22 March 2008 | EUyeshima
Charming Kennedy-Era Comedy Looks at Premarital Sex or More Accurately, the Absence of It
Was Jane Fonda really this young? In this coy 1963 sex farce written by comedy veteran Norman Krasna (Alfred Hitchcock's "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", "Indiscreet"), she plays Eileen Tyler, a 22-year-old girl from Albany paying an unexpected visit to her airline pilot brother Adam in the Big Apple. She is reeling from a fight with her fiancé Russ who is giving her undue pressure to put out before they marry. Adam assures her that waiting for the wedding night is the right thing to do and then deceives her into thinking he is doing the same. Naturally, he turns out to be a womanizer planning to shag his girlfriend that day. Feeling like the only virgin in the world, Eileen meanwhile engages in a flirtation with a reporter named Mike Mitchell. Complications ensue with mistaken identities and morality questions thrown in to make the plot more interesting.
As if you couldn't tell from the swinging title tune sung by Mel Torme, the film is an idealization of early-1960's Manhattan single life that merely toys with the idea of premarital sex well before the concept of free love came into vogue. Guided by TV director Peter Tewksbury, there is a mechanical sitcom feel to the proceedings, but the real NYC locations help and the three leads are game players. Fonda is adorably adroit in a preview of her bouncier work in "Barefoot in the Park", and Cliff Robertson plays Adam's double-standard hypocrisy with agility. However, it's Rod Taylor, fresh from filming Hitchcock's "The Birds", who shines the most as Mike in a deft turn. Jazz pianist and composer Peter Nero supplies the loudly intrusive soundtrack. This film (released just a week before JFK's assassination) has yet to make it to DVD.