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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Those Morals, They Were A Changin'


Gotham Locations Boost Sunday In New York (1964)

Boy, did things change quick after this was made! Definition of "nice girls" and premarital limit was soon to be rewritten, and radically, with Jane Fonda to large extent at the foreground. How could Metro have reissued this with straight faces even two years later, let alone ten. Was there even a network run for such an instantly dated "sex comedy"? Fonda and Rod Taylor are caught in pajamas (could anything be more compromising?) and you'd think A-Bombs had fallen. What gives it charm is Manhattan capture of streets and people like they'll never be again. MGM does not stint on outdoor touring; you can feel exhaust from cabs that take in/let out farce-engaged cast members. The old double standard gets what amounted to a final airing. Men do (it's their nature), but nice girls mustn't, not if they expect to marry. Sunday In New York could run to hoots and jeering on campuses nationwide if anyone bothered, but who among youth knows J. Fonda, Rod Taylor, or Cliff Robertson? I was pleased by its very quaintness, and the fact Warner Instant streams Sunday in HD, lending postcard gleam to ice skating, airports (flying is a topic), and bachelor pad accoutrement (Peter Nero albums and copies of Playboy), all more vivid thanks to High-Def clarity. Why wasn't Rod Taylor a bigger star? I like watching him more than guys who ranked higher in the 60's.

7 Comments:

Blogger MikeD said...

"Why wasn't Rod Taylor a bigger star? I like watching him more than guys who ranked higher in the 60's."

Not an answer to your question, but here's something about Rod Taylor you might like. At a Lone Pine Film Festival awhile back, I asked William Smith who he thought was the toughest actor he ever worked with. Without hesitation, he answered "Rod Taylor. He just liked to fight". When the day's filming was finished, they go out to some bar, have a few drinks and Taylor would start a brawl. They worked together on the 'Deadly Trackers" and I told him that I found it hard to believe that Richard Harris would have gotten the best of him. He laughed and told me that the director kept him on the shoot the entire 6 weeks just to keep Taylor and Harris from killing each other. Smith and Taylor's donnybrook in 'Darker Than Amber' was on YouTube and is something to see. I think William Smith told me that he busted Rod Taylor's nose to get the scene stopped because Taylor had busted Smith's ribs but I may have the injuries mixed up. There was also a story about Taylor missing a kneepad with a 2x4 (ouch!).
William Smith was a great festival guest. He had a lot of entertaining stories and told them well.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

My wife wanted to watch this when it was on TCM a while back. As a New Yorker, I loved the location shots, but boy, was it ridiculous -- like you said, even for 1964. Talk about a last gasp of those Doris Day-like comedies. You can find any number of pre-code movies that are more honest. It would be interesting to know what Jane Fonda herself was up to when the cameras stopped rolling.

10:55 AM  
Blogger radiotelefonia said...

This movie played a lot in Argentina in the 80s since MGM always included in TV packages. That version had a traditional Spanish dubbing from Mexico and it also played a lot on TNT Latin America until they disposed classic films for good in order to become a horrible channel that I would love to see it once and for all removed. Despite the location work that you mention, this an example of bad filmed theater in sets that really look like move sets.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Stinky Fitzwizzle said...

Just watched the 'Darker Than Amber' fight on the youtubes. That's one awesome scene!

1:33 PM  
Blogger kenneth Von Gunden said...

I'm completely heterosexual but I always thought Rod Taylor was massively handsome in his prime. Like our host, I always wondered why he never became a bigger star. He seemed to do fine in the big roles he got, but never reached the upper realms of Hollywood royalty.

He is also another example of the ravages of time. By the end of his life, he was OLD. Drink, too much sun? Anyone know?

3:35 PM  
Blogger Donald Benson said...

The taboos weren't falling everywhere at once. Television and neighborhood theaters remained big markets for escapism that denied a changing world. Sure, mock hippies were beginning to replace mock beatniks and nice girls could wear short skirts, but on backlots -- especially at Disney and Universal, it seemed -- the fifties hung on.

In 1969 "The Love God" made a stab at bringing raciness to a Don Knotts vehicle. Knotts as a Hugh Hefner figure was a great idea. But aside from lightly spoofing Playboy's upscale empire built on pinups, the movie was wildly out of touch on all fronts.

And of course, a woman running from a bedroom in republican lingerie is The Big Scandalous Complication (even though Knotts is unconscious through it all).

"The Apartment" tackled adultery head on back in 1960, and was a big commercial hit. It's a bit boggling that squeaky-clean farces could still be peddled as daring adult fare after that.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Robolly said...

I've not seen this movie, but it sounds like a movie length Love American Style episode.

It is interesting that Rod Taylor doesn't seem to get the recognition he deserves; He seemed capable of playing any type of roll, and doing it well!

3:30 AM  

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