Joy of Sex (1984)

R | 93 mins | Romantic comedy | 3 August 1984

Director:

Martha Coolidge

Producer:

Frank Konigsberg

Cinematographer:

Charles Correll

Production Designer:

Jim Murakami

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

       An 8 Dec 1975 Publishers Weekly column announced that producer Tom Moore of Tomorrow Entertainment had purchased screen rights to The Joy of Sex, the 1972 best-selling sex manual by Dr. Alex Comfort. The acquisition price was over $100,000, plus twenty percent of the film’s profits. The following year, a 16 Aug 1976 Publishers Weekly brief reported that Moore reached an agreement with Paramount Pictures Corp. to develop the project.
       Paramount remained with Joy of Sex through its release in 1984, but numerous writers, directors, and producers were involved during the nearly decade of development. Actor Dudley Moore stated in the 4 Dec 1984 Pittsburgh Press that the studio asked him to structure the script as vignettes, but he felt more comfortable writing a single story. While Dudley Moore did not remain with the project, he noted that his concept for Joy of Sex, was coincidently very similar to his next project, 10 (1979, see entry), written by Blake Edwards. According to a Sep 1984 Esquire magazine article, the studio also approached the comedy troupe, Monty Python, about the adaptation.
       A 12 Nov 1981 LAHExam item announced that the project would be retitled National Lampoon’s Joy of Sex and produced by Matty Simmons, chairman of Twenty First Century Communications and publisher of National Lampoon magazine. Simmons had recently produced the humor magazine’s first feature, National Lampoon’s Animal House (see entry), a smash hit in 1978. Joy of Sex would be a co-production between ... More Less

       An 8 Dec 1975 Publishers Weekly column announced that producer Tom Moore of Tomorrow Entertainment had purchased screen rights to The Joy of Sex, the 1972 best-selling sex manual by Dr. Alex Comfort. The acquisition price was over $100,000, plus twenty percent of the film’s profits. The following year, a 16 Aug 1976 Publishers Weekly brief reported that Moore reached an agreement with Paramount Pictures Corp. to develop the project.
       Paramount remained with Joy of Sex through its release in 1984, but numerous writers, directors, and producers were involved during the nearly decade of development. Actor Dudley Moore stated in the 4 Dec 1984 Pittsburgh Press that the studio asked him to structure the script as vignettes, but he felt more comfortable writing a single story. While Dudley Moore did not remain with the project, he noted that his concept for Joy of Sex, was coincidently very similar to his next project, 10 (1979, see entry), written by Blake Edwards. According to a Sep 1984 Esquire magazine article, the studio also approached the comedy troupe, Monty Python, about the adaptation.
       A 12 Nov 1981 LAHExam item announced that the project would be retitled National Lampoon’s Joy of Sex and produced by Matty Simmons, chairman of Twenty First Century Communications and publisher of National Lampoon magazine. Simmons had recently produced the humor magazine’s first feature, National Lampoon’s Animal House (see entry), a smash hit in 1978. Joy of Sex would be a co-production between Paramount and National Lampoon Inc., as noted in the Esquire article. John Hughes, a National Lampoon editor at the time, was hired to write the script. Bill Norton, Jr. was assigned to direct, but a 25 Nov 1981 DV article revealed that he withdrew from the project over disagreements with the studio.
       In 1982, actress and emerging filmmaker Penny Marshall was set to direct Joy of Sex as her debut feature, according to the Esquire article. During this stage of development, Charles Wessler was enlisted to rewrite Hughes’s script and comedian John Belushi was approached for the lead role, just prior to his death on 5 Mar 1982. The Esquire article noted that the script had radically changed from a “series of vignettes” similar to Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* but Were Afraid to Ask (1972, see entry) to a raunchy comedy in the manner of Porky’s (1982, see entry).
       After Marshall left the project, television commercial director Joe Sedelmaier and director Amy Heckerling were approached, but both turned down the project. The 6 May 1983 HR announced that Martha Coolidge would direct the film and Kathleen Rowell would be responsible for the rewrite. Rowell received final screenplay credit, along with J. J. Salter. The Esquire article noted that when Coolidge signed on in Apr 1983, Paramount was under pressure to begin shooting as soon as possible since the screen rights were due to revert back to source author Alex Comfort in approximately five weeks. The 15 Aug 1984 Var review mentioned that the project marked Coolidge’s “first major-studio picture,” following her independent hit, Valley Girl (1983, see entry). By this time, Frank Konigsberg, known as an executive producer of made-for-television films and mini-series, had been appointed producer on Joy of Sex, which represented his first feature film credit, according to production notes in AMPAS library files.
       The 24 Jun 1983 DV reported that principal photography began 31 May 1983 in Los Angeles, CA, and the shooting schedule was twenty-six days. A 30 Mar 1984 LAT article noted that Paramount’s television division oversaw the picture and adhered to a budget of “less than $5 million.”
       As explained in articles from the 28 Mar 1984 DV and the 30 Mar 1984 LAT, the original release date of 13 Apr 1984 was canceled and the film remained in “limbo,” as National Lampoon Inc. was preparing to remove its name from the title. Matty Simmons noted in the DV article that he “was not actively involved in the film’s production” and the script that he presided over was abandoned by the studio. He is not listed in final onscreen credits. Director Martha Coolidge also had a falling out with Paramount and reportedly did not participate in the editing, according to Esquire.
       The film was eventually released on 3 Aug 1984, under the original title Joy of Sex. National Lampoon commented in the 6 Jun 1984 Var that the company canceled their licensing agreement with Paramount because “‘the picture has been substantially revised since [their] original involvement.’”
       End credits include the statement: “Portions of this motion picture filmed in the City of Santa Monica.”
      In end credits, the last name of character “Liz” is written as “Sampson,” but she introduces herself as “Liz Simpson” in the film. Although characters “Max Holt” and “Alan Holt” have the same last name, there is no indication in the film how or if they are related.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Nov 1981.
---
Daily Variety
24 Jun 1983.
---
Daily Variety
28 Mar 1984.
---
Esquire
Sep 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 May 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1984
p. 4.
LAHExam
12 Nov 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
30 Mar 1984
Section VI, p. 1, 12.
Los Angeles Times
4 Aug 1984
Section D, p. 1, 3.
Pittsburgh Press
4 Dec 1984.
---
Publishers Weekly
8 Dec 1975.
---
Publishers Weekly
16 Aug 1976.
---
Variety
6 Jun 1984.
---
Variety
15 Aug 1984
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A Frank Konigsberg Production
In Association with Cinema Group Venture
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Best boy elec
Best boy elec
Company grip
Company grip
Gaffer
Best boy grip
Key grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Swing man
Swing man
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Leadman set des
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus comp
Mus comp
Mus consultant
Mus ed
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
Scoring mixer, The Record Plant
SOUND
Sd mixer
Supv sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opticals by
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Extra casting
Voice-over casting
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Craft service
Unit pub
Asst to Martha Coolidge
AFI/Academy intern
Consultant
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Voice-over group
Voice-over group
Voice-over group
Voice-over group
Voice-over group
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort (New York, 1972).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"You Never Call," written by Joey Harris, performed by Joey Harris & The Speedsters, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc. and RDM Records-a division of Brighton Music Corp.
"Don't Say Love," written by Joey Harris, performed by Joey Harris & The Speedsters, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc. and RDM Records-a division of Brighton Music Corp.
"Made For Each Other," written by Joey Harris & Bruce Donnelly, performed by Joey Harris & The Speedsters, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc. and RDM Records-a division of Brighton Music Corp.
+
SONGS
"You Never Call," written by Joey Harris, performed by Joey Harris & The Speedsters, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc. and RDM Records-a division of Brighton Music Corp.
"Don't Say Love," written by Joey Harris, performed by Joey Harris & The Speedsters, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc. and RDM Records-a division of Brighton Music Corp.
"Made For Each Other," written by Joey Harris & Bruce Donnelly, performed by Joey Harris & The Speedsters, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc. and RDM Records-a division of Brighton Music Corp.
"Dreams," written by Harold Payne and Clydene Jackson.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
National Lampoon's Joy of Sex
Release Date:
3 August 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 3 August 1984
Production Date:
began 31 May 1983
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
28 December 1984
Copyright Number:
PA235455
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On the first day of her senior year at Richard Nixon High School, Leslie Hindenberg writes in her diary that she wants to have sexual intercourse before graduating. Meanwhile, fellow senior, Alan Holt, is also determined to lose his virginity and hides the sex manual, The Joy of Sex, in one of his notebooks. On the way to class, Leslie tells best friend Melanie that she is nervous about the upcoming year and wonders whether they should take birth control pills. In a sex education class for female students, the girls giggle as their teacher, Miss Bismark, introduces the male sexual organ as “the enemy.” School heartthrob Max Holt tries to reassure his best friend Alan about meeting women. The shy Alan likes Leslie Hindenberg, but is afraid of her intimidating father, Coach Hindenberg. During a sex education class for male students, the coach threatens to harm any boy who tries to make a move on his daughter. Preoccupied by erotic thoughts, Alan has a brief fantasy about seducing his repressed biology teacher, Miss Post. Meanwhile, a new student named Liz Sampson attracts attention for her voluptuous looks and assertive behavior. She openly flirts with Alan, and takes an interest in the school drug dealer, “Mushroom Malone.” After a doctor’s appointment to check a mole, Leslie is under the mistaken impression that she only has six weeks to live, and her mission to have sex becomes more desperate. During biology class, Leslie compliments Max and asks him out on a date, while Alan becomes jealous. An Arab exchange ... +


On the first day of her senior year at Richard Nixon High School, Leslie Hindenberg writes in her diary that she wants to have sexual intercourse before graduating. Meanwhile, fellow senior, Alan Holt, is also determined to lose his virginity and hides the sex manual, The Joy of Sex, in one of his notebooks. On the way to class, Leslie tells best friend Melanie that she is nervous about the upcoming year and wonders whether they should take birth control pills. In a sex education class for female students, the girls giggle as their teacher, Miss Bismark, introduces the male sexual organ as “the enemy.” School heartthrob Max Holt tries to reassure his best friend Alan about meeting women. The shy Alan likes Leslie Hindenberg, but is afraid of her intimidating father, Coach Hindenberg. During a sex education class for male students, the coach threatens to harm any boy who tries to make a move on his daughter. Preoccupied by erotic thoughts, Alan has a brief fantasy about seducing his repressed biology teacher, Miss Post. Meanwhile, a new student named Liz Sampson attracts attention for her voluptuous looks and assertive behavior. She openly flirts with Alan, and takes an interest in the school drug dealer, “Mushroom Malone.” After a doctor’s appointment to check a mole, Leslie is under the mistaken impression that she only has six weeks to live, and her mission to have sex becomes more desperate. During biology class, Leslie compliments Max and asks him out on a date, while Alan becomes jealous. An Arab exchange student named Farouk, who is staying with Max’s family for the semester, is often a target of ridicule because of his poor English. Max’s mother, Mrs. Holt, is concerned about the foreigner and insists her son take Farouk along on his date with Leslie. Despite Farouk’s presence in the backseat, Leslie drives to the local cemetery, known as a quiet spot to make out, and kisses Max. Farouk finally takes the hint and steps out of the car. As Max and Leslie resume frolicking, their feet hit the gearshift and the car rolls backward into an open grave. Coach Hindenberg appears unaware of the circumstances behind the accident, but punishes the two teenagers for wrecking his vehicle. He runs Max through extra drills during practice and puts Leslie on restriction for a month. Meanwhile, Alan seeks advice from his experienced older brother,“Dinko,” who works as a bartender at the Lorelei Hotel. Dinko thinks Alan might have better luck seducing a stranger and encourages his brother to call “Inga,” a woman who advertises in the personals under “experienced nurse seeks inexperienced male.” Alan arranges to meet Inga at the hotel that night, but playboy Mr. Ranada hijacks Alan’s hotel room and his “nurse” at the last minute. In another attempt to lose her virginity, Leslie goes on a date at the drive-in movie theater with her former boyfriend, Richard, but her plan fails when Richard reveals he is gay. Meanwhile in another car, Alan kisses Liz. Their love scene is also interrupted as Liz discloses that she is an undercover narcotics officer. Despite Liz’s willingness, Alan is no longer in the mood to have sex, and offers to drive her home. After their classmate, Sharon, becomes pregnant and is forced to transfer to night school, Leslie and Melanie contact handsome news reporter Ted Vincent about the injustice. Leslie does not reveal her real identity and meets Vincent at the Lorelei Hotel, disguised as an older woman. The encounter is awkward as Leslie almost gives in to Vincent’s sexual advances to gain his help getting Sharon reinstated. Meanwhile, Alan is at the Lorelei to negotiate a venue for the school’s Christmas Ball when Roberta, the hotel’s maintenance worker, traps him in the basement and tries to seduce him. Leslie and Alan bump into each other in the lobby after escaping from their unwanted suitors. Afraid of being exposed for trying to seduce an underage girl, Ted Vincent gives Leslie and Melanie the opportunity to appear on television and tell Sharon’s story. During the broadcast, Melanie accidently reveals Leslie is “dying.” The Hindenberg family is shocked, until the doctor reassures them that their daughter is fine. When word of the misdiagnosis circulates around school, Leslie faces ridicule from her fellow students and is convinced she is doomed to remain a virgin. She summons the courage to attend the Christmas Ball at the Lorelei Hotel and dances with Alan. She realizes she has been attracted to him all along and is relieved to hear he is also a virgin. Elsewhere on the dance floor, biology teacher Miss Post charms Alan’s older brother Dinko, and Farouk suddenly has offers from several women after revealing he is a millionaire. In one of the hotel rooms, a raucous party takes place, but Leslie and Alan avoid the scene and find their own room. As police arrive to break up the carousing and half-dressed teenagers run down the hallway, Leslie and Alan finally have the experience they have been waiting for all year. +

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

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