Sex and the Single Girl (1964)

114 mins | Comedy, Romantic comedy | 25 December 1964

Director:

Richard Quine

Producer:

William T. Orr

Cinematographer:

Charles Lang Jr.

Editor:

David Wages

Production Designer:

Cary Odell

Production Company:

Reynard Productions
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HISTORY

In the summer of 1962, Helen Gurley Brown’s non-fiction book Sex and the Single Girl became a national bestseller for its advice encouraging women to pursue sexual relationships without marriage, and on 17 Jul 1962, DV announced that Warner Bros. Pictures had acquired film rights for $200,000. According to the 26 Oct 1962 NYT, Saul David was a friend of Brown’s and agreed to make his debut as a producer on the project. However, a 28 Jul 1966 DV item revealed that David eventually left Warner Bros. to develop Von Ryan’s Express (1965, see entry) at Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
       During the early stages of pre-production, Warner Bros. struggled to construct a narrative from Brown’s novel, with items in the 29 Aug 1962 and 10 Oct 1962 DV indicating that attempts were made by Jack Sher and Russell Beggs, as well as sitcom writer Ben Starr. In the 12 Nov 1963 DV, new producer William T. Orr admitted that the source material was not sufficient for the screen, and the resulting story was derived from David R. Schwartz’s script, How to Make Love and Like It, which had been purchased by the studio in 1962. Several sources noted that Warner Bros. ultimately paid $200,000 simply to use the title of Brown’s book.
       A 29 Nov 1962 DV item announced that Natalie Wood had accepted the role of “Helen Brown,” which the 16 Dec 1962 LAT claimed had been written specially for her. Casting for the remaining characters began the following summer under director Leslie H. Martinson. Although the ... More Less

In the summer of 1962, Helen Gurley Brown’s non-fiction book Sex and the Single Girl became a national bestseller for its advice encouraging women to pursue sexual relationships without marriage, and on 17 Jul 1962, DV announced that Warner Bros. Pictures had acquired film rights for $200,000. According to the 26 Oct 1962 NYT, Saul David was a friend of Brown’s and agreed to make his debut as a producer on the project. However, a 28 Jul 1966 DV item revealed that David eventually left Warner Bros. to develop Von Ryan’s Express (1965, see entry) at Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
       During the early stages of pre-production, Warner Bros. struggled to construct a narrative from Brown’s novel, with items in the 29 Aug 1962 and 10 Oct 1962 DV indicating that attempts were made by Jack Sher and Russell Beggs, as well as sitcom writer Ben Starr. In the 12 Nov 1963 DV, new producer William T. Orr admitted that the source material was not sufficient for the screen, and the resulting story was derived from David R. Schwartz’s script, How to Make Love and Like It, which had been purchased by the studio in 1962. Several sources noted that Warner Bros. ultimately paid $200,000 simply to use the title of Brown’s book.
       A 29 Nov 1962 DV item announced that Natalie Wood had accepted the role of “Helen Brown,” which the 16 Dec 1962 LAT claimed had been written specially for her. Casting for the remaining characters began the following summer under director Leslie H. Martinson. Although the 19 Jul 1963 NYT named Barry Nelson as Wood’s co-star, the 6 Aug 1963 DV confirmed the casting of Tony Curtis. By this time, Richard Quine had also stepped in as Martinson’s replacement.
       Diane McBain was among the first supporting players added to the cast, but a 6 Dec 1963 DV brief reported that she was later forced to drop out after making modifications to her contract with Warner Bros. The 20 Jun 1963 DV indicated that Kay Stevens was also in talks to appear, while the 1 Oct 1963 edition noted that Jayne Meadows and Steve Allen were approached to play “Sylvia” and “Frank Broderick” before the roles were offered to Lauren Bacall and Jason Robards, Jr. Bacall accepted, playing opposite Henry Fonda in the final film. Items in the 13 Nov 1963 Var, 11 Dec 1963 DV, and 13 Jan 1964 DV stated that additional roles were filled by Mary Kovacs; Edward Glover, managing director of the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, CA; advertising agency executive George Carey; and Joseph A. Jackson, a frequent stand-in for Sammy Davis, Jr.
       On 10 Oct 1963, DV revealed that the setting had been changed from New York City to Los Angeles, CA, necessitating significant rewrites and negotiations regarding locations. After several delays, principal photography began 1 Nov 1963, as stated in a production chart published that day. Another item in the same issue reported that Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty had approved city cooperation filming on twenty-three location sites in and around the city, including a car chase on the Hollywood and Golden State freeways. According to the 5 Dec 1963 DV, the sequence was filmed over six days and required approximately eighty background actors each day. Additional scenes were shot at Los Angeles International Airport, and the 13 Nov 1963 DV noted that two nights were spent in Malibu, CA. Due to crowded facilities at Warner Bros.’ Burbank studio, interior filming took place at the Paramount Pictures lot from Nov 1963 through the New Year, at which point the 10 Jan 1964 DV announced the unit’s return to Warner Bros. Photography concluded 22 Jan 1964, according to the following day’s DV.
       In the final days of production, the 6 Jan 1964 LAT stated that Robert Foulk and James Lanphier had been added to the cast, but their participation could not be confirmed. An item in the 4 Mar 1964 issue claimed Sheila Stephenson, Tom Harkness, Charles Martin, and Irving Steinberg also appeared, although filming had since concluded. The 26 Nov 1963 LAT indicated Barbara Bouchet had a role in the picture, which may have been uncredited.
       Sex and the Single Girl opened Christmas Day 1964 at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles, and the Rivoli and Trans-Lux 52nd Street Theatres in New York City. The Los Angeles engagement expanded to additional theaters around the city on 3 Mar 1965, as stated in an LAT item published that day.
       Prior to the film’s release, Helen Gurley Brown filed for an injunction against the continued sale of Albert Ellis’s book, Sex and the Single Man, which was published in 1963. According to a 20 Mar 1964 NYT article, Supreme Court Justice Emilio Nunez refused to stop its publication, but ruled that it could not be adapted into a feature film that might hinder the box-office success of Sex and the Single Girl. During its theatrical run, the 21 Jan 1965 DV reported that Joseph Hoffman sued Warner Bros. and William T. Orr for misrepresenting Sex and the Single Girl as an adaptation of Brown’s book, instead of emphasizing the true source material. Hoffman conceived the story that inspired Schwartz’s screenplay, How to Make Love and Like It, but his credit on the film does not make such a distinction.
       Although contemporary reviews listed Joseph Heller as a co-screenwriter, no mention of his involvement could be found during development or production of the picture. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Jul 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
29 Aug 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
10 Oct 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
23 Oct 1962
p. 66.
Daily Variety
29 Nov 1962
p. 1.
Daily Variety
6 Aug 1963
p. 4.
Daily Variety
20 Jun 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Sep 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Oct 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
10 Oct 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Nov 1963
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
1 Nov 1963
p. 12.
Daily Variety
12 Nov 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 Nov 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
5 Dec 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
6 Dec 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
11 Dec 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
10 Jan 1964
p. 4.
Daily Variety
13 Jan 1964
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Jan 1964
p. 1.
Daily Variety
21 Jan 1965
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
28 Jul 1966
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
16 Dec 1962
Section A, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
1 Jul 1963
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
21 Oct 1963
Section F, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
26 Nov 1963
Section F, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
6 Jan 1964
Section D, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
4 Mar 1964
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
10 Dec 1964
Section D, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
25 Dec 1964
Section D, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
3 Mar 1965
Section D, p. 9.
New York Times
26 Oct 1962
p. 25.
New York Times
13 May 1963
p. 34.
New York Times
19 Jul 1963
p. 12.
New York Times
20 Mar 1964
p. 24.
New York Times
26 Dec 1964
p. 8.
Variety
13 Nov 1963
p. 13.
Variety
22 Jan 1964
p. 26.
Variety
23 Dec 1964
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2nd unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp & cond
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Supv hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Hairstyles for Natalie Wood
Dial supv
Titles created by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Inspired by the book Sex and the Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown (New York, 1962).
SONGS
"Sex and the Single Girl," words and music by Richard Quine.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 December 1964
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 25 December 1964
Production Date:
1 November 1963--22 January 1964
Copyright Claimant:
Reynard Productions
Copyright Date:
26 December 1964
Copyright Number:
LP32383
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
114
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Bob Weston, managing editor of scandal magazine STOP, writes a sensational and highly successful article on research psychologist Helen Gurley Brown, whose recently published book, Sex and the Single Girl, has become a national bestseller. Bob is assigned to interview Dr. Brown, but she refuses to see him. In order to meet her, Bob impersonates one of his neighbors, Frank Broderick, and goes to Helen for marriage counsel. After several meetings, during which Bob suggests to Helen that they commence an affair, he telephones her and threatens to drown himself unless she capitulates. She rushes to him and accidentally causes them to tumble into a boat basin. They go to Helen's apartment to dry off; Bob mixes a potent batch of martinis and attempts to seduce her. Helen confesses her love for Bob, and he replies that all is well; he is not legally married. Helen doesn't believe him and asks to see Sylvia, his wife. The next day, Bob inadvertently sends both his secretary, Susan, and his former girl friend, Gretchen, to Helen to impersonate Sylvia and convince Helen of his claim. Helen summons the real Sylvia, and the three women all turn up for the appointment. Sylvia has Frank jailed for bigamy; Helen deduces Bob's ruse and decides to leave town with colleague Rudy DeMeyer; Bob is fired from STOP when he refuses to slander the innocent doctor by his article. He follows Helen onto the San Diego Freeway where they encounter both Frank, who is trying to escape to Hawaii, and Sylvia, who is pursuing him in a cab. After ... +


Bob Weston, managing editor of scandal magazine STOP, writes a sensational and highly successful article on research psychologist Helen Gurley Brown, whose recently published book, Sex and the Single Girl, has become a national bestseller. Bob is assigned to interview Dr. Brown, but she refuses to see him. In order to meet her, Bob impersonates one of his neighbors, Frank Broderick, and goes to Helen for marriage counsel. After several meetings, during which Bob suggests to Helen that they commence an affair, he telephones her and threatens to drown himself unless she capitulates. She rushes to him and accidentally causes them to tumble into a boat basin. They go to Helen's apartment to dry off; Bob mixes a potent batch of martinis and attempts to seduce her. Helen confesses her love for Bob, and he replies that all is well; he is not legally married. Helen doesn't believe him and asks to see Sylvia, his wife. The next day, Bob inadvertently sends both his secretary, Susan, and his former girl friend, Gretchen, to Helen to impersonate Sylvia and convince Helen of his claim. Helen summons the real Sylvia, and the three women all turn up for the appointment. Sylvia has Frank jailed for bigamy; Helen deduces Bob's ruse and decides to leave town with colleague Rudy DeMeyer; Bob is fired from STOP when he refuses to slander the innocent doctor by his article. He follows Helen onto the San Diego Freeway where they encounter both Frank, who is trying to escape to Hawaii, and Sylvia, who is pursuing him in a cab. After a wild chase and a hectic mix-up at the airport, the couples all get sorted out: Frank and Sylvia become reconciled, Bob and Helen get together at last, and Rudy and Gretchen unexpectedly enplane for Hawaii. +

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

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