Jennifer on My Mind (1971)

R | 90 mins | Black comedy | November 1971

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HISTORY

The working title of the film was Heir , which was also the title of the Roger L. Simon novel on which it was based. The opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in order. The film opens with a voice-over by "Marcus Rottner" comparing his Jewish family's immigrant experience to that of "Jennifer De Silva." Voice-over by Marcus continues throughout the film, which is told partially in flashback. Marcus also has two conversations with the ghost of his grandfather. The HR review lists it at 98 minutes, although all other sources list the film's running time at 90 minutes. According to an Oct 1968 HR news item, the rights to Simon's novel, which was his first, were initially purchased by Anthony Spinner and Barry Shear. In Jun 1969, a HR news item noted that United Artists executive Herb Jaffe was in discussions with Joseph M. Schenck Enterprises to produce the film.
       Although actress Kim Hunter is listed as a cast member in news items and production charts up to Apr 1971, she does not appear in the released film. According to Filmfacts , Jennifer on My Mind was edited several times before release, and after a "disastrous" preview in San Francisco, Hunter's character, Jenny's mother, was cut entirely from the film. Jennifer on My Mind marked the feature film debuts of Barry Bostwick and Jeff Conaway. According to Filmfacts and the LAT review scriptwriter, Erich Segal made a cameo appearance in the film as a gondolier. Jennifer on My Mind was shot on location ... More Less

The working title of the film was Heir , which was also the title of the Roger L. Simon novel on which it was based. The opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in order. The film opens with a voice-over by "Marcus Rottner" comparing his Jewish family's immigrant experience to that of "Jennifer De Silva." Voice-over by Marcus continues throughout the film, which is told partially in flashback. Marcus also has two conversations with the ghost of his grandfather. The HR review lists it at 98 minutes, although all other sources list the film's running time at 90 minutes. According to an Oct 1968 HR news item, the rights to Simon's novel, which was his first, were initially purchased by Anthony Spinner and Barry Shear. In Jun 1969, a HR news item noted that United Artists executive Herb Jaffe was in discussions with Joseph M. Schenck Enterprises to produce the film.
       Although actress Kim Hunter is listed as a cast member in news items and production charts up to Apr 1971, she does not appear in the released film. According to Filmfacts , Jennifer on My Mind was edited several times before release, and after a "disastrous" preview in San Francisco, Hunter's character, Jenny's mother, was cut entirely from the film. Jennifer on My Mind marked the feature film debuts of Barry Bostwick and Jeff Conaway. According to Filmfacts and the LAT review scriptwriter, Erich Segal made a cameo appearance in the film as a gondolier. Jennifer on My Mind was shot on location in New York City, New Jersey and Venice, Italy.
       The LAT reviewer speculated that either Simon or Segal was inspired by the true-life, 1966 case of Robert Friede, a twenty-five-year-old Annenberg publishing heir, and Celeste Crenshaw, a drug-addicted, nineteen-year-old socialite whose corpse was found in Friede’s car. Friede was the son of Evelyn Annenberg Hall and her first husband, Kenneth Friede.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Apr 1971.
---
Daily Variety
13 Oct 1971.
---
Filmfacts
1971
pp. 626-27.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Oct 1968.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 1969.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 1970
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1970
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Oct 1971.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Dec 1971
Section IV, p. 28.
New York Times
11 Nov 1971,
---
San Francisco Chronicle
12 Nov 1971.
---
Variety
13 Oct 1971
p. 20.
Village Voice
25 Nov 1971.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir Italian seq
PRODUCERS
Exec in charge of prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op Italian seq
1st asst cam
Gaffer Italian seq
Key grip
Key grip Italian seq
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Scenic artist
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward Italian seq
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles
MAKEUP
Makeup Italian seq
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Script supv Italian seq
Prod mgr Italian seq
Prod sec Italian seq
Prod coord
STAND INS
Stunt coord
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Heir by Roger L. Simon (New York, 1968).
SONGS
"Where the Good Songs Go," lyrics by Tom Paxton, music by Stephen J. Lawrence.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Heir
Release Date:
November 1971
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 10 November 1971
Production Date:
late May--early August 1970 in New York City and Venice, Italy
Copyright Claimant:
Joseph M. Schenck Enterprises, Inc.
Copyright Date:
29 September 1971
Copyright Number:
LP40486
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
DeLuxe
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

After causing the death of the girl he loves, Jennifer De Silva, by an accidental heroin overdose, wealthy young dilettante Marcus Rottner sits in his New Jersey flat grief-stricken and unsure of how to dispose of the body. Having maintained a tape-recorded account of his relationship with Jenny, Marcus anxiously updates his reflections with the stunning abruptness of her death and his new identity as a murderer. When the doorbell interrupts his musings, Marcus panics and carries Jenny into the bathroom before admitting his older sister Selma. Angered that Marcus has broken a lunch date with her, Selma voices her concern over Marcus’s growing isolation and, when he refuses to allow her to use the bathroom, wonders if he should consult a psycho-therapist. Annoyed, Marcus forces Selma to depart, then hides Jenny’s body in his antique harpsichord. On his way to consult his best friend, Sigmund Ornstein, Marcus recalls meeting Jenny: Several months earlier, Marcus, who does not work but lives off of the generous monthly income from a family trust fund, makes another tour of Europe. In Venice he is attracted to a beautiful, blonde young woman balancing on a bridge railing and learns that she is a similarly bored, disenchanted, wealthy American. Jenny’s impulsive nature enchants Marcus and the couple spends the rest of the day together. That evening, Jenny is disappointed to learn that Marcus does not have any marijuana and despite his promises to provide it, she returns to her hotel room. The next morning, Marcus watches in disappointment as Jenny, her mother and step-father make an early departure. A few weeks later Marcus, ... +


After causing the death of the girl he loves, Jennifer De Silva, by an accidental heroin overdose, wealthy young dilettante Marcus Rottner sits in his New Jersey flat grief-stricken and unsure of how to dispose of the body. Having maintained a tape-recorded account of his relationship with Jenny, Marcus anxiously updates his reflections with the stunning abruptness of her death and his new identity as a murderer. When the doorbell interrupts his musings, Marcus panics and carries Jenny into the bathroom before admitting his older sister Selma. Angered that Marcus has broken a lunch date with her, Selma voices her concern over Marcus’s growing isolation and, when he refuses to allow her to use the bathroom, wonders if he should consult a psycho-therapist. Annoyed, Marcus forces Selma to depart, then hides Jenny’s body in his antique harpsichord. On his way to consult his best friend, Sigmund Ornstein, Marcus recalls meeting Jenny: Several months earlier, Marcus, who does not work but lives off of the generous monthly income from a family trust fund, makes another tour of Europe. In Venice he is attracted to a beautiful, blonde young woman balancing on a bridge railing and learns that she is a similarly bored, disenchanted, wealthy American. Jenny’s impulsive nature enchants Marcus and the couple spends the rest of the day together. That evening, Jenny is disappointed to learn that Marcus does not have any marijuana and despite his promises to provide it, she returns to her hotel room. The next morning, Marcus watches in disappointment as Jenny, her mother and step-father make an early departure. A few weeks later Marcus, a New Yorker, takes a cab to Jenny’s wealthy family home on Oyster Bay, Long Island. Surprised by his visit Jenny reveals that she is alone as her mother has gone to Acapulco. Marcus invites Jenny to the lavish apartment left him by his grandfather Max and confesses that the old man made the family fortune by racketeering. Jenny is impressed by the apartment’s decor, but upon learning Marcus has nothing more than several marijuana joints, grows despondent and slips away without his noticing. In the present, after Marcus arranges to meet Sigmund at his apartment, he returns home to find Selma waiting with psychiatrist Sergei Wasserman. Despite Selma’s insistence that her brother’s behavior has grown increasingly erratic and Marcus’s brash acknowledgement that he is a murderer, Wasserman remains unconvinced that he needs help and soon departs with Selma. Sigmund then arrives and the two friends carry Jenny's sheet-draped body to the trunk of Marcus’ sports car. When Sigmund expresses astonishment at the indifference of people around them, Marcus cynically acknowledges society’s disregard for everything. Later, as Marcus drives down the highway alone hoping to deposit Jenny’s body in an obscure location, he gets a flat tire. A jovial van driver stops to offer assistance, causing Marcus several tense moments in an effort to retrieve the spare tire from the trunk while keeping Jenny’s body hidden. Resuming his trip, Marcus returns to his memories of Jenny: Marcus telephones Jenny in Oyster Bay asking to see her, but declaring that it is her birthday, Jenny refuses until he vows to bring her some hashish. Marcus then contacts drug dealer Larry Dolci and afterward, hires a cab driven by gypsy-hippie Mardigian to take him to Oyster Bay. Finding Jenny with two hippies who are serenading her, Marcus offers her the hash, but she is indifferent and asks him to leave. Realizing the singers have provided Jenny with heroin, Marcus attempts to stop them from injecting her, but they beat him up. After the singers run off, Marcus is horrified when the stoned Jenny climbs on the rooftop and falls off. Cushioned by the trees around the house, Jenny is unhurt, but Marcus promises to help her overcome her empty existence. The couple returns to Italy, but Jenny finds no solace in Venice. Marcus takes her to the Jewish ghetto but when he feels a compulsion to go into a synagogue, Jenny waits outside, then flees the city altogether, leaving behind a tape recorder telling Marcus she cannot get emotionally involved with him. Disheartened, Marcus returns to America, where he moves out of the extravagant apartment to a more modest New Jersey flat and does not see Jenny for several weeks. In the present, Marcus visits Dolci to ask him for recommendations on disposing of Jenny, and the dealer tells him of a deserted area near the river. Shortly after Marcus reaches the desolate spot, however, three bikers approach him, but as they grow menacing and demand money, a motorcycle policeman arrives. Marcus lies to the policeman that the bikers helped fix his car and flees hastily. Driving away, Marcus resumes his tape-recorded memoirs and notes wryly that his time with Jenny’s body marks the longest time they have spent together. Marcus then recalls the last time he saw Jenny: One afternoon, Marcus is startled when Jenny comes to his apartment. After explaining that she has gone around the world but remains unfocused and unhappy, Jenny asks if she might stay with Marcus for a while. Delighted, Marcus readily agrees and offers to cook her a meal. While he enthusiastically prepares the food, Marcus is unaware that Jenny has consumed a large amount of drugs. Soon after, she grows hysterical, then walks out on the balcony and threatens to throw herself off. Frightened, Marcus manages to grab Jenny, but she thrashes about and demands he give her the heroin that she has brought. Hoping to calm her, Marcus agrees and injects her with the fatal dose. In the present, Marcus finds himself chased down the freeway by a group of hippies in a red, white and blue hearse who eventually succeed in running him into a ditch, where his car catches fire. Managing to escape, Marcus watches the car burn along with Jenny’s body. Weeks later, Marcus returns to Venice. +

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

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