Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)

R | 104 mins | Comedy | 8 October 1969

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HISTORY

In the summer of 1968, producer M. J. “Mike” Frankovich acquired rights to Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, an original comedy written by Paul Mazurksy and Larry Tucker, as noted in the 18 Jul 1968 DV and 23 Jul 1968 LAT. The film was set to be financed and released by Columbia Pictures, with Mazursky making his feature-length directorial debut. The following month, a 30 Aug 1968 DV brief noted that Natalie Wood had been cast as “Carol Sanders,” and Columbia was seeking Joanne Woodward to play opposite her, in the role of “Alice Henderson.” The 12 Sep 1968 LAT listed Richard Benjamin and his wife, Paula Prentiss, as candidates for two of the four leading roles. One week later, the 20 Sep 1968 DV confirmed that Wood’s co-stars would be Robert Culp, Dyan Cannon, and Elliott Gould. Wood reportedly forwent her going salary of $750,000 per picture; instead, the 30 Oct 1969 LAT stated that she was paid $250,000 plus a percentage of the profits.
       Two weeks of rehearsals preceded principal photography, which began 21 Oct 1968 at Columbia Pictures studios on Gower Street in Hollywood, CA. On 6 Nov 1968, DV announced that four days of location filming had begun in Pasadena, CA. Shooting resumed on the Columbia lot on 12 Nov 1968, according to a DV brief published that day. Another bout of location shooting took place 2--5 Dec 1968 at the Riviera, a casino and hotel in Las Vegas, NV, as noted in the 29 Nov 1968 and 6 Dec 1968 DV.
       According ...

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In the summer of 1968, producer M. J. “Mike” Frankovich acquired rights to Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, an original comedy written by Paul Mazurksy and Larry Tucker, as noted in the 18 Jul 1968 DV and 23 Jul 1968 LAT. The film was set to be financed and released by Columbia Pictures, with Mazursky making his feature-length directorial debut. The following month, a 30 Aug 1968 DV brief noted that Natalie Wood had been cast as “Carol Sanders,” and Columbia was seeking Joanne Woodward to play opposite her, in the role of “Alice Henderson.” The 12 Sep 1968 LAT listed Richard Benjamin and his wife, Paula Prentiss, as candidates for two of the four leading roles. One week later, the 20 Sep 1968 DV confirmed that Wood’s co-stars would be Robert Culp, Dyan Cannon, and Elliott Gould. Wood reportedly forwent her going salary of $750,000 per picture; instead, the 30 Oct 1969 LAT stated that she was paid $250,000 plus a percentage of the profits.
       Two weeks of rehearsals preceded principal photography, which began 21 Oct 1968 at Columbia Pictures studios on Gower Street in Hollywood, CA. On 6 Nov 1968, DV announced that four days of location filming had begun in Pasadena, CA. Shooting resumed on the Columbia lot on 12 Nov 1968, according to a DV brief published that day. Another bout of location shooting took place 2--5 Dec 1968 at the Riviera, a casino and hotel in Las Vegas, NV, as noted in the 29 Nov 1968 and 6 Dec 1968 DV.
       According to a quote from Dyan Cannon in the 15 Feb 1970 NYT, Donald F. Muhich, who played the “Psychiatrist,” was Mazursky’s real-life psychoanalyst. Various items in issues of DV published between 10 Oct 1968 and 18 Dec 1968 listed the following actors and actresses as cast members: Harold Gould; Al Ward; Richard Reed ; Ivan Markota; Le June; Ted Foulkes; Anna Maria Majalca; Tanya Lemani; siblings Dawn and Leif Nervik (a.k.a. Dawn Lyn and Leif Garrett); Georgianne White; Nanci Roberts; Bridgette Devlin; Jan Narramore; Paula Warner; Sally Marr; Karen Halver; Bridgett Singhause; Michael Morris ; Amy S. Toned; David Roya; Sunny Tomblin; Barbara Stanley; and Raul Castro.
       In the 15 Feb 1970 NYT, Cannon stated that a “spooky” sequence in which her character, Alice Henderson, dreamt of being attacked by 100 men was edited out of the final film. Previously excised from the script, a comedy involving subjects such as “wife-swapping” and orgies, were “a couple descriptive words” that were met with disapproval by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), according to Larry Tucker in a 15 Nov 1968 DV interview. Although some speculated that Mazursky’s toned-down approach to nudity and sex would win the film an “M” rating (suggested for mature audiences) from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), it was given the harsher “R” rating which barred viewers under the age of sixteen, unless they were accompanied by a parent or guardian.
       On 25 Aug 1969, DV announced that Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice would be the first American picture to open the New York Film Festival. The film debuted there on 16 Sep 1968, and although the 17 Sep 1968 NYT review panned the picture and lamented that such studio fare was being highlighted by a festival known for championing foreign and independent films, the 2 Nov 1969 LAT review deemed it “a scintillating social comedy” and “one of the few movies thus far to be concerned with the generation in the gap: the awkward age generation who are too old for acid and too young for Geritol.” The picture went on to receive many accolades, including four Academy Award nominations: Actor in a Supporting Role (Elliott Gould); Actress in a Supporting Role (Dyan Cannon); Cinematography; and Writing (Story and Screenplay--based on material not previously published or produced). Dyan Cannon was also named Best Supporting Actress by the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC), in addition to receiving Golden Globe Award nominations for Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy, and New Star of the Year – Actress, while Elliott Gould was named “New Film Star of the Year” by the Loew’s theater circuit, as announced in the 19 Nov 1969 DV. Mazursky and Tucker won a Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award for Best Original Comedy, and the script was chosen as best screenplay of 1969 by the NYFCC.
       Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice proved to be a commercial success. On 5 Aug 1970, Var stated that cumulative box-office earnings had reached $12 million in 2,000 theaters, and the release was expected to widen to an additional 8,000 screens.
       The soundtrack was set to be released by Columbia’s recently acquired subsidiary, Bell Records, as stated in the 21 Oct 1969 DV. Along with the Cactus Flower (1969, see entry) soundtrack, it marked one of the first two film soundtracks on the Bell label. A novelization of the film was slated to be published by Bantam Books as part of a larger, eight-picture film-to-book promotion in which Bantam planned to distribute over two million copies of the eight titles in Nov and Dec 1969, according to the 29 Oct 1969 DV.
       The film was re-made as television sitcom, also titled Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, which aired for one season on ABC between 26 Sep 1973 and 7 Nov 1973, and starred Robert Urich as “Bob Sanders,” Anne Archer as “Carol Sanders,” David Spielberg as “Ted Henderson,” and Anita Gillette as “Alice Henderson.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
HISTORY CREDITS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
18 Jul 1968
p. 1
Daily Variety
30 Aug 1968
p. 2
Daily Variety
20 Sep 1968
p. 7
Daily Variety
10 Oct 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
23 Oct 1968
p. 8
Daily Variety
24 Oct 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
25 Oct 1968
p. 6
Daily Variety
25 Oct 1968
p. 10
Daily Variety
1 Nov 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
6 Nov 1968
p. 18
Daily Variety
7 Nov 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
8 Nov 1968
p. 17
Daily Variety
12 Nov 1968
p. 3
Daily Variety
14 Nov 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
15 Nov 1968
p. 2
Daily Variety
20 Nov 1968
p. 6
Daily Variety
21 Nov 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
26 Nov 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
27 Nov 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
29 Nov 1968
p. 7
Daily Variety
6 Nov 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
6 Dec 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
18 Dec 1968
p. 4
Daily Variety
2 Jul 1969
p. 3
Daily Variety
25 Aug 1969
p. 3
Daily Variety
10 Oct 1969
p. 3
Daily Variety
21 Oct 1969
p. 11
Daily Variety
29 Oct 1969
p. 12
Daily Variety
11 Nov 1969
p. 3
Daily Variety
19 Nov 1969
p. 3
Los Angeles Times
23 Jul 1968
Section F, p. 12
Los Angeles Times
12 Sep 1968
Section H, p. 14
Los Angeles Times
30 Oct 1969
Section E, p. 1, 15
Los Angeles Times
2 Nov 1969
Section C, p. 1, 22
Los Angeles Times
16 Mar 1970
Section E, p. 24
New York Times
17 Sep 1969
p. 50
New York Times
9 Oct 1969
p. 57
New York Times
30 Dec 1969
p. 38
New York Times
15 Feb 1970
p. 13, 18
Variety
5 Aug 1970
p. 5
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An M. J. Frankovich Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
M. J. Frankovich
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Charles Lang
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Instrumental
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Executive prod mgr
Prop master
SOURCES
SONGS
"What the World Needs Now Is Love," words and music by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, sung by Jackie De Shannon; "I Needs To Be Be'd With," words and music by Ernie Shelby and Quincy Jones, sung by Johnnie Wesley; "Burbank Brown," words and music by Ray Greathouse and Morris Bachemin.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice
Release Date:
8 October 1969
Premiere Information:
New York Fim Festival screening: 16 Sep 1969; New York opening: 8 Oct 1969; Los Angeles opening: 5 Nov 1969
Production Date:
began 21 Oct 1968
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Frankovich Productions, Inc.
1 December 1969
LP37646
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22095
SYNOPSIS

While doing research for a documentary, filmmaker Bob Sanders takes his wife, Carol, to an Esalen-type "sensitivity" institute in Southern California. Enlightened by the experience, the couple vow to expand their capacities for love and understanding by sharing everything with each other. So great is their enthusiasm that they decide to share their newfound "liberation" with their closest friends, lawyer Ted Henderson and his wife, Alice. But the Hendersons, particularly the somewhat inhibited Alice, remain skeptical. Following a trip to San Francisco, Bob confesses to his wife that he had a brief extramarital fling with his production secretary. Deeply moved by Bob's frankness and trust, Carol repeats Bob's confession to Ted and Alice, but the revelation leaves Alice so aghast that she feels compelled to visit a psychiatrist to discuss her sexual life with Ted. Upon returning from another trip, Bob finds that Carol spent the previous night with Horst, the tennis instructor from their club. Stifling his initial hostility in favor of a more "civilized" attitude, Bob insists that Horst sit down and join him in a friendly drink. A short time later Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice go off to Las Vegas for a weekend. Before leaving to catch Tony Bennett's dinner show, Bob relates Carol's experience with Horst, and Ted is moved to admit that he, too, recently indulged in a brief adulterous episode. Unhinged by what has happened, Alice defiantly demands that they have an orgy before going out to dinner. After some hesitation and discussion, the two couples agree to the proposal and all four climb into one large bed. Despite some preliminaries, however, they find that they are unable to go ...

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While doing research for a documentary, filmmaker Bob Sanders takes his wife, Carol, to an Esalen-type "sensitivity" institute in Southern California. Enlightened by the experience, the couple vow to expand their capacities for love and understanding by sharing everything with each other. So great is their enthusiasm that they decide to share their newfound "liberation" with their closest friends, lawyer Ted Henderson and his wife, Alice. But the Hendersons, particularly the somewhat inhibited Alice, remain skeptical. Following a trip to San Francisco, Bob confesses to his wife that he had a brief extramarital fling with his production secretary. Deeply moved by Bob's frankness and trust, Carol repeats Bob's confession to Ted and Alice, but the revelation leaves Alice so aghast that she feels compelled to visit a psychiatrist to discuss her sexual life with Ted. Upon returning from another trip, Bob finds that Carol spent the previous night with Horst, the tennis instructor from their club. Stifling his initial hostility in favor of a more "civilized" attitude, Bob insists that Horst sit down and join him in a friendly drink. A short time later Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice go off to Las Vegas for a weekend. Before leaving to catch Tony Bennett's dinner show, Bob relates Carol's experience with Horst, and Ted is moved to admit that he, too, recently indulged in a brief adulterous episode. Unhinged by what has happened, Alice defiantly demands that they have an orgy before going out to dinner. After some hesitation and discussion, the two couples agree to the proposal and all four climb into one large bed. Despite some preliminaries, however, they find that they are unable to go through with it. Filled with good will toward each other, Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice get dressed, leave the hotel, and join the throngs of people milling about outside.

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

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