Star Spangled Girl (1971)

G | 92-93 mins | Comedy | December 1971

Director:

Jerry Paris

Producer:

Howard W. Koch

Cinematographer:

Sam Leavitt

Editor:

Frank Bracht

Production Designer:

Lawrence G. Paull

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

Before the opening credits, “Emilia ‘Amy’ Cooper” is shown riding in a Greyhound bus to Los Angeles, sitting next to a man who closely resembles Jon Voight’s “Joe Buck” character from Midnight Cowboy (1969, see above), who tells her “If things don’t work out better for me here than in New York I might just move on.” The character of “Mrs. Kay MacKaninee” remains silent throughout the film.
       Star Spangled Girl was based on the Neil Simon stage play, The Star-Spangled Girl , which had its Broadway debut on 21 Dec 1966, starring Connie Stevens, Anthony Perkins and Richard Benjamin. On 7 Dec 1966, DV announced that Paramount had bought the film rights to the play and made a “substantial” investment in the stage production “in keeping with [the] studio’s intentions of expanding into all areas of the entertainment field.” At that time, The Star-Spangled Girl marked the fourth Simon play acquired by the studio as part of a seven-year deal the writer made with Paramount in 1963, allowing them the first option on all of his properties.
       In Apr 1967, HR reported that Paramount was considering Marlo Thomas for the lead role in the film. A Jul 1968 DV article stated that producer Howard W. Koch planned to begin production on the film version in Oct 1968, with exteriors to be shot in San Francisco, the locale of the play. Arnold Schulman was announced in that article as the screenwriter. Barry Shear was then named as the film’s director in a Dec 1968 DV article. In Oct 1970, HR stated ... More Less

Before the opening credits, “Emilia ‘Amy’ Cooper” is shown riding in a Greyhound bus to Los Angeles, sitting next to a man who closely resembles Jon Voight’s “Joe Buck” character from Midnight Cowboy (1969, see above), who tells her “If things don’t work out better for me here than in New York I might just move on.” The character of “Mrs. Kay MacKaninee” remains silent throughout the film.
       Star Spangled Girl was based on the Neil Simon stage play, The Star-Spangled Girl , which had its Broadway debut on 21 Dec 1966, starring Connie Stevens, Anthony Perkins and Richard Benjamin. On 7 Dec 1966, DV announced that Paramount had bought the film rights to the play and made a “substantial” investment in the stage production “in keeping with [the] studio’s intentions of expanding into all areas of the entertainment field.” At that time, The Star-Spangled Girl marked the fourth Simon play acquired by the studio as part of a seven-year deal the writer made with Paramount in 1963, allowing them the first option on all of his properties.
       In Apr 1967, HR reported that Paramount was considering Marlo Thomas for the lead role in the film. A Jul 1968 DV article stated that producer Howard W. Koch planned to begin production on the film version in Oct 1968, with exteriors to be shot in San Francisco, the locale of the play. Arnold Schulman was announced in that article as the screenwriter. Barry Shear was then named as the film’s director in a Dec 1968 DV article. In Oct 1970, HR stated that Joey Heatherton had been “virtually signed” to star in Star Spangled Girl .
       The film began production in Apr 1971, directed by Jerry Paris, who had earlier directed the pilot for star Sandy Duncan’s television series Funny Face . As noted in press materials, some scenes were photographed at the Paramount Studios and others were shot in various locations around Los Angeles, the setting of the film. Star Spangled Girl marked Todd Susman’s feature film debut.
       The film received almost universally poor notices. In his autobiography, Simon discussed the Broadway version of his play, stating that he based it on a spirited political conversation he overheard between author Paddy Chayevsky and the wife of an astronaut. Simon expressed his disappointment in the play, declaring “I blocked out my integrity and settled for a night of fun.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Dec 1971.
---
Daily Variety
7 Dec 1966
p. 1.
Daily Variety
2 Jul 1968.
---
Daily Variety
13 Dec 1968.
---
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1970.
---
Daily Variety
5 May 1971.
---
Daily Variety
17 Nov 1971.
---
Filmfacts
1971
pp. 670-72.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 1967.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 1967.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Apr 1971
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 1971.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1971
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1971
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Nov 1971.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Dec 1971.
---
New York Times
23 Dec 1971
p. 20.
Time
17 Jan 1972.
---
Variety
17 Nov 1971
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Howard W. Koch Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Helicopter photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Head gaffer
Best boy
Crab dolly
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set coord
Props
Props
Standby painter
Greensman
COSTUMES
Men's ward
Women's ward
MUSIC
SOUND
Boom op
Utility soundman
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Dial coach
Casting
Scr cont
Asst to Jerry Paris
Postprod supv
Craft service
Transportation
Auditor
Unit pub
STAND INS
Stunt double
Stunt double
Stunt double
Stunt double
Stunt double
Stunts
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Star-Spangled Girl by Neil Simon as produced on the stage by Saint-Subber (New York, 21 Dec 1966).
SONGS
"Girl," music by Charles Fox, lyrics by Norman Gimbel, sung by Davy Jones (A Bell Records Artist), recording supervised by Jackie Mills.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
December 1971
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 22 December 1971
Los Angeles opening: 25 December 1971
Production Date:
27 April--late May 1971
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
14 September 1971
Copyright Number:
LP40201
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Movielab
Duration(in mins):
92-93
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In Los Angeles, ladies’ man Andy Hobart, who publishes the underground, leftist newspaper Nitty Gritty with his roommate and best friend, Norman Cornell, performs his typical daily machinations to sell papers, steal food and evade their many creditors. Back at their apartment, Andy fails to sneak by landlady Mrs. Kay MacKaninee, whom he habitually placates for their overdue rent payments by accompanying her to various, strenuously athletic events. Just then, bubbly Emilia Cooper, known as Amy, arrives from Florida with her cat Buster, planning to marry her fiancé, teach swimming at the YWCA and train for the next Olympics swim team. When she takes the apartment across from Andy, Norman, a lonely, over-excitable writer, is instantly smitten with her. Amy then goes door-to-door greeting each new neighbor and Norman, dumbstruck, tries to hide her from Andy so he cannot win her away. She then returns to offer them a fruitcake, causing Norman to explode in joy, enraptured by the scent of her hair. Although Andy is concerned that this distraction will keep Norman from producing the newspaper issues necessary to pay off their debts, Norman insists he must have affection in order to work. Soon after, Buster disappears and, in helping to search for her, Norman accidentally spills red paint all over the white cat and then comes on too strong to Amy, who came to Los Angeles to escape the tension that caused her to lose her last swim meet. The next day on her way to work, her discomfort is increased when she sees painted messages throughout the town proclaiming Norman’s love for her. Three days later, Norman remains ... +


In Los Angeles, ladies’ man Andy Hobart, who publishes the underground, leftist newspaper Nitty Gritty with his roommate and best friend, Norman Cornell, performs his typical daily machinations to sell papers, steal food and evade their many creditors. Back at their apartment, Andy fails to sneak by landlady Mrs. Kay MacKaninee, whom he habitually placates for their overdue rent payments by accompanying her to various, strenuously athletic events. Just then, bubbly Emilia Cooper, known as Amy, arrives from Florida with her cat Buster, planning to marry her fiancé, teach swimming at the YWCA and train for the next Olympics swim team. When she takes the apartment across from Andy, Norman, a lonely, over-excitable writer, is instantly smitten with her. Amy then goes door-to-door greeting each new neighbor and Norman, dumbstruck, tries to hide her from Andy so he cannot win her away. She then returns to offer them a fruitcake, causing Norman to explode in joy, enraptured by the scent of her hair. Although Andy is concerned that this distraction will keep Norman from producing the newspaper issues necessary to pay off their debts, Norman insists he must have affection in order to work. Soon after, Buster disappears and, in helping to search for her, Norman accidentally spills red paint all over the white cat and then comes on too strong to Amy, who came to Los Angeles to escape the tension that caused her to lose her last swim meet. The next day on her way to work, her discomfort is increased when she sees painted messages throughout the town proclaiming Norman’s love for her. Three days later, Norman remains so enthralled by Amy that he cannot write, causing Andy to panic. Shouting that he has invested his entire life savings in the newspaper, whose progressive causes he fervently supports, Andy berates Norman for spending their meager savings on gourmet food for Amy. Undeterred, Norman leaves the food basket for Amy, who then enters their apartment in tears. Although she announces that she is engaged and his actions are causing her great stress, Norman refuses to listen and continues to exult in her shampoo. After she leaves, he admits to Andy that he is out of control, but states that he cannot arrest the physical attraction. Instead he visits her home to mop her floor, causing her to flee to Andy’s apartment to call the police. There, Andy channels all his charm to convince her that Norman is a misunderstood genius fighting for American freedom. However, they are interrupted by Norman, who runs in with the news that he has accidentally dropped Buster in the toilet. The diminutive Amy easily strong-arms Andy into allowing her to call the police, but he manages to impress upon her the importance of the Nitty Gritty . Amy’s conservative politics are offended by what she sees as the men’s attack on America, but unwilling to hurt Andy, she agrees to a compromise: if Andy will keep Norman away from her, she will smile at the writer occasionally. Encouraged by Amy’s smiles, Norman is soon writing, while Andy unwillingly waterskis with Mrs. MacKaninee. One afternoon, Norman forces his way into Amy’s YWCA class to present her with the gift of a duck, which falls into the pool. In the ensuing chaos, Norman is arrested and put on probation. Andy returns home prodigiously sunburned, thrilled to hear that Norman plans to forget Amy and return to work. However, Norman cannot write, and upon calling Amy at work, discovers that she has been fired because of him. When Amy soon arrives at the apartment in a fury, Andy throws out Norman and offers her a job as their secretary. With no other options, she agrees, though she has no secretarial skills. Andy continues to date Mrs. MacKaninee, while at home Norman pesters Amy, who threatens him with a frying pan. Andy is pleased with Norman’s output, so when Amy threatens to quit, Andy cajoles her into staying. Angry, Amy disparages the newspaper and lectures Andy on his “snide and treacherous” attitude, causing him to berate her for her provincial, unenlightened xenophobia. In the midst of their heated argument, Amy shouts that although she dislikes him, she likes his scent and wants him to kiss to her. Shocked, Andy tries to resist, but gives in to her beguilements. As they kiss, Norman walks in the room. Within minutes, Norman is packing to leave, as is Amy. Andy leaves the apartment but is assaulted on the street by creditor Mr. Karlson and his goons, Lem and Roy, who punch each other as an example of what will happen to Andy if he does not repay them by 3:00. Andy returns home, where he tries to convince Norman that he and Amy dislike one another. Getting nowhere, Andy switches his tactics and pleads with him to save the newspaper, but Norman informs him that he has an interview with the Associated Press. Andy stages a mini-sit-in at the front door, prompting Norman to offer to fight him. Arguing wildly to avoid an actual physical confrontation, the two finally exchange one punch, which collides midair and injures both of their hands. Andy then quietly gives Norman leave to go, but asks for a handshake. When Norman complies, Andy quickly handcuffs him to the stair rail and orders him to write one more article to finish the issue, so he can pay off Karlson. Just then, Amy arrives to say goodbye. Norman promises not to bother her again, but she states that she now understands his behavior. Andy, apologizing for not “reacting to stimulae” the way she does, asks her to stay on and work with him. Insulted, she retorts that she may be old-fashioned but he is unable to feel. As she leaves, Norman delights in her rejection of Andy, prompting Andy to unlock him and begin to dismantle the office in defeat. Norman walks out the door, stating that maybe someday they can forget the past, then walks back in only moments later declaring that he has already forgotten. He sits down to write, but Andy is distracted by Amy’s lingering scent. Realizing that he must be in love with her, and spurred on by Norman, he hops onto Mrs. MacKaninee’s motorcycle and chases her bus. Meanwhile, Norman is forced to evade Lem and Roy by borrowing money from Mrs. MacKaninee. As he repays the debt by skydiving with her, Andy reaches Amy’s bus. He shouts his love for her, and after she agrees joyfully to return, Andy, unable to stop the motorcycle, crashes into the beach. +

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

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