The Man Who Understood Women (1959)

105 mins | Romantic comedy | October 1959

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HISTORY

According to a Dec 1958 HR news item, Glenn Ford and Anthony Franciosa both turned down the role of "Willi." An Apr 1958 LAEx news item announced that May Britt was originally set to star as "Ann." Although HR production charts include Hank Henry and Jack Krushen in the cast, Krushen was not in the released film, and Henry's appearance has not been confirmed. A Jan 1959 HR news item notes that Gary Spencer was to play a reporter, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Although a Jan 1959 LAT news item states that Nina Shipman was to play a girl spurned by Henry Fonda, she does not appear in the released film.
       Studio publicity contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library states that location filming was done in Bel Air, CA; Torrey Pines State Park, near San Diego, CA, and on the Riviera in France. The Man Who Understood Women marked the American screen debut of Italian actor Cesare ... More Less

According to a Dec 1958 HR news item, Glenn Ford and Anthony Franciosa both turned down the role of "Willi." An Apr 1958 LAEx news item announced that May Britt was originally set to star as "Ann." Although HR production charts include Hank Henry and Jack Krushen in the cast, Krushen was not in the released film, and Henry's appearance has not been confirmed. A Jan 1959 HR news item notes that Gary Spencer was to play a reporter, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Although a Jan 1959 LAT news item states that Nina Shipman was to play a girl spurned by Henry Fonda, she does not appear in the released film.
       Studio publicity contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library states that location filming was done in Bel Air, CA; Torrey Pines State Park, near San Diego, CA, and on the Riviera in France. The Man Who Understood Women marked the American screen debut of Italian actor Cesare Danova. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Sep 1959.
---
Daily Variety
22 Sep 59
p. 3.
Film Daily
22 Sep 59
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 58
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 59
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jan 59
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 1959.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Feb 59
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 59
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 59
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
16 Apr 1958.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Jan 1959.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 Sep 59
p. 428.
New York Times
3 Oct 59
p. 14.
Variety
23 Sep 59
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Props
COSTUMES
Exec ward des
SOUND
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Dial coach
Tech adv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Les couleurs du jour by Romain Gary (Paris, 1952).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"A Paris Valentine," words and music by Paul Francis Webster and Robert Emmett Dolan.
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1959
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 2 October 1959
Production Date:
early January--late February 1959
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 July 1959
Copyright Number:
LP14130
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
105
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19237
SYNOPSIS

In 1956, at a hospital in Nice, France, film star Ann Garantier anxiously awaits word about the condition of her husband, Hollywood film producer Willi Bauche, who tumbled from a cliff into the sea. While waiting for the doctor's prognosis, Preacher, Willi's right-hand man and surrogate conscience, recalls Ann's meeting with Willi eight years earlier: Ann, an aspiring young actress at the studio, catches Willi's eye one day. In need of a muse, Willi tricks G. K., the studio boss, into offering her a contract. Under Willi's tutelage, Ann catapults to stardom, but Ann, who has fallen in love with her mentor, becomes frustrated because Willi is more interested in making movies than in making love. Fed up, Ann announces that she is quitting show business because Willi does not love her the way she loves him. After wrestling with his conscience, Willi finally proposes and they are married. On their wedding night, however, Ann is bitterly disappointed when Willi spends the entire evening strategizing her career rather than making love to her. Furious, Ann refuses to have sex with Willi until six months later, on the eve of the debut of their first independent production. Just as they are about to consummate their marriage, word comes that the picture is a smash success. Willi rockets out of the bedroom to celebrate with his cronies, leaving Ann forlorn and rejected once again. Later, when the couple travels to the Riviera to make their next film, Willi worries that France will pique Ann's rampant romanticism. To insure that his wife is not tempted by an amorous Frenchman, he hires two ... +


In 1956, at a hospital in Nice, France, film star Ann Garantier anxiously awaits word about the condition of her husband, Hollywood film producer Willi Bauche, who tumbled from a cliff into the sea. While waiting for the doctor's prognosis, Preacher, Willi's right-hand man and surrogate conscience, recalls Ann's meeting with Willi eight years earlier: Ann, an aspiring young actress at the studio, catches Willi's eye one day. In need of a muse, Willi tricks G. K., the studio boss, into offering her a contract. Under Willi's tutelage, Ann catapults to stardom, but Ann, who has fallen in love with her mentor, becomes frustrated because Willi is more interested in making movies than in making love. Fed up, Ann announces that she is quitting show business because Willi does not love her the way she loves him. After wrestling with his conscience, Willi finally proposes and they are married. On their wedding night, however, Ann is bitterly disappointed when Willi spends the entire evening strategizing her career rather than making love to her. Furious, Ann refuses to have sex with Willi until six months later, on the eve of the debut of their first independent production. Just as they are about to consummate their marriage, word comes that the picture is a smash success. Willi rockets out of the bedroom to celebrate with his cronies, leaving Ann forlorn and rejected once again. Later, when the couple travels to the Riviera to make their next film, Willi worries that France will pique Ann's rampant romanticism. To insure that his wife is not tempted by an amorous Frenchman, he hires two gangsters--Soprano, a burly Sicilian, and Baron, an addled count in a cigar-smoking stupor--to follow her. One night on the Promenade, Marco Ranieri, a dashing soldier, wins Ann over when he reveals that he carries her photograph next to his heart. On her last night in Nice, Ann encounters Marco once again at a nightclub, and their fervent glances at each other send emotional sparks flying across the room. Marco asks Ann to dance, and when they disappear from the dance floor, Willi flies into a jealous rage and dispatches Soprano and Baron to follow them. Marco takes Ann to his love nest up in the hills above the sea, and the next day, Ann phones Willi at his hotel and tells him that she is not coming back. Willi feigns nonchalance, but once alone, he breaks into tears. Soon after, Le Marne, a soldier friend of Marco's, visits Willi and threatens to expose Ann's affair unless Willi agrees to wine and dine him until he has to report to duty in three days. Willi capitulates, and embarks upon drunken debauchery, accompanied by Le Marne. Ann, meanwhile, fears that Marco loves the military more than her, but he reassures her that she is his priority. Back at the hotel, Soprano and Baron come to report to Willi, and find him passed out, clad in a clown costume. Willi awakens, and in a boozy haze, instructs Soprano to kill Marco. Asserting that lovers should never be separated, Soprano decides to kill Ann, too. After Soprano and Baron leave to execute Willi's orders, Willi rouses from his stupor and realizes what he has done. As Marco and Ann dreamily stroll along a fog-shrouded ridge above the sea, Soprano and Baron close in for the kill while Willi, still dressed in his clown outfit, charges up the hill to save Ann. Baron's protests that Ann should be allowed to live are ignored by Soprano, and consequently, when Soprano aims his gun at the lovers, Baron shoots him before he can shoot them. Willi, meanwhile, loses his footing at the top of the cliff and plunges into the sea below. Safely back in their love nest, Marco dons his uniform to return to duty, telling Ann that he is leaving because part of her will always belong to Willi. Preacher's narrative returns to the present, and the doctor appears, declaring that Willi is suffering from multiple fractures but will recover. Ann then tentatively enters Willi's hospital room. Relieved that she has returned, Willi recants his former life, and after asking her to marry him again, apologizes for their extended courtship. +

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.