First Love (1977)

R | 91 mins | Drama | 4 November 1977

Director:

Joan Darling

Cinematographer:

Robert Byrne

Editor:

Frank Morriss

Production Designer:

Robert Luthardt

Production Company:

Turman-Foster Company
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HISTORY

The end credits include the statements: "Ridgedale College is a fictitious place" and "Zoo scenes at Washington Park Zoo."
       Based on a 6 Jul 1957 New Yorker short story, “Sentimental Education,” by Harold Brodkey (collected in his 1957 book, First Love and Other Sorrows ), the film shifts the story from Harvard in 1957 to fictional Ridgedale College in the 1977.
       An 18 Sep 1977 LAT article reported that Paramount Pictures had intended the film to be its first “X-rated” love story. The film evolved to an “R” as producers Lawrence Turman and David Foster worked with initial screenwriter Jane Stanton Hitchcock to further develop the characters and plot.
       A 21 Mar 1977 DV news item reported that Alison Price Becker and Julie Andelman were cast in the film; however, neither actress appears in the onscreen credits. A 15 Sep 1977 DV story announced that John Barry would compose the score. A feature story in 10 Oct 1977 New West stated that director Joan Darling unsuccessfully lobbied Paramount to postpone the film’s release to Jan 1978 to give her more time for dubbing and to find appropriate music. Paramount wanted Barry to quickly compose a score and release the film 28 Oct 1977 to avoid the Christmas rush. The film opened 4 Nov 1977. However, according to John Barry: the Man With the Midas Touch, by Geoff Leonard and Pete Walker, very little of Barry’s music was used after a Paramount executive found it too mature for the film. Barry asked that his name be removed from the credits. Paramount and La-La Records released Barry’s ... More Less

The end credits include the statements: "Ridgedale College is a fictitious place" and "Zoo scenes at Washington Park Zoo."
       Based on a 6 Jul 1957 New Yorker short story, “Sentimental Education,” by Harold Brodkey (collected in his 1957 book, First Love and Other Sorrows ), the film shifts the story from Harvard in 1957 to fictional Ridgedale College in the 1977.
       An 18 Sep 1977 LAT article reported that Paramount Pictures had intended the film to be its first “X-rated” love story. The film evolved to an “R” as producers Lawrence Turman and David Foster worked with initial screenwriter Jane Stanton Hitchcock to further develop the characters and plot.
       A 21 Mar 1977 DV news item reported that Alison Price Becker and Julie Andelman were cast in the film; however, neither actress appears in the onscreen credits. A 15 Sep 1977 DV story announced that John Barry would compose the score. A feature story in 10 Oct 1977 New West stated that director Joan Darling unsuccessfully lobbied Paramount to postpone the film’s release to Jan 1978 to give her more time for dubbing and to find appropriate music. Paramount wanted Barry to quickly compose a score and release the film 28 Oct 1977 to avoid the Christmas rush. The film opened 4 Nov 1977. However, according to John Barry: the Man With the Midas Touch, by Geoff Leonard and Pete Walker, very little of Barry’s music was used after a Paramount executive found it too mature for the film. Barry asked that his name be removed from the credits. Paramount and La-La Records released Barry’s full score as an original soundtrack album on 29 Jan 2013.
       A 28 Mar 1977 Box article reported principal photography began 7 Feb 1977 in Portland, OR, and Hollywood, CA. Scenes set at Ridgedale College were shot at Reed College in Portland. The Washington Park Zoo in Portland changed its name to the Oregon Zoo in 1998. An 11 Apr 1977 Box article stated that principal photography was complete. Various sources put the film’s budget between $1.5 and $2 million.
       The 14 Nov 1977 Time review referred to First Love as “a pleasant, inoffensive, somewhat dim little film that stakes everything on charm, its only asset, and just barely breaks even.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Mar 1977.
---
Box Office
11 Apr 1977.
---
Box Office
21 Nov 1977.
---
Cleveland Plain Dealer
12 Nov 1977
p. 22.
Cue
12-25 Nov 1977
pp. 31-32.
Daily Variety
15 Sep 1975.
---
Daily Variety
16 Feb 1977.
---
Daily Variety
21 Mar 1977.
---
Daily Variety
15 Sep 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 1977
p. 3, 19.
Independent Film Journal
11 Nov 1977.
---
LAHExam
4 Nov 1977.
---
Los Angeles
Dec 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Sep 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
4 Nov 1977.
Section 4, p. 1, 22.
McCall's
Jan 1978.
---
Motion Picture Production Digest
16 Nov 1977.
---
New West
10 Oct 1977
pp. 53-54.
New York
14 Nov 1977.
p. 132.
New York Times
5 Nov 1977.
---
New Yorker
6 Jul 1957.
---
Newsweek
14 Nov 1977.
---
Time
14 Nov 1977.
---
UCLA Daily Bruin
10 Nov 1977
p. 19.
Variety
2 Nov 1977
p. 17.
Village Voice
14 Nov 1977.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A Turman-Foster Company Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr/Asst dir
2d asst dir
Asst dir trainee
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Key grip
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Elec
Elec best boy
Elec best boy
Grip best boy
Crab dolly grip
Still photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop man
Leadman
Const coord
Const foreman
Set painter
Set painter
Greensman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men`s cost
Women`s cost
MUSIC
Mus soundtrack supv
Mus ed
Mus comp
SOUND
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Boom man
Sd cable man
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles by
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Make up artist
Hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Loc mgr
Scr supv
Unit pub
Prod coord
Prod's secy
Dir's secy
Prod mgr, Studio features
Prod, Studio
Prod, Studio
Transportation coord
Transportation co-capt
Loc auditor
Craft services
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Sentimental Education" by Harold Brodkey in The New Yorker (Jul 1957).
MUSIC
"Karelia Suite," by Jean Sibelius, Radio Symphony Orchestra Helsinki, conducted by Okko Kamu, courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon - Polydor, Inc.
"Antico Canto Siciliano," Carmine Coppola and his orchestra, courtesy of ABC Records, Inc.
SONGS
"Child For A Day," sung by Cat Stevens, written by David Gordon and Paul Travis, courtesy of A&M Records and Island Records
"That's Enough for Me," written and performed by Paul Williams, courtesy of A&M Records.
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 November 1977
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 4 November 1977
Production Date:
7 February--early Aprilil 1977 in Portland, OR, and Hollywood, CA
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Metrocolor®
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
91
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

College soccer player Elgin Smith practices dutifully, studies hard, and is irritated by all of the happy couples he sees on campus. In his dormitory, he is distracted by the sounds of lovemaking coming from his neighbor David Bonner’s room. He hears the tryst interrupted by the arrival of David’s girlfriend, Felicia. Elgin goes to the door to listen as David attempts to stall Felicia. David’s lover, Shelley, wearing nothing but a towel and underpants, enters Elgin’s room through the window from the third floor ledge. Elgin gives her a sweater and attempts to resume studying as the sound of David and Felicia making love indicate Shelley’s stay will last for a while. The next day, as Elgin works out, David thanks him and tells him that Shelley likes him. Elgin says that he’s not interested because he wants a serious relationship. David suggests that Elgin and Shelley go on a double date with him and Felicia. Later, at an Italian restaurant, the four have an awkward dinner. Elgin notices a beautiful girl with an older man and is smitten. After dinner, Shelley talks her way into Elgin’s room and asks him to make love, but he passes, even as she undresses. The next day, in the dining hall, Elgin sees the girl from the restaurant reading Madame Bovary. He attempts to impress her with his knowledge of Flaubert, but knocks over her tea and ruins her book. She leaves him a note with her name, “Caroline Hedges,” and the name of the house where she lives on campus. That afternoon, Elgin shows up at ... +


College soccer player Elgin Smith practices dutifully, studies hard, and is irritated by all of the happy couples he sees on campus. In his dormitory, he is distracted by the sounds of lovemaking coming from his neighbor David Bonner’s room. He hears the tryst interrupted by the arrival of David’s girlfriend, Felicia. Elgin goes to the door to listen as David attempts to stall Felicia. David’s lover, Shelley, wearing nothing but a towel and underpants, enters Elgin’s room through the window from the third floor ledge. Elgin gives her a sweater and attempts to resume studying as the sound of David and Felicia making love indicate Shelley’s stay will last for a while. The next day, as Elgin works out, David thanks him and tells him that Shelley likes him. Elgin says that he’s not interested because he wants a serious relationship. David suggests that Elgin and Shelley go on a double date with him and Felicia. Later, at an Italian restaurant, the four have an awkward dinner. Elgin notices a beautiful girl with an older man and is smitten. After dinner, Shelley talks her way into Elgin’s room and asks him to make love, but he passes, even as she undresses. The next day, in the dining hall, Elgin sees the girl from the restaurant reading Madame Bovary. He attempts to impress her with his knowledge of Flaubert, but knocks over her tea and ruins her book. She leaves him a note with her name, “Caroline Hedges,” and the name of the house where she lives on campus. That afternoon, Elgin shows up at Caroline’s residence bearing a gift of a leather-bound copy of Madame Bovary. Caroline is touched, but declines Elgin’s offer to go out for coffee. However, that evening, Caroline surprises Elgin and they go out. Elgin tells her about his working-class roots, but when he asks about her background, she demurs. He asks what her father does and she says he died a long time ago. Elgin admits that he saw her the previous evening and asks whom she was with, but Caroline will only admit to the man being a friend. When they part, Caroline kisses Elgin on the cheek. The next day, Elgin talks his way into a course in religious philosophy so he can be closer to Caroline. Three days later, Elgin shows off in class by describing Dante’s interpretation of love. Caroline is impressed as well as flattered by the lengths he took to get into the course. She declines his dinner invitation but asks him to accompany her to the symphony that night. After the concert, Caroline and Elgin run into John March, the older man from the Italian restaurant, and his wife. On the way home, Caroline is upset and asks if she can stay the night with Elgin. After a chaste night, they make love. Caroline tells a story about going to the zoo and seeing a Bactrian camel taste snowflakes with its tongue. David walks in to remind Elgin he is going to be late for work, then drives Caroline home on a motorcycle. Elgin sees them together and punches David, but the friends quickly make up and David gives Elgin a ride to work, where he is fired for being late. Later, David, Felicia, and Caroline watch a soccer game. Despite all his hard work, Elgin is a benchwarmer; however, another player is injured and Elgin enters the game and unexpectedly scores the winning goal. Afterward, Caroline and Elgin lie in bed and she admits that she slept with John March, explaining that he is a 46-year-old lawyer in her father’s firm. The next day, Elgin learns that Caroline has gone away for the weekend without leaving him a message. Perturbed, he returns to his room and finds a note from Caroline, inviting him to her family’s home in the country. Elgin arrives on his motorcycle to discover Caroline’s family is wealthy. They make love and Elgin proposes marriage, but Caroline dismisses the idea as impractical and says that it has been seven years since her father committed suicide. Later, Caroline takes Elgin for a hike in the rain to show him her childhood playhouse, a replica of the family home built by her father. Elgin tries to make love, but she rebuffs him because the playhouse is where her father died. Later, as they are packing to go, Elgin puts his motorcycle in the back of Caroline’s station wagon while Caroline takes a phone call. In the car, she is distant, and finally tells Elgin that she can not see him anymore. It was March on the phone: he wants her back, and she loves him. Elgin stops abruptly, nearly causing an accident. He removes the motorcycle from the back of the car and leaves. At home, Elgin finds Shelley waiting outside his room. She again asks him to make love and he declines. Shelley is confused and thinks she might be in love with David, who walks in, tells Shelley that he can not see her right then, and promises to take her out the following night. The next day, Elgin waits for Caroline outside her college residence and sees her with March. Once March leaves, Elgin confronts Caroline. She apologizes for hurting him, but tells Elgin it is over between them. Back at the dorm, David advises Elgin go to a bar. Elgin takes David’s advice and gets drunk, and also runs into Caroline and March. He returns home to find Shelley sitting outside his room with a birthday cake and learns that David stood her up. Shelley tells Elgin that he can not refuse her a third time. They begin making love, but Elgin calls her Caroline. Shelley says she does not ask for much, but she expects him to know that he is with her. The next day, Elgin walks out of Religious Philosophy class after Caroline does not show up. Dressed in a suit, he visits March at his law office and asks March if he intends to divorce his wife to be with Caroline. March tells him that he does not know, but Caroline is free to do what she wants. Later, Caroline comes to Elgin’s room in the middle of the night and they make love. In the morning, Caroline acts innocent, but Elgin guesses March told her that he was not getting a divorce. They quietly reconcile. Later, Elgin sees David, who says that he is engaged to Shelley. Elgin meets Caroline in the bookstore and questions whether she will leave him again. They go for a walk and Elgin tells her he can not go on vacation with her because the relationship is no longer his “first love” and the second time will have to mean more. He puts Caroline on a train and they say goodbye. Elgin goes to the zoo and visits the Bactrian camel as a light snow falls. He asks the zookeeper where Bactria is, and whether it snows there. The zookeeper thinks it is in Asia, but does not know whether it snows there; however, he says, the animals seem to adapt. +

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

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