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HISTORY

       The film is referred to by its alternate title, Fourplay in a 1 Aug 1973 HR news brief that announced principal photography had begun in New York City. The film was then called The President’s Women, in a 4 Mar 1974 DV news item announcing that Atlantic Releasing Corporation would distribute the film. In a 11 Mar 1975 HR review it was called Foreplay.
       According to an article in the Apr 1974 Playboy, writers Terry Southern, Bruce Jay Friedman, Dan Greenburg and executive producer Carl Gurevich met at the New York City restaurant “Elaine’s” and decided they wanted to make a “sex movie.” However, in another Playboy article on Dec 1974, Dan Greenburg wrote that he was called by Gurevich after he and Southern had discussed the idea while judging the New York Erotic Film Festival. Greenburg suggested structuring the movie in four vignettes using four different writers, directors, cast and crew as he had done on the Broadway play Oh Calcutta!”T in 1969. Two of the writers he suggested where Friedman and Jules Feiffer, who had co-written Oh! Calcutta!, however Feiffer ran into scheduling conflicts and his short story The Vortex was adapted by playwright Jack Richardson. While Greenburg wrote another segment, Norman and the Doll, Southern worked on a third skit called Twice on Top. Director John G. Avildsen joined the project with an idea of his own, Inaugural Ball, and hired David Odel to write it. Gurevich then hired ... More Less

       The film is referred to by its alternate title, Fourplay in a 1 Aug 1973 HR news brief that announced principal photography had begun in New York City. The film was then called The President’s Women, in a 4 Mar 1974 DV news item announcing that Atlantic Releasing Corporation would distribute the film. In a 11 Mar 1975 HR review it was called Foreplay.
       According to an article in the Apr 1974 Playboy, writers Terry Southern, Bruce Jay Friedman, Dan Greenburg and executive producer Carl Gurevich met at the New York City restaurant “Elaine’s” and decided they wanted to make a “sex movie.” However, in another Playboy article on Dec 1974, Dan Greenburg wrote that he was called by Gurevich after he and Southern had discussed the idea while judging the New York Erotic Film Festival. Greenburg suggested structuring the movie in four vignettes using four different writers, directors, cast and crew as he had done on the Broadway play Oh Calcutta!”T in 1969. Two of the writers he suggested where Friedman and Jules Feiffer, who had co-written Oh! Calcutta!, however Feiffer ran into scheduling conflicts and his short story The Vortex was adapted by playwright Jack Richardson. While Greenburg wrote another segment, Norman and the Doll, Southern worked on a third skit called Twice on Top. Director John G. Avildsen joined the project with an idea of his own, Inaugural Ball, and hired David Odel to write it. Gurevich then hired Danish-born Benni Korzen to produce.
       The Apr 1974 Playboy reported that actor Buck Henry turned down the role of “Norman.” Also, Rodney Dangerfield and Sylvia Miles declined to play the first couple.
       On 21 Jun 1973, during preproduction, the U.S. Supreme court ruled in Miller v. California that material that offended community standards or portrayed sexual conduct in a patently offensive way was illegal. Fearing Southern’s Twice on Top vignette would break the law, it was removed, leaving only three skits. Southern had worked on another skit, Slippery When Wet, but it, too, was deemed too graphic. This resulted in the subtitle, “A Comedy in Three Parts.” According to 1 Aug 1973 HR , actor Rip Torn had been cast in Twice on Top, which was to be directed by William Caxton, before it was deleted.
       The Apr 1974 Playboy reported that the initial budget was $15,000, but a 30 Aug 1973 Box reported it had risen to $50,000. The Dec 1974 Playboy reported the final sum was $700,000. After the Supreme Court decision, Gurevich lost his investors, forcing him to sell his insurance business and halt production until another investor was found.
       During an initial screening of the film, a fight broke out between writer Greenburg and producer Gurevich when it was revealed Gurevich reedited Norman and the Doll without Greenburg’s consent even though there was a contractual agreement giving creative control to Greenburg and director Michael J. McCarty.
       A news item in the Jun 1975 Playboy stated that Avildsen had completely overhauled the film with new dialogue and footage.
      The following acknowledgements appear in end credits: “Special thanks to Max and Bobo, AAA Cadillac, Mercedes Benz Co., Brooklyn College Television Center, Zenith Radio, City Lights, Directors Catering, General Camera, Tel-O., CTL Electronics, Technisphere, Obsolete Fleet, Milt Felsen, Smith Limosine, Handler and Brickman Estate, Campus Coach, Magnosound, EFX, Fabricant Bros. Jewelry, Paul Desmond, Abby Hirsch, Valerie Sutain, Sidney Lazard, Bert Weil”
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
4 Mar 1974.
---
Daily Variety
7 Mar 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 1975
p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
5 Mar 1975
p. 9.
Playboy
Apr 1974.
---
Playboy
Jun 1975.
---
Playboy
Dec. 1974.
---
Variety
12 Mar 1975
p. 18, 34.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Carl Gurevich Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir, Norman and the Polish Doll
Dir, Vortex
Dir, Inaugural Ball
Dir, Professor Corey on Sex
Asst dir, Norman and the Polish Doll
Prod mgr, Norman and the Polish Doll
Asst dir, Vortex
Prod mgr, Inaugural Ball
1st asst dir, Inaugural Ball
2d asst dir, Inaugural Ball
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Wrt, Norman and the Polish Doll
Wrt, Vortex
From a story by, Vortex
Wrt, Inaugural Ball
Wrt, Professor Corey on Sex
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog, Norman and the Polish Doll
Asst cam, Norman and the Polish Doll
Gaffer, Norman and the Polish Doll
Best boy, Norman and the Polish Doll
Key grip, Norman and the Polish Doll
Dir of photog, Vortex
Asst cam, Vortex
Gaffer, Vortex
Best boy, Vortex
Key grip, Vortex
Dir of photog, Inaugural Ball
Cam op, Inaugural Ball
1st asst cam, Inaugural Ball
2d asst cam, Inaugural Ball
Gaffer, Inaugural Ball
Best boy, Inaugural Ball
Key grip, Inaugural Ball
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des, Inaugural Ball
FILM EDITORS
Ed supv
Asst ed
Ed, Inaugural Ball
SET DECORATORS
Props, Norman and the Polish Doll
Scenic des, Vortex
Props, Vortex
Props, Vortex
Props, Inaugural Ball
COSTUMES
Cost, Vortex
Cost des, Inaugural Ball
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus for "Inaugural Ball" comp, performed and arr
Mus published by
BMI recorded at
SOUND
Sd man, Norman and the Polish Doll
Boom, Norman and the Polish Doll
Sd man, Vortex
Vortex segment
Boom
Sd man, Inaugural Ball
Boom, Inaugural Ball
MAKEUP
Makeup, Norman and the Polish Doll
Makeup, Vortex
Makeup, Inaugural Ball
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to prod
Asst to prod
Prod asst
Prod asst
Script, Norman and the Polish Doll
Script, Vortex
Prod coord, Vortex
Asst to the dir, Inaugural Ball
Script, Inaugural Ball
Prod coord, Inaugural Ball
Teamster, Inaugural Ball
Creative consultant
Post prod services
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
DETAILS
Release Date:
1975
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 5 March 1975
Production Date:
summer of 1973 in New York CIty
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
75
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After giving a lecture on how the letters of the movie rating system equate to different parts of the human body, Professor Irwin Corey introduces a film called Norman and the Polish Doll. Failing to find a real woman, Norman Horner goes to a doll store, asking for a “realistic doll.” The salesman takes him into the backroom to show him “Wanda,” a life-sized, anatomically correct doll wearing a Polish peasant costume. Wanda is capable of responding to her own name, says over one hundred sentences and is activated by pulling on her earlobe. Although Norma is unable to afford the retail price, the salesman offers a discount on the floor model. After struggling to get Wanda into a taxi, Norman returns home and, while removing Wanda’s blouse, accidently activates her kissing program. Before Norman can investigate further, his mother arrives. Norman introduces Wanda as a Polish Air force martial artist who has suffered a seizure, causing her to move robotically. Norman then pushes his mother out the door to go buy a hot water bottle, and attempts to copulate with Wanda, but is unable to pry the doll’s legs apart. As Norman struggles, Wanda keeps repeating she wants a “bathie.” Once in the tub, Wanda answers Norman's complaints about only wanting sex by demanding a relationship. Norman’s mother returns with a pharmacist and Norman confesses Wanda is a sex doll. Afraid Wanda will mildew; Norman gets his mother and the pharmacist to help him rub Wanda with Vaseline, until Wanda demands cunnilingus and Norman’s mother storms out. When the pharmacist ... +


After giving a lecture on how the letters of the movie rating system equate to different parts of the human body, Professor Irwin Corey introduces a film called Norman and the Polish Doll. Failing to find a real woman, Norman Horner goes to a doll store, asking for a “realistic doll.” The salesman takes him into the backroom to show him “Wanda,” a life-sized, anatomically correct doll wearing a Polish peasant costume. Wanda is capable of responding to her own name, says over one hundred sentences and is activated by pulling on her earlobe. Although Norma is unable to afford the retail price, the salesman offers a discount on the floor model. After struggling to get Wanda into a taxi, Norman returns home and, while removing Wanda’s blouse, accidently activates her kissing program. Before Norman can investigate further, his mother arrives. Norman introduces Wanda as a Polish Air force martial artist who has suffered a seizure, causing her to move robotically. Norman then pushes his mother out the door to go buy a hot water bottle, and attempts to copulate with Wanda, but is unable to pry the doll’s legs apart. As Norman struggles, Wanda keeps repeating she wants a “bathie.” Once in the tub, Wanda answers Norman's complaints about only wanting sex by demanding a relationship. Norman’s mother returns with a pharmacist and Norman confesses Wanda is a sex doll. Afraid Wanda will mildew; Norman gets his mother and the pharmacist to help him rub Wanda with Vaseline, until Wanda demands cunnilingus and Norman’s mother storms out. When the pharmacist suggests a threesome, Norman orders him to leave. The next day, Norman returns Wanda to the store, and after discovering there are no refunds, tells the salesman to keep her. After Norman leaves, the salesman crows that nine guys have paid $12 hundred bucks for Wanda; which is not bad. Wanda, who really is a human, relaxes and agrees with him. When the film ends, the professor lectures on the sexual peccadillos of the average American male before introducing another film named Vortex. A “blurb” writer, Jerry Lorsey, is in a rut; using the word vortex to describe everything. One day he is visited by his muse, Roberto, a hairy middle-aged Italian dressed in a revealing swimsuit. Roberto proclaims that Jerry’s problem is that he seduces women too easily, and needs a challenge. Roberto snaps his bikini bottom three times and the men are transported to Jerry’s parent’s house with his virginal high school sweetheart, Mary Ellen Palmer. Jerry’s attempts to seduce Mary Ellen are met with her threats to “sock him.” Frustrated, Jerry complains to Roberto, who reminds him that Mary Ellen never did hit him. Jerry goes back to Mary Ellen, calls her bluff , whereupon, she sexually attacks him. When the tryst is over, Mary Ellen declares she is pregnant and Roberto whisks Jerry away. The next stop is an apartment that looks like it is a French bordello. Jerry recognizes it as the home of “Kinky Claudia,” who would only have sex with a man if he could undress her in less than a minute. Roberto advises Jerry to remove her stockings with her garter belt, thereby saving ten seconds. Armed with this knowledge, Jerry goes into a bedroom and strips Claudia with fifteen seconds to spare, but discovers she is frigid and her complaints ruin the sex. Jerry returns to his living room declaring Roberto stinks as a muse, and the writer wants to trade the Italian for a German muse. Offended, Roberto disappears. The doorbell rings, and a pretty woman enters, asks Jerry his name, then punches him in the gut. She announces she is “Anytime” Annie Frasier, the girl who had sex with the whole high school football team, including third stringer Jerry. Then, in gruesome detail, she boasts about taking revenge on the other boys for using her as a sexual object. Jerry discovers Annie is also a blocked blurb writer, and Roberto, who is also her muse, claimed revenge would help her writing. Upon hearing his name, Roberto appears with champagne, but leaves to aid an impotent textbook writer. Realizing their writer’s block is gone, Jerry and Annie toast to their new relationship. Then the Professor continues his lecture, ruminating on the difference between the perverted and the “straight warped.” Exhausted, he introduces the last film, Inaugural Ball. Presidential staffer Frank Hurdlemeyer meets with mafia kingpin Don Pasquale and his balding, overweight nephew, Alfredo. Pasquale is irate that after giving the President thousands in illegal contributions, the chief executive has not kept his promise to outlaw pornography, which would enable Pasquale to make a fortune selling it illegally. Pasquale warns Hurdlemeyer that he will not wait much longer. Hurdlemeyer rushes to the president, who is more interested in screaming racial epitaphs at the television than listening to Pasquale’s complaints. Trixie, the president’s adult daughter dressed in a child’s sailor suit, arrives and begs her father to come out and play. The president shoos her away with a promise to play later. Trixie then goes boating with her fiancé, who kisses her. Repulsed, Trixie demands they go back to shore when SCUBA [Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus] divers appear and kidnap her. Later, the first lady, Gladys, and the president receive a ransom note demanding they have sex on national television. For days, the president refuses, but upon learning his approval ratings are falling because the nation feels he has abandoned his daughter, he orders the Surgeon General to prepare a dose of testosterone so he can do the broadcast. However, Chief Justice McDonald informs the president that he will be prosecuted under the obscenity laws if he goes through with the act. The president blackmails McDonald into compliance with a picture of the justice in a dress. On Saturday night, Trixie complains to Pasquale’s nephew, Alfredo, about how hard it is for three people to live on $200,000 a year, when Alfredo tells her she has pretty eyes, they make love. Later, Alfredo turns on the television and sees the president and the first lady in bed. Although Gladys does her best, the president cannot achieve a erection and begins to cry under the sheets. Gladys turns to the camera and proclaims her love for her husband, which inspires him to complete the task at hand. As they reach mutual bliss, the president yells, “this means re-election.” Pasqualli watches while someone is performing fellatio on him under the sheets. Overcome with emotion, Pasqualli pulls back the covers to reveal Justice McDonald, and soon both men cry about the beauty of the first couple’s love making. Pasqualli offers to make McDonald president, before forcing him back under the covers. +

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.