George Segal was not the initial choice to star opposite Barbra Streisand; she wanted her fellow First Artists producer Sidney Poitier, who was rejected when it was felt that audiences might not yet be altogether accepting of an interracial relationship in a major comedy release.
The original version of the film is said to have included some nude scenes with Barbra Streisand and the line "Do us a favor and just fuck off". Apparently, Streisand changed her mind about the nude scenes and they were cut and destroyed. The line with the F-word however stayed intact. For the American release DVD, Columbia chose to remove this line of dialogue.
The inter-racial relationship in the Bill Manhoff source stage play was reflected in the original Broadway production where the couple were portrayed by Alan Alda and African-American actress Diana Sands. If Sidney Poitier had been cast in the lead male role opposite Barbra Streisand, as was considered, then the picture would have preserved the inter-racial relationship of the play, but with the racial types gender reversed.
Debut theatrical feature film of then future adult film star Marilyn Chambers portraying Barney's Girl and who was billed in the credits under a different name that being Evelyn Lang.
The nude scenes with Barbra Streisand, cut from the film before release, later turned up being published in the November 1979 edition of US men's adult magazine "High Society". This prompted a US $5 million lawsuit and injunction from Streisand who won the court case.
Star Barbra Streisand between takes painted and studied painting. The actress had to wear special plastic gloves in order to protect her make-up manicure for her film character. Reportedly, because Streisand was a fan of the modernist artist Frank Stella, producer Ray Stark gave her an artist's smock embroidered with the name "Streisella".
Producer Ray Stark was hoping to cast Elizabeth Taylor for the part of Doris. The picture was originally announced to be a comedy star vehicle for married actors Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Burton rejected the project with Rod Taylor then considered by producer Ray Stark for the leading man role from which then Taylor followed suit along with Burton and also turned-down the film down.
There were on-set creative differences between producer Ray Stark and star Barbra Streisand the latter of whom insisted she wanted to do a movie without singing of musical numbers and be able to carry a picture without such.
The movie was filmed in off-beat locations in New York City. These included a book store on Fifth Avenue, a cafeteria on 57th Street and 6th Avenue, the Club 45 on West 45th Street, the World Theatre on 49th Street, and a pawn .shop on Eighth Avenue. More tourist-worthy locations included the Lincoln Center, Central Park, the at the time new General Motors Building and the at the time New School for Social Research.
Song-writer Martin Charnin was contracted to write a song for the film which was never used. This was a tune called "The Best Thing You've Ever Done" which ended up being used for Barbra Streisand's 1974 studio album "The Way We Were" which got re-titled as "Barbra Streisand Featuring the Hit Single The Way We Were and All in Love Is Fair" due to a legal dispute with The Owl and the Pussycat (1970)'s producer Ray Stark also being the producer of the movie The Way We Were (1973) starring Robert Redford and also co-starring in it Streisand.
Marilyn Chambers, under the name Eveyln Lang, was 17 years old when she made this film.
A scene was shot where actress Barbra Streisand was seen topless. Streisand agreed on two conditions that (1) Only co-star George Segal would also be on set and (2) She had the right to withdraw the shot(s) from the picture if she wished. Streisand did later kill the topless footage stating that "I looked at the film and I felt it was much too real. It was meant to be a modern sexual comedy and the reality hurt the comedy. I decided I would never do it again". 'Time' Magazine reported: "Faced with her first nude scene, the star of The Owl and the Pussycat (1970) got cold feet. "Herbie, I can't," she told her director. 'I've got goose bumps and they'll show.' While Director Herb Ross coaxed the reluctant nymph, George Segal, who was waiting for her in bed, took a nap. Finally Barbra Streisand tossed off her robe and glided across the set. "Cut and print!" shouted Ross. "Beautiful!" Perfectionist Streisand demanded a retake".
The twelfth highest grossing picture at the North American box-office in the USA for the year of 1970.
The movie's source stage production of "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Bill Manhoff featured only two characters with this movie version opening-up the play to increase the cast numbers to a much bigger total of nineteen speaking parts.
Second of four collaborations of star Barbra Streisand and producer Ray Stark. The other pictures were Funny Girl (1968), Funny Lady (1975) and The Way We Were (1973).
The title of the film and also the movie's source stage play by Bill Manhoff is also the same phrase for the name of a famous poem "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" by Edward Lear.
Both the actress who portrayed Doris in the Broadway production (Diana Sands) and the actress who played her in this motion picture version (Barbra Streisand) had both previously worked together. The pair had both appeared off-Broadway in a 1961 two-act musical-revue production of "Another Evening With Harry Stoones" by writer Jeff Harris at the Gramercy Arts Theater. The production comprised just the one and only performance, after five weeks of rehearsals, and had a total of nine previews before it immediately and simultaneously opened and closed after just the one show on 21st October 1961.
A number of actors were considered for the leading man role of Felix. These included Richard Burton, Rod Taylor, David Hemmings and Sidney Poitier with the part in the end cast with actor George Segal with his casting being announced in August of 1969.
Photographers were hired to take pictures of New York prostitutes so as to formulate ideas for star Barbra Streisand's Doris lady-of-the-night character's dress and hair-styles.
One of two produced screenplays of writer Buck Henry that were theatrically released in the year of 1970. The other 1970 major motion picture being Mike Nichols' Catch-22 (1970).
Director Herbert Ross, a choreographer as well, conceptualized all the bump-and-grind actorial movements of star Barbra Streisand's Doris hooker character.
First non-musical theatrical feature film of actress-singer-producer-director Barbra Streisand. According to assistant director William C. Gerrity, producer Ray Stark told him that Streisand was notoriously late and could Gerrity stay on her case. "The first day she comes in 30 minutes late," recalls Gerrity, "and I say, 'Good morning, Ms. Streisand. You owe me a half hour.' The next day she's right on time and we're still lighting the set. I tried to hide, but she found me and said, 'Get over here.' Then she whispered in my ear: 'We're even'."
One of a cycle of feature films made between the mid-1960s and early-1970s with the word "Pussycat" in the title. The movies include What's New Pussycat (1965), The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), The Girl from Pussycat (1969), Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You (1970), The Tiger and the Pussycat (1967) ("The Tiger and the Pussycat"), Pussy Cat Strikes Again (1969), and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), as well as the animated TV series, Josie and the Pussycats (1970) and Josie and the Pussy Cats in Outer Space (1972).
The motto of hooker Doris (Barbra Streisand) was: "I may be a prostitute - but I'm not promiscuous!".
Producer Ray Stark bought the film rights to the movie's source 1964 stage play "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Bill Manhoff for US $100,000.
The film was originally rated "R" in the USA in 1970 and then was later re-cut and re-rated "PG" for a 1972 re-release.
Amid much controversy and opposition, African-American actress Diana Sands won the role of "Doris the prostitute" in this movie's source 1964 stage hit "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Bill Manhoff. Sands was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress for her performance on Broadway in the role. The part was originally written for a white actress and Sands' romantic co-star was Alan Alda. Apparently, not one line of dialogue was changed to accommodate her race.
The original source play's USA location was changed from San Francisco, California to Manhattan, New York for this filmed adaptation. The stage production's setting in the introduction to the play by Bill Manhoff is described as "An apartment in San Francisco". Screen-writer Buck Henry changed the story's locale to fit in with star Barbra Streisand's image, speech and association with the city in such earlier films as Funny Girl (1968) and Hello, Dolly! (1969). Henry has said: "Lots of stuff in it was written for Barbra's rhythms and for that ingenious New York ear and accent which lends itself to certain patterns of speech that other actresses wouldn't sound good doing".
A line of dialogue where Barbra Streisand says the F-word has been cut from many DVD releases of the film. Many releases have the phrase "Up Yours" replacing the offensive expletive, ironically, as one of Streisand's next films would be called Up the Sandbox (1972). According to the film section of the "Barbra Streisand Archives" website, "Streisand was one of the first female stars to use the F-word in a major film, which she does once in The Owl and the Pussycat (1970). It helped earn the movie an "R" rating in its original release. However, depending on which version you watch at home, you may not hear the expletive. By cutting it out, the following scene in which Doris [Barbra Streisand] and Felix [George Segal] run away does not make sense! The 2001 [American] DVD from Columbia Pictures does not contain the F-word".
Second of three collaborations of star Barbra Streisand and director Herbert Ross. The other films were Funny Girl (1968) and Funny Lady (1975).
This filmed adaptation of the source play of the same name by Bill Manhoff removed the two lead characters' interracial relationship which has been significantly synonymous with productions of the film's source stage play both prior to and after this movie version was made and released.
Cinematographer Andrew Laszlo replaced Harry Stradling Sr. as director of photographer when the latter passed away during production.
For those of us that saw the very original release with her nude scenes, Barbara Streisand was absolutely gorgeous. An unforgettable and loveable character. These scenes were cut but emphasized the eccentric prostitute movie character of Doris.
The name of the adult movie that Doris (Barbra Streisand) had starred in was "Cycle Sluts".
The original Broadway production of "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Bill Manhoff opened at the ANTA Playhouse in New York on 18th November 1964 after previews about a week earlier on the 12th of that month. The production played there until it closed on 25th September 1965. The play then transferred to the Royale Theatre on Broadway re-starting two days later on 27th September 1965 where it played for around two months until 27th November that same year. The play's Broadway season at both theaters totaled to a run of 427 performances .
Diana Sands, who portrayed the Barbra Streisand 'Doris' role in the Broadway production, was nominated for the 1965 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for this movie's source Bill Manhoff play "The Owl and the Pussycat" opposite Alan Alda but did not win.
The "Mad" magazine parody of the movie published in the September 1971 (Issue #145) edition of the mag was entitled "The Foul and the Prissy Cats".
Reportedly, a number of different endings were shot when producers and test audiences were unhappy with the results.
The film was made and released about six years after its source stage play of the same name by Bill Manhoff had first opened on Broadway in late 1964.