | 96 mins | Romantic comedy | 3 November 1970

Director:

Herbert Ross

Writer:

Buck Henry

Producer:

Ray Stark

Cinematographers:

Andrew Laszlo, Harry Stradling

Production Designer:

John Robert Lloyd

Production Company:

Rastar Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

A few months before the Broadway debut of Bill Manhoff’s two-character stage play, The Owl and the Pussycat, items in the 25 Sep 1964 DV and 29 Sep 1964 LAT reported that Seven Arts Productions had purchased the motion picture rights in association with Paramount Pictures for director Richard Quine. The show began its initial run at the ANTA Playhouse on 18 Nov 1964, and continued to enjoy success throughout the following year, with Alan Alda and Diana Sands in the leading roles. During this time, plans at Seven Arts were continually in flux, as the 31 Mar 1965 Var and 13 Jul 1965 DV noted the filmmakers’ indecision about whether to use big-name stars, or opt for lesser-known actors, such as Barbara Harris and Alan Arkin.
       On 6 Oct 1965, DV announced that Seven Arts would move forward without Paramount after deciding to dissolve its current associations with the major studios. Quine remained attached through the spring of 1966, when a 28 Mar 1966 Var news story confirmed that further development had been stalled while Seven Arts’ executive vice president Ray Stark continued to search for “the right deal.” The Owl and the Pussycat remained on the shelf for another two years, by which time Stark had relinquished his post at Seven Arts and founded Rastar Productions, Inc. to produce the motion picture adaptation of Funny Girl (1968, see entry) for Columbia Pictures. The Rastar-Columbia partnership continued, as the 25 Nov 1968 NYT announced that Funny Girl star Barbra Streisand would appear in The Owl ... More Less

A few months before the Broadway debut of Bill Manhoff’s two-character stage play, The Owl and the Pussycat, items in the 25 Sep 1964 DV and 29 Sep 1964 LAT reported that Seven Arts Productions had purchased the motion picture rights in association with Paramount Pictures for director Richard Quine. The show began its initial run at the ANTA Playhouse on 18 Nov 1964, and continued to enjoy success throughout the following year, with Alan Alda and Diana Sands in the leading roles. During this time, plans at Seven Arts were continually in flux, as the 31 Mar 1965 Var and 13 Jul 1965 DV noted the filmmakers’ indecision about whether to use big-name stars, or opt for lesser-known actors, such as Barbara Harris and Alan Arkin.
       On 6 Oct 1965, DV announced that Seven Arts would move forward without Paramount after deciding to dissolve its current associations with the major studios. Quine remained attached through the spring of 1966, when a 28 Mar 1966 Var news story confirmed that further development had been stalled while Seven Arts’ executive vice president Ray Stark continued to search for “the right deal.” The Owl and the Pussycat remained on the shelf for another two years, by which time Stark had relinquished his post at Seven Arts and founded Rastar Productions, Inc. to produce the motion picture adaptation of Funny Girl (1968, see entry) for Columbia Pictures. The Rastar-Columbia partnership continued, as the 25 Nov 1968 NYT announced that Funny Girl star Barbra Streisand would appear in The Owl and the Pussycat. Although Columbia briefly considered capitalizing on her popularity as a performer by having her contribute to the soundtrack, the film marked Streisand’s first non-singing role. Bruce Jay Friedman was in talks to write the screenplay, which would expand the cast and shift the setting from San Francisco, CA, to New York City.
       Shortly after the New Year, the 15 Jan 1969 Var named Herbert Ross as director, marking a reunion with Stark and Streisand after working on the musical sequences in Funny Girl. George Segal signed on in mid-summer, and a 10 Sep 1969 LAT article revealed that screenwriter Buck Henry had been hired to rewrite Freidman’s first draft. Only Henry receives credit on the final film. Stark reportedly offered an acting role to author Leonard Gardner, whose 1969 novel Fat City he was adapting for Rastar.
       According to a 7 Nov 1969 DV production chart, principal photography began 3 Nov 1969 in New York City. The 8 Jan 1970 issue indicated that production was nearing completion and was due to come in under schedule. However, a 4 Mar 1970 DV brief suggested that the final scene, set in Central Park, was recently re-shot to add “a touch of spring.” Director of photography Harry Stradling died during the interim on 14 Feb 1970, and he was replaced by Andrew Laszlo.
       A 2 Nov 1970 LAT news story reported that Columbia hosted a special “sneak preview” screening on 29 Oct 1970 for both press and paying audience members at the Crest Theatre in Westwood, CA. The picture opened in New York City on 3 Nov 1970 at the Loew’s State 2 and Loew’s Ciné theaters, where, according to a 5 Nov 1970 DV item, it earned a combined first-day gross of $17,071. Regular West Coast screenings continued at the Crest starting 11 Nov 1970.
       Although the film was generally not well received by critics, Streisand’s performance earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy.
       Evelyn Lang was a pseudonym for future X-rated actress Marilyn Chambers. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Sep 1964
p. 1.
Daily Variety
13 Jul 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
6 Oct 1965
p. 1, 10.
Daily Variety
11 Feb 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
4 Mar 1966
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
3 Jul 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1969
p. 8.
Daily Variety
17 Nov 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 Jan 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Mar 1970
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Nov 1970
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
29 Sep 1964
Section C, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
10 Sep 1969
Section G, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
2 Nov 1970
Section F, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
3 Nov 1970
Section F, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
10 Nov 1970
Section F, p. 1, 22.
New York Times
25 Nov 1968
p. 56.
New York Times
4 Nov 1970
p. 40.
Variety
3 Mar 1965
p. 4.
Variety
31 Mar 1965
p. 4.
Variety
28 Mar 1966
p. 3.
Variety
27 Nov 1968
p. 4.
Variety
15 Jan 1969
p. 20.
Variety
11 Nov 1970
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Ray Stark-Herbert Ross Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Cam crew
Cam crew
Cam crew
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Des supv
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus comp and arr
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Prod asst
Gaffer
Title des
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Owl and the Pussycat by Bill Manhoff (New York, 18 Nov 1964).
AUTHOR
SONGS
Music by Richard Halligan, lyrics by Blood, Sweat and Tears, sung by Blood, Sweat and Tears.
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 November 1970
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 3 November 1970
Los Angeles opening: 11 November 1970
Production Date:
3 November 1969--early 1970
Copyright Claimant:
Rastar Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 November 1970
Copyright Number:
LP38197
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
96
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After Felix Sherman, an aspiring author and bookshop clerk in New York City, reports to landlord Rapzinsky that neighbor Doris is a prostitute, the woman is evicted. Doris immediately moves into his apartment in the middle of the night, and denounces Felix as a homosexual informant. Astonished, Felix allows her to stay. When his guest develops hiccups he attempts to cure her by appearing in a skeleton costume. Her screams, however, attract so much attention that Felix himself is instantly evicted. The two go to the apartment of Felix's friend Barney, where, after a tumultuous argument between Felix and Doris which forces Barney and his girl friend out on the street, Doris seduces Felix. The next morning they argue violently and part angrily. Doris becomes a go-go dancer, but her audience prefers to watch a televised football game. In a sleazy theater Felix uneasily watches Cycle Sluts , a film featuring Doris. When Doris' friend Eleanor informs him of the prostitute's whereabouts, Felix takes Doris to the home of his fiancée, prim concert pianist Ann Weyderhaus. After smoking marijuana, Felix and Doris are bathing when the Weyderhaus family returns home unexpectedly, and Doris recognizes Mr. Weyderhaus as one of her most peculiar customers. As Felix and Doris walk in Central Park, they argue and then confess their love for each ... +


After Felix Sherman, an aspiring author and bookshop clerk in New York City, reports to landlord Rapzinsky that neighbor Doris is a prostitute, the woman is evicted. Doris immediately moves into his apartment in the middle of the night, and denounces Felix as a homosexual informant. Astonished, Felix allows her to stay. When his guest develops hiccups he attempts to cure her by appearing in a skeleton costume. Her screams, however, attract so much attention that Felix himself is instantly evicted. The two go to the apartment of Felix's friend Barney, where, after a tumultuous argument between Felix and Doris which forces Barney and his girl friend out on the street, Doris seduces Felix. The next morning they argue violently and part angrily. Doris becomes a go-go dancer, but her audience prefers to watch a televised football game. In a sleazy theater Felix uneasily watches Cycle Sluts , a film featuring Doris. When Doris' friend Eleanor informs him of the prostitute's whereabouts, Felix takes Doris to the home of his fiancée, prim concert pianist Ann Weyderhaus. After smoking marijuana, Felix and Doris are bathing when the Weyderhaus family returns home unexpectedly, and Doris recognizes Mr. Weyderhaus as one of her most peculiar customers. As Felix and Doris walk in Central Park, they argue and then confess their love for each other. +

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

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