The oft-requested 1963 comedy Sunday in New York finally comes to DVD through the Warner Archive. The film had previously only been available on VHS. The movie is based on Norman Krasna's 1961 play which was a modest hit on Broadway starring young Robert Redford. Krasna also provides the screenplay for the film version, which was directed by Peter Tewksbury. The film was somewhat of an eyebrow-raiser at the time, with its relatively bold approach to modern sexuality among young people. The movie's major asset is its engaging cast of lead characters: Cliff Robertson, Jane Fonda, Rod Taylor and Robert Culp. Fonda plays a frustrated 22 year-old virgin who is made to feel guilty about her sexual urges. She is going out with millionaire society boy Culp but is frustrated by his lack of romantic aggressiveness.Fonda makes an unannounced visit to her brother, airline pilot Robertson, in order to seek advice out the wisdom of a girl keeping her virginity until marriage. Robertson piously counsels her that only 'good girls' get the best husbands, but secretly hides his own life as a playboy. His Manhattan bachelor pad needs a revolving door to handle his liaisons with tempting airline stewardesses.
Boorman in conversation at the Irish Film Institute. (Photo copyright John Exshaw. All rights reserved.)
By John Exshaw
While the Irish Film Institute’s recently concluded French Film Festival (18-28 November) provided a number of interesting divertissements for those seeking a respite, if not deliverance, from the seemingly endless catalogue of corruption, cronyism, clerical criminality, and chronic incompetence that has engulfed the country in recent times, the highlight of the programme for the discerning cinéaste was undoubtedly the joint appearance on Sunday 21st. of director John Boorman and eminent French film critic, Michel Ciment, for a Q&A session following the screening of Phillipe Pilard’s 2009 documentary, John Boorman: Portrait.
Boorman, of course, is that relatively rara avis, a British auteur, one whose body of work (or oeuvre, as they like to say in France) has tended, as is often the way, to command greater respect abroad than at home. Ciment has long been an influential supporter, collaborating with the director on the book ‘John Boorman’ (Faber & Faber, 1985), originally published in France as ‘Boorman: un visionnaire en son temps’, and also conducting the interview which comprises Pilard’s 52-minute film.
Now 77, and looking dapper in suede jacket, blue shirt, and rust corduroys, Boorman opened proceedings by remarking, “I haven’t seen it [the documentary] before, and I have to say I was very embarrassed at how inarticulate I am. It reminded me – you know, Michel wrote a book about my films, a wonderful book, and the basis of it was an interview I did with him after each film, and he then translated my stumbling, inarticulate words into good French. Later, the book was published in English, and Gilbert Adair, who’s a very stylish writer, translated it from the French back to English. So between Michel’s very fine writing and Gilbert Adair’s stylish writing I was astonished how witty and articulate and clever I turned out to be. It was rather like James Thurber – once, you know, a woman came up to him who was very proud of her French and she said, “Oh, I read your book in French and I have to tell you it was hilarious in French.” And Thurber said, “Yes, it loses something in the original.” In the case of Michel’s book, on the other hand, it actually gained an enormous amount in English. . . .”