Promises! Promises! (1963)

75 mins | Comedy | 1963

Director:

King Donovan

Cinematographer:

Joseph Biroc

Editor:

Edward Dutko

Production Designer:

Serge Krizman

Production Company:

Noonan-Taylor Productions
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HISTORY

The 23 May 1962 DV reported that comedian Tommy Noonan was leasing space at General Service Studios in Hollywood, CA, for his independent feature film, Promise Her Anything, based on Edna Sheklow’s 1960 play, The Plant. On 13 Jun 1962, DV stated that casting would begin the following week, with production scheduled for Aug 1962. The 22 Jun 1962 LAT announced that English actress Diana Dors would star. At the time, Dors was expecting a baby, which would also appear on screen. Based on available information, neither Dors nor her child participated in the completed film.
       An article in the 24 Sep 1962 DV noted that filmmakers Roger and Gene Corman were unable to arrange distribution for the picture, which was co-produced by Raoul Brillant of France, Fulvio Luscisano of Italy, and England’s British Lion Films. Months later, the 13 Dec 1962 LAT reported that the stalled project was “reactivated” after Noonan partnered with Spain’s T-I Films Company, Ltd. Auditions for a new cast were currently underway. The 26 Dec 1962 DV identified Jack Broder as executive producer. On 9 Jan 1963, DV announced King Donovan as director, with Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren in lead roles. A news item in the 11 Jan 1963 LAT stated that principal photography would begin three days later at KTTV Studios in Hollywood. James Wong Howe was credited as cinematographer; other available sources credit Joseph Biroc. Within days, Van Doren quit the project, according to the 15 Jan ... More Less

The 23 May 1962 DV reported that comedian Tommy Noonan was leasing space at General Service Studios in Hollywood, CA, for his independent feature film, Promise Her Anything, based on Edna Sheklow’s 1960 play, The Plant. On 13 Jun 1962, DV stated that casting would begin the following week, with production scheduled for Aug 1962. The 22 Jun 1962 LAT announced that English actress Diana Dors would star. At the time, Dors was expecting a baby, which would also appear on screen. Based on available information, neither Dors nor her child participated in the completed film.
       An article in the 24 Sep 1962 DV noted that filmmakers Roger and Gene Corman were unable to arrange distribution for the picture, which was co-produced by Raoul Brillant of France, Fulvio Luscisano of Italy, and England’s British Lion Films. Months later, the 13 Dec 1962 LAT reported that the stalled project was “reactivated” after Noonan partnered with Spain’s T-I Films Company, Ltd. Auditions for a new cast were currently underway. The 26 Dec 1962 DV identified Jack Broder as executive producer. On 9 Jan 1963, DV announced King Donovan as director, with Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren in lead roles. A news item in the 11 Jan 1963 LAT stated that principal photography would begin three days later at KTTV Studios in Hollywood. James Wong Howe was credited as cinematographer; other available sources credit Joseph Biroc. Within days, Van Doren quit the project, according to the 15 Jan 1963 DV, because Mansfield was offered a larger percentage of the profits. Van Doren’s replacement was Marie McDonald. The article credited writers Howard Snyder and Arthur Sheekman as contributors to the screenplay. The source material was mistakenly reported as Edna Sheklow’s The Babysitter. An item in the 13 Feb 1963 Var mentioned Sheklow as part of the writing team.
       Casting announcements included Angela Bowder (7 Jun 1962 LAT), Kathleen Gregory (11 Jan 1963 DV), Gloria Moreland (18 Jan 1963 LAT), and pianist Jack Russell (6 Feb 1963 DV).
       According to the 24 Jan 1963 DV, two versions of the picture were to be released: one for the U.S., and one for Europe featuring Mansfield in the nude. The film’s budget was estimated at $345,000. On 31 Jan 1963, DV noted that still photographs from Mansfield’s nude scene would appear in the May 1963 issue of Playboy magazine. The 8 Mar 1963 LAT claimed that Mansfield received a “four-figure figure” for the photographs, one of which appeared on the cover. Meanwhile, Noonan was moving the production to New York City for location shooting aboard the S.S. Independence.
       Noonan told the 3 Feb 1963 LAT that he and co-producer Donald F. Taylor began the project by borrowing $430,000, promising to repay investors in 120 days. Among the film’s sponsors were a physician, who contributed $4,000, and a tax accountant who contributed $50,000. The legal advisor for the production deferred his salary and invested $25,000. All were expected to collect returns over the next seven to ten years. Crewmembers advised Noonan on using time and money more efficiently, such as changing sets in fifteen minutes, rather than the accepted industry standard of one-half hour.
       As stated in the 13 Feb 1963 DV, Noonan returned from New York City the previous day, and expected to complete photography on 15 Feb 1963. He temporarily changed the title to Promise Her Everything, after failing to make a promotional deal with Arpege perfumers, known for their signature slogan, “Promise her anything, but give her Arpege.” The 21 Feb 1963 DV announced the official title as Promises, Promises. Noonan and Taylor credited their publicist, Jet Fore, on screen, listing him as a technician.
       The 19 Mar 1963 DV reported that composer Hal Borne would begin recording the musical score at Ryder Sound Services the following day. According to the 28 Mar 1963 DV, Noonan delayed a sound-dubbing session after suffering a brain concussion in an automobile accident. Weeks later, the 4 Apr 1963 DV revealed that Noonan previewed Promises! Promises! by preempting a screening of Too Late to Kill, starring his half-brother, John Ireland. No other information on the latter film is available.
       The 22 Aug 1963 DV reported that Noonan and Taylor formed Noonan-Taylor Distributors (NTD) after their picture was refused by every other distributor they approached. At the time of the article, NTD had a twelve-member sales force and had already received $80,000 in nonrefundable advances from exhibitors. The film’s production costs, estimated at $200,000, were expected to be recovered by early Nov 1963. Noonan admitted that the U.S. version of the film was never released due to poor notices. His only option was to release the European version and exploit Mansfield’s nude scene. This scene is generally considered to be the first nude appearance by a major U.S. film star. The picture was banned in Chicago, IL, as well as several other major cities, although the Chicago Motion Picture Board reversed its decision following an appeal from Noonan, as reported in the 31 Jan 1964 DV.
       Promises! Promises! opened 11 Dec 1963 in Los Angeles, CA. The 5 Aug 1963 DV declared that the film had nothing to offer “anyone whose mentality surpasses that of a five-year-old.” Some exhibitors agreed, according to the 18 Dec 1963 DV. Representatives of the Fox West Coast, Metropolitan, and Stanley Warner theater chains claimed they only booked the film because there was little else available between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Box office receipts totaled a modest $80,000 for metropolitan Los Angeles. Six months later, the 12 Jun 1964 DV reported that the film had been somewhat profitable, enabling Noonan and Taylor to begin work on a picture starring Mamie Van Doren. Noonan died four years later of a brain tumor.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
23 May 1962
p. 11.
Daily Variety
13 Jun 1962
p. 5.
Daily Variety
24 Sep 1962
p. 1.
Daily Variety
3 Dec 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
26 Dec 1962
p. 15.
Daily Variety
9 Jan 1963
p. 6.
Daily Variety
11 Jan 1963
p. 6.
Daily Variety
15 Jan 1963
p. 1, 9.
Daily Variety
24 Jan 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
28 Jan 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
31 Jan 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
6 Feb 1963
p. 16.
Daily Variety
13 Feb 1963
p. 2, 11.
Daily Variety
21 Feb 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Mar 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
28 Mar 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Apr 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Aug 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
22 Aug 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
18 Dec 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
31 Jan 1964
p. 1.
Daily Variety
12 Jun 1964
p. 14.
Daily Variety
7 Dec 1963
Section A, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
7 Jun 1962
Section C, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
22 Jun 1962
Section C, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
13 Dec 1962
Section D, p. 14, 15.
Los Angeles Times
11 Jan 1963
Section C, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times
18 Jan 1963
Section D, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
3 Feb 1963
Section B, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
24 Feb 1963
Section B, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
8 Mar 1963
Section C, p. 11.
Variety
13 Feb 1963
p. 70.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss Mansfield's ward des
Marie McDonald's ward des
MUSIC
Mus
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Miss Mansfield's coiffure
Marie McDonald's coiffure
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Prop master
Ch elec
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Plant by Edna Sheklow (1960).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Lu-Lu-Lu I'm in Love" and "Promise Her Anything," music and lyrics by Hal Borne, sung by Jayne Mansfield
"Fairy Tales," music and lyrics by Roberta Day, sung by Marie McDonald.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Promise Her Anything
Promise Her Everything
Release Date:
1963
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 2 August 1963
Production Date:
14 January--15 February 1963
Copyright Claimant:
Noonan-Taylor Productions
Copyright Date:
2 August 1963
Copyright Number:
LP28696
Duration(in mins):
75
Countries:
United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Television writer Jeff Brooks, vacationing on a world cruise with his wife, Sandy, finds himself in a cabin next door to muscleman actor King Banner and his wife, Claire. Sandy has been unable to become pregnant because Jeff is too nervous and tense. Hoping that a restful trip will solve the problem, Jeff consults the ship's doctor, who gives him aspirin in the guise of a fertility pill. The couples' frequent drinking parties and trips to each others' cabins create confusion when Sandy and Claire both become pregnant. Jeff remains in a state of drunkenness because he recalls seeing Sandy, clad only in a revealing negligee, entertaining King; in addition, he remembers awakening one morning to the sight of Claire passed out in the same room. Some questions about the babies' parentage obviously remain to be ... +


Television writer Jeff Brooks, vacationing on a world cruise with his wife, Sandy, finds himself in a cabin next door to muscleman actor King Banner and his wife, Claire. Sandy has been unable to become pregnant because Jeff is too nervous and tense. Hoping that a restful trip will solve the problem, Jeff consults the ship's doctor, who gives him aspirin in the guise of a fertility pill. The couples' frequent drinking parties and trips to each others' cabins create confusion when Sandy and Claire both become pregnant. Jeff remains in a state of drunkenness because he recalls seeing Sandy, clad only in a revealing negligee, entertaining King; in addition, he remembers awakening one morning to the sight of Claire passed out in the same room. Some questions about the babies' parentage obviously remain to be answered. +

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

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