The Public Eye (1972)

G | 90, 93 or 95 mins | Comedy-drama | August 1972

Director:

Carol Reed

Writer:

Peter Shaffer

Producer:

Hal B. Wallis

Cinematographer:

Christopher Challis

Editor:

Anne V. Coates

Production Designer:

Terence Marsh

Production Companies:

Hal Wallis Productions , Universal Pictures, Ltd.
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HISTORY

The film's British release title was Follow Me! . Onscreen credits note that the film contained "Excerpts from the Franco Zeffirelli Production of Romeo and Juliet copyright 1968 by Paramount Pictures Corporation." The excerpt from the film is viewed in a movie theater by “Cristoforou” and “Belinda.” According to onscreen credits, locations were filmed at J. Paul Getty's mansion at Sutton Place in Guildford, Surrey, Syon House and Gardens in Brentford, Middlesex, Royal Windsor Safari Park in Windsor, Berkshire and the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.
       A Jan 1964 Var news item noted that producer Ross Hunter bought the screen rights to Peter Shaffer's The Public Eye and hired Mike Nichols to direct a film based on the play. The one-act play The Public Eye opened on stage with The Private Ear , another one-act play by Shaffer. The Private Ear was adapted into the 1966 film The Pad (see above). In Jan 1965, DV announced that Julie Andrews was to star in the film version of The Public Eye . By Dec 1965, a HR news item stated that production would be delayed because Nichols was tied up editing Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (see below), thus preventing him from reporting to Universal in time to start production before Andrews was due to start another project.
       According to a Jun 1967 DV news item, after Andrews and Nichols dropped out of the project, Hunter made a deal with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor to star in the picture. ... More Less

The film's British release title was Follow Me! . Onscreen credits note that the film contained "Excerpts from the Franco Zeffirelli Production of Romeo and Juliet copyright 1968 by Paramount Pictures Corporation." The excerpt from the film is viewed in a movie theater by “Cristoforou” and “Belinda.” According to onscreen credits, locations were filmed at J. Paul Getty's mansion at Sutton Place in Guildford, Surrey, Syon House and Gardens in Brentford, Middlesex, Royal Windsor Safari Park in Windsor, Berkshire and the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.
       A Jan 1964 Var news item noted that producer Ross Hunter bought the screen rights to Peter Shaffer's The Public Eye and hired Mike Nichols to direct a film based on the play. The one-act play The Public Eye opened on stage with The Private Ear , another one-act play by Shaffer. The Private Ear was adapted into the 1966 film The Pad (see above). In Jan 1965, DV announced that Julie Andrews was to star in the film version of The Public Eye . By Dec 1965, a HR news item stated that production would be delayed because Nichols was tied up editing Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (see below), thus preventing him from reporting to Universal in time to start production before Andrews was due to start another project.
       According to a Jun 1967 DV news item, after Andrews and Nichols dropped out of the project, Hunter made a deal with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor to star in the picture. However, their contract granted them the right to approve the director and third lead. At the time, Paul Scofield and Dirk Bogarde were being considered for the third lead, but Scofield's previous commitments prevented him from accepting. Bogarde accepted the part but later backed out. When Taylor and Burton could not agree upon a suitable director, they also withdrew from the project. In Aug 1968, a DV news item announced that Katharine Ross was going to star in the film. Filmfacts added that Hunter left Universal before The Public Eye began production. A modern source adds Ann Way, James Cossins, Gladys Henson, James Villiers and Jack Watling to the cast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Jul 1972
p. 4508.
Daily Variety
10 Nov 1964.
---
Daily Variety
6 Jan 1965.
---
Daily Variety
31 Jan 1967.
---
Daily Variety
6 May 1967.
---
Daily Variety
5 Jun 1967.
---
Daily Variety
14 Jul 1967.
---
Daily Variety
26 Aug 1968.
---
Daily Variety
5 Oct 1971.
---
Filmfacts
1972
pp. 491-94.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 1965.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Sep 1971
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 1971
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 1972.
---
Los Angeles Times
21 Jul 1972.
---
New York Times
19 Jul 1972
p. 22.
Variety
9 Jan 1964.
---
Variety
18 Apr 1967.
---
Variety
19 Apr 1967.
---
Variety
12 Jul 1972
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Carol Reed Film
A Hal Wallis Production; A Carol Reed Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward supv
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Dubbing ed
Sd mixer
Dubbing mixer
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Chief make-up
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Casting dir
Loc mgr
Unit pub
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the one-act play The Public Eye by Peter Shaffer (London, 10 May 1962).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Follow Me!
Release Date:
August 1972
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 18 July 1972
Los Angeles opening: 21 July 1972
Production Date:
early September--early November 1971 at Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Middlesex, England
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
4 May 1972
Copyright Number:
LF104
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Lenses/Prints
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
90, 93 or 95
MPAA Rating:
G
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In London, newlywed Charles Sidley, suspecting that his American wife Belinda may be having an affair, goes to the Mayhew and Figgis Detective Agency to hire them to look into the matter. There, Charles, a staid accountant, tells Mayhew, the head of the agency, that Belinda has been coming home late at night and leaving early in the morning, leading him to conclude that she is seeing another man. Mayhew accepts the case and days later, when Charles enters his office, he comes upon a strange man dressed in a white raincoat and hat perusing the bookcases. After the garrulous man finally introduces himself as Julian Cristoforou, the detective assigned to Charles’ case, he unpacks a cache of macaroons, oranges and yogurt from his white messenger bag and begins eating. Prodded by Christoforou to disclose the details of his marriage, the reluctant Charles relates the first time he saw the waif-like Belinda: Spotting Belinda waitressing at a restaurant, Charles is intrigued and enters the establishment to have a meal. Amused when the charmingly incompetent Belinda dumps his food in his lap, Charles invites her out for dinner, and captivated by her enthusiasm and guilelessness, takes it upon himself to educate her about “culture.” Under Belinda’s influence, Charles begins to lose some of his stodginess, and flattered by her eagerness to absorb whatever he teaches her, he soon proposes and they are wed. In the present, Cristoforou queries what went wrong and Charles recounts how “his gay young pupil” became a “secretive little girl”: At a dinner party at their apartment attended by Charles’ business associates and conservative friends, Belinda listens to several ... +


In London, newlywed Charles Sidley, suspecting that his American wife Belinda may be having an affair, goes to the Mayhew and Figgis Detective Agency to hire them to look into the matter. There, Charles, a staid accountant, tells Mayhew, the head of the agency, that Belinda has been coming home late at night and leaving early in the morning, leading him to conclude that she is seeing another man. Mayhew accepts the case and days later, when Charles enters his office, he comes upon a strange man dressed in a white raincoat and hat perusing the bookcases. After the garrulous man finally introduces himself as Julian Cristoforou, the detective assigned to Charles’ case, he unpacks a cache of macaroons, oranges and yogurt from his white messenger bag and begins eating. Prodded by Christoforou to disclose the details of his marriage, the reluctant Charles relates the first time he saw the waif-like Belinda: Spotting Belinda waitressing at a restaurant, Charles is intrigued and enters the establishment to have a meal. Amused when the charmingly incompetent Belinda dumps his food in his lap, Charles invites her out for dinner, and captivated by her enthusiasm and guilelessness, takes it upon himself to educate her about “culture.” Under Belinda’s influence, Charles begins to lose some of his stodginess, and flattered by her eagerness to absorb whatever he teaches her, he soon proposes and they are wed. In the present, Cristoforou queries what went wrong and Charles recounts how “his gay young pupil” became a “secretive little girl”: At a dinner party at their apartment attended by Charles’ business associates and conservative friends, Belinda listens to several of the guests touting a return to old-fashioned law enforcement principles such as public hangings and pillories. When she suggests that, following their reasoning, all rapists should be castrated, they react in horror, after which she sequesters herself in the bedroom. Exasperated, Charles tries to explain that marriage is a contract between two people expressing their obligations to each other, to which Belinda replies that obligations must be earned. Several days later, Charles is at a formal dinner party with his mother when Belinda fails to appear on time. They decide to start without her, and when Belinda arrives after everyone has finished eating, Charles simmers in fury. After the guests have departed, Belinda states that she was in the park watching dolphins and could not catch a return bus in time, but Charles accuses her of lying and having an affair. Back in the present, Charles insists that Cristoforou report his results from the ten days he spent following Belinda. Cristoforou dutifully recounts that Belinda visited the hat maker, ate ice cream at a coffee bar and spent six hours watching horror films. When Cristoforou mentions that he observed Belinda discreetly exchanging glances with an aristocratic man, Charles demands that he ascertain the name of that man. Later, when Charles chastises Belinda for arriving late to a concert, Belinda lambasts him for viewing marriage as a contract rather than a continuing courtship. When he then accuses her of having a lover, Belinda, shocked, tells Charles about her adventures: One day while taking a boat ride down the Thames to be alone, Belinda notices a strange man in a white raincoat watching her. Later, while walking down the street, she noticed the man on his scooter and since then has realized that he is following her. Soon, she begins to anticipate his arrival, and they take turns leading each other on various adventures. After Belinda concludes that although they have never spoken to each other, she feels alive when they are together, Charles realizes that she is talking about Cristoforou. Furious, Charles goes to Cristoforou’s apartment to confront him. Meanwhile, Belinda, finding Cristoforou’s business card that Charles has left next to their phone, proceeds to the address on the card and is shocked to find Charles with the man who has been following her. When Charles explains that he hired Cristoforou to follow her, Belinda declares that she never wants to see her husband again and storms out. Thirty-six hours later, concerned that Belinda is still missing, Cristoforou visits Charles and after announcing that he has resigned as a detective, offers to find Belinda, but warns Charles that she might not return to him. When Cristoforou finally locates Belinda, she berates him for making a fool out of her. Cristoforou counters that they spent ten joyous days together, during which she made him realize that anything was possible. After Belinda laments that she has only brought Charles misery, Cristoforou observes that she wants her husband back, but she says she only wants him forward, that is, if he once again becomes the man who courted her. Formulating a plan to reconcile the couple, Cristoforou phones Charles and instructs him to proceed immediately to his office. There Charles finds Belinda silently sitting in front of the bookcase. Cristoforou explains to Charles that Belinda will leave him forever unless he agrees to follow her for the next ten days. Once Belinda departs, Charles refuses to “play their game,” and Cristoforou admonishes that he must learn to love rather than dominate his wife. When Charles protests that he cannot leave his office for ten days, Cristoforou offers to take over for him, answers his phone and introduces himself as Charles’ “new partner.” Handing Charles his white raincoat, Cristoforou urges him to go to Belinda. On the sidewalk below, Charles spots Belinda and she turns to smile at him as she leads him through the London streets. +

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

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