Where the Boys Are

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This article is about the film. For the song, see Where the Boys Are (Connie Francis song).
Where the Boys Are
DVD cover by Reynold Brown
Directed by Henry Levin
Produced by Joe Pasternak
Screenplay by George Wells
Based on Where the Boys Are (1959 novel) 
by Glendon Swarthout
Starring Connie Francis
Dolores Hart
Paula Prentiss
George Hamilton
Yvette Mimieux
Jim Hutton
Frank Gorshin
Music by Score:
George E. Stoll
Pete Rugolo
Neil Sedaka (music)
Howard Greenfield (lyrics)
Cinematography Robert J. Bronner
Edited by Fredric Steinkamp
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • December 28, 1960 (1960-12-28)
Running time
99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2 million[1]
Box office $3.5 million (US rentals)[1]

Where the Boys Are (1960) is an Metrocolor and CinemaScope American coming-of-age comedy film, written by George Wells based on the novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout, about four Midwestern college co-eds who spend spring break in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The title song "Where the Boys Are" was sung by Connie Francis, who also co-starred in a supporting role. The film was aimed at the teen market, featuring sun, sand and romance. Released in the wintertime, it inspired thousands of additional American college students to head to Fort Lauderdale for their annual spring break.

Where the Boys Are was one of the first teen films to explore adolescent sexuality and the changing sexual morals and attitudes among American college youth. It won Laurel awards for Best Comedy of the Year and Best Comedy Actress (Paula Prentiss).


The main focus of Where the Boys Are is the "coming of age" of four girl students at a Midwestern university during spring vacation. As the film opens, Merritt Andrews (Dolores Hart), the smart and assertive leader of the quartet, expresses the opinion in class that premarital sex might be something young women should experience. Her speech eventually inspires the insecure Melanie Tolman (Yvette Mimieux) to lose her virginity soon after the young women arrive in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Tuggle Carpenter (Paula Prentiss), on the other hand, seeks to be a "baby-making machine," lacking only the man to join her in marriage. Angie (Connie Francis) rounds out the group as a girl who is clueless when it comes to romance.

The girls find their beliefs challenged throughout the film. Merritt, a freshman, meets the suave rich-boy Ivy Leaguer Ryder Smith (George Hamilton), a senior at Brown, and realizes she's not ready for sex. Melanie discovers that Frank (Rory Harrity), a boy from Yale who she thought loved her was only using her for sex. Tuggle quickly fixes her attention on the goofy "TV" Thompson (Jim Hutton), a junior at Michigan State, but becomes disillusioned when he becomes enamored of the older woman Lola Fandango (Barbara Nichols), who works as a "mermaid" swimmer/dancer in a local bar. Angie stumbles into love with the eccentric jazz musician Basil (Frank Gorshin).

Merritt, Tuggle, and Angie's post-adolescent relationship angst quickly evaporates when they discover Melanie is in distress after going to meet Franklin at a motel. However another of the "Yalies", Dill, arrives at the motel room instead and then rapes her. She ends up walking into the nearby road looking distraught, her dress torn. Just as her friends arrive, she is hit by a car and ends up in the hospital.

The friends realize the potentially serious consequences of their actions and resolve to act in a more responsible, mature manner. The film ends on a melancholy note, with Melanie recovering in the hospital while Merritt looks after her, and with Merritt's promises to Ryder to continue a long-distance relationship. He then offers to drive them back to their college.



George Hamilton got a bit part for his friend Sean Flynn in the movie. Hamilton says he improvised the scene where he wrote a question mark in the sand to Dolores Hart. He thought he was making a "little nothing of a film" and did not enjoy the shoot but it became a big success. The film also featured the big screen debut, in an unaccredited role, by former Miss Ohio and Elvis Presley consort Kathy Gabriel. [2]


The kind of cool modern jazz (or west coast jazz) popularized by such acts as Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan, and Chico Hamilton, then in the vanguard of the college music market, features in a number of scenes with Basil. Called "dialectic jazz" in the film, the original compositions were by Pete Rugolo.[3]

MGM had bolstered the film's success potential by giving a large role to Connie Francis, the top American female recording star and a member of the MGM Records roster. Francis had solicited the services of Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, who had written hit songs for her, to write original material for her to perform on the film's soundtrack including a "Where the Boys Are" title song. Sedaka and Greenfield wrote two potential title songs for the film, but producer Joe Pasternak passed over the song Francis and the songwriting duo preferred in favor of a lush '50s style movie theme. Francis recorded the song on 18 October 1960 in a New York City recording session with Stan Applebaum arranging and conducting.

Although it only peaked at # 4 in the US, the theme song of "Where the Boys are" became Connie Francis's signature tune, followed by several cover versions.

Besides the theme song, Francis sang another Sedaka-Greenfield composition: "Turn on the Sunshine", in the film.

The film's soundtrack also features "Have You Met Miss Fandango". The song was sung by co-star Barbara Nichols and featured music by Victor Young and lyrics by Stella Unger.[3]

MGM did not release a soundtrack album for Where the Boys Are.[4][5]


The film was a success at the box office.


American humanities professor Camille Paglia[6] has praised Where the Boys Are for its accurate depiction of courtship and sexuality, illustrating once-common wisdom that she contends has been obscured by second-wave feminism:

The theatrics of public rage over date rape are [feminists'] way of restoring the old sexual rules that were shattered by my generation. Because nothing about the sexes has really changed. The comic film Where the Boys Are (1960), the ultimate expression of ‘50s man-chasing, still speaks directly to our time. It shows smart, lively women skillfully anticipating and fending off the dozens of strategies with which horny men try to get them into bed. The agonizing date rape subplot and climax are brilliantly done. The victim, Yvette Mimieux, makes mistake after mistake, obvious to the other girls. She allows herself to be lured away from her girlfriends and into isolation with boys whose character and intentions she misreads. Where the Boys Are tells the truth. It shows courtship as a dangerous game in which the signals are not verbal but subliminal.

Proposed Sequel[edit]

In 1960 it was announced Pasternak would make a follow up, Where the Girls Are starring George Hamilton. It was meant to be an entirely different story rather than a sequel.[7] But this was never produced.[8][9]

1984 film[edit]

Where the Boys Are '84, was released in 1984 by TriStar Pictures. While it bears the distinction of being the first film released by TriStar, the film was a critical and commercial failure. Although it was touted as a remake, Roger Ebert reported that "It isn't a sequel and isn't a remake and isn't, in fact, much of anything."[10]


  1. ^ a b Tom Lisanti, Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959–1969, McFarland 2005, p38-42
  2. ^ George Hamilton & William Stadiem, Don't Mind If I Do, Simon & Schuster 2008 p 143
  3. ^ a b TCM Music
  4. ^ Francis, Connie and others: Souvenirs, companion book to 4 CD retrospective "Souvenirs", Polydor (New York) 1995, Kat.-Nr. 314 533 382-2
  5. ^ Roberts, Ron: Connie Francis Discography 1955–1973, revised editions 1979 and 1983
  6. ^ Camille Paglia "It's A Jungle Out There," first published in 1991 in New York Newsday
  7. ^ Sinatra, Martin Planning Comedy: Janet Leigh Paged for Lead; Barrie Chase in 'State Fair' Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 02 Nov 1960: A9.
  8. ^ Harrison, Portman Up for 'Sherlock': Stevens Directs Gail Russell; Production in Spurt at 20th Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 15 Nov 1960: B7.
  9. ^ MOVIE PRODUCER CITES STAR POWER: Pasternak Has 2 Scripts Prepared for Doris Day -- 3 New Films Today By EUGENE ARCHER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 19 Oct 1960: 55.
  10. ^ Chicago Sun-Times Review:Where the Boys Are '84 By Roger Ebert, January 1, 1984.

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