Sylvia (1965)

115 mins | Drama | 10 February 1965

Director:

Gordon Douglas

Writer:

Sydney Boehm

Producer:

Martin Poll

Cinematographer:

Joseph Ruttenberg

Editor:

Frank Bracht

Production Designers:

Hal Pereira, Roland Anderson

Production Company:

Marpol Productions
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HISTORY

The 3 May 1961 Var announced that independent producer Martin Poll had purchased screen rights to E. V. Cunningham's 1960 novel, Sylvia, which he would produce in association with Paramount Pictures. The 20 May 1961 NYT reported the involvement of director Martin Ritt and actor Paul Newman, who planned to co-produce the picture with Poll under their newly formed production company, unofficially known as the Paul Newman-Martin Ritt Co. Filming was expected to begin in Dec 1961 on location in San Francisco, CA.
       The 12 Jun 1961 DV stated that the screenplay was written by Howard Fast, a pseudonym for novelist Cunningham, but he did not receive final writing credit. Several other writers were also attached before production began. The 23 Jan 1962 DV announced that Richard Carr had been hired to write the adaptation.
       With production at a stand-still for nearly two years, the 29 Oct 1963 DV explained that Ritt and Newman were no longer involved with the project, and that Sylvia would be produced for Paramount through Martin Poll's Marpol Productions. Principal photography was slated to begin in Hollywood, CA, in late spring 1964, and a new writer and director were currently being sought.
       Carroll Baker was announced to star in the title role in the 1 Nov 1963 DV. The 27 Nov 1963 Var named George Maharis as her co-star.
       According to the 29 May 1964 LAT, David Miller had been hired to direct, and Sydney Boehm was credited as having scripted the adaptation.
       The 26 Jun 1964 DV production chart listed a ... More Less

The 3 May 1961 Var announced that independent producer Martin Poll had purchased screen rights to E. V. Cunningham's 1960 novel, Sylvia, which he would produce in association with Paramount Pictures. The 20 May 1961 NYT reported the involvement of director Martin Ritt and actor Paul Newman, who planned to co-produce the picture with Poll under their newly formed production company, unofficially known as the Paul Newman-Martin Ritt Co. Filming was expected to begin in Dec 1961 on location in San Francisco, CA.
       The 12 Jun 1961 DV stated that the screenplay was written by Howard Fast, a pseudonym for novelist Cunningham, but he did not receive final writing credit. Several other writers were also attached before production began. The 23 Jan 1962 DV announced that Richard Carr had been hired to write the adaptation.
       With production at a stand-still for nearly two years, the 29 Oct 1963 DV explained that Ritt and Newman were no longer involved with the project, and that Sylvia would be produced for Paramount through Martin Poll's Marpol Productions. Principal photography was slated to begin in Hollywood, CA, in late spring 1964, and a new writer and director were currently being sought.
       Carroll Baker was announced to star in the title role in the 1 Nov 1963 DV. The 27 Nov 1963 Var named George Maharis as her co-star.
       According to the 29 May 1964 LAT, David Miller had been hired to direct, and Sydney Boehm was credited as having scripted the adaptation.
       The 26 Jun 1964 DV production chart listed a 20 Jul 1964 start date, while the 13 Jul 1964 issue announced that production would begin on 27 Jul 1964. However, that day's DV reported that production would get underway later that week. Writer Ranald MacDougall was noted for contributing to the script, and Sheree North was added to the cast.
       Despite the growing trend for color-tinted films, Poll decided to shoot Sylvia in black and white for an "added dramatic stroke" to the picture, as stated in the 28 Jul 1964 DV.
       On 29 Jul 1964, DV indicated that script problems had delayed the start of production, resulting in director David Miller being forced to drop out of the project due to scheduling conflicts. The following day, DV announced that Gordon Douglas had taken over as director, and filming was expected to begin on 3 Aug 1964 at Paramount Studios. However, the 3 Aug 1964 issue reported that the start date was unknown at that time, and that Viveca Lindfors had replaced Jo Van Fleet in the role of "Irma Olanski," who cited artistic differences as the reason for her departure.
       The 5 Aug 1964 DV indicated that principal photography would finally begin the following day. The 21 Aug 1964 issue confirmed that filming was underway at Paramount.
       According to the 4 Sep 1964 DV, Joanne Dru had replaced Sheree North, and the 14 Sep 1964 and 29 Sep 1964 issues added cast members Audrey Caire and Elaine Edwards.
       The 7 Oct 1964 Var reported that principal photography had completed on time within its forty day production schedule. A Feb 1965 release date was anticipated.
       On 9 Dec 1964, Var announced that screenings would be held nationwide in 150 theaters on the upcoming New Year's Eve, before the official film opening set for the week of 10 Feb 1965.
       Sylvia opened in New York City on 10 Feb 1965, as stated in the following day's NYT review. The 2 Mar 1965 LAT announced that the Los Angeles, CA, opening was set for the next day. Critical reception was largely negative. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 Jun 1961
p. 1, 9.
Daily Variety
23 Jan 1962
p. 9.
Daily Variety
29 Oct 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Nov 1963
p. 1.
Daily Variety
26 Jun 1964
p. 6.
Daily Variety
13 Jul 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
27 Jul 1964
p. 4.
Daily Variety
28 Jul 1964
p. 4.
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1964
p. 1.
Daily Variety
30 Jul 1964
p. 1, 11.
Daily Variety
3 Aug 1964
p. 1, 10.
Daily Variety
5 Aug 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
21 Aug 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Sep 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
14 Sep 1964
p. 3.
Daily Variety
29 Sep 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Feb 1965
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
29 May 1964
Section D, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
2 Mar 1965
Section C, p. 9.
New York Times
20 May 1961
p. 12.
New York Times
11 Feb 1965
p. 45.
Variety
3 May 1961
p. 19.
Variety
27 Nov 1963
p. 7.
Variety
7 Oct 1964
p. 18.
Variety
9 Dec 1964
p. 4.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Martin Poll Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstyle supv
Hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Scr supv
Dial coach
Casting
Stills
Title des
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Sylvia by E. V. Cunningham (New York, 1960).
SONGS
"Sylvia," words and music by Paul Francis Webster and David Raksin
"Love and Learn," words and music by Ira Gershwin and Harold Arlen, sung by Paul Anka.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 February 1965
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 10 February 1965
Los Angeles opening: 3 March 1965
Production Date:
6 August--early October 1964
Copyright Claimant:
Marpol Productions
Copyright Date:
31 December 1964
Copyright Number:
LP29727
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
115
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

California millionaire Frederic Summers hires private investigator Alan Macklin to uncover the mysterious past of his fiancée, Sylvia West, a cultured, well-to-do author of a book of poetry. An English professor friend of Macklin deduces from her poetry that Sylvia is from Pittsburgh. Macklin goes there and interviews people who once knew Sylvia. He learns that as a teenager Sylvia was raped by her stepfather and drifted into a life of prostitution. She blackmailed a perverted client, and the money was successfully invested for her by the banker husband of a girl friend who was also a prostitute. After she became wealthy, Sylvia left her life of prostitution; she began to write and publish her poetry. Before reporting to Summers, Macklin decides to meet Sylvia, and he is tremendously attracted by her beauty, intelligence, and charm. He decides not to reveal her past to Summers and instead tells Sylvia that her fiancé hired him to investigate her. Angry and hurt, Sylvia tells Summers the truth about herself, and when she and Macklin meet again, they decide to remain ... +


California millionaire Frederic Summers hires private investigator Alan Macklin to uncover the mysterious past of his fiancée, Sylvia West, a cultured, well-to-do author of a book of poetry. An English professor friend of Macklin deduces from her poetry that Sylvia is from Pittsburgh. Macklin goes there and interviews people who once knew Sylvia. He learns that as a teenager Sylvia was raped by her stepfather and drifted into a life of prostitution. She blackmailed a perverted client, and the money was successfully invested for her by the banker husband of a girl friend who was also a prostitute. After she became wealthy, Sylvia left her life of prostitution; she began to write and publish her poetry. Before reporting to Summers, Macklin decides to meet Sylvia, and he is tremendously attracted by her beauty, intelligence, and charm. He decides not to reveal her past to Summers and instead tells Sylvia that her fiancé hired him to investigate her. Angry and hurt, Sylvia tells Summers the truth about herself, and when she and Macklin meet again, they decide to remain together. +

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.