If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium

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If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Original film poster
Directed byMel Stuart
Written byDavid Shaw
Produced byStan Margulies
StarringSuzanne Pleshette
Ian McShane
Mildred Natwick
Murray Hamilton
Michael Constantine
Norman Fell
Sandy Baron
CinematographyVilis Lapenieks
Edited byDavid Saxon
Music byWalter Scharf
Wolper Pictures, Ltd.
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • April 24, 1969 (1969-04-24)
Running time
99 min
CountryUnited States
Box office$6 million[1]

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium is a 1969 American romantic comedy film made by Wolper Pictures and released by United Artists and made in DeLuxe Color. Directed by Mel Stuart,[2] the movie was filmed on location throughout Europe, and featured cameo appearances. The film stars Suzanne Pleshette, Ian McShane, Mildred Natwick, Murray Hamilton, Sandy Baron, Michael Constantine, Norman Fell, Peggy Cass, Marty Ingels, Pamela Britton, and Reva Rose.[2]


Charlie Cartwright is an amorous English tour guide who takes groups of Americans on whirlwind 9-countries-in-18-days sightseeing tours of Europe. Having overslept with his newest conquest, he is late in meeting tour #225, finding a resentful group that is eager to start.

Samantha Perkins is one of those tourists, taking a vacation to contemplate whether she wants to marry her fiancé, George. In London, Charlie begins a campaign to charm and seduce the gorgeous Samantha, who considers him frivolous and conniving, presenting a challenge to him as she doesn’t want to become just another conquest. Her experiences on the trip make Samantha come to a decision on her marriage, especially after George turns up unexpectedly.

Fred and Edna Ferguson take their daughter Shelly on the trip to get her away from an undesirable boyfriend with whom she is getting sexually involved. In Amsterdam, Shelly meets up with an activist American college student who follows her around different locations on the tour, where they sneak off on his motorcycle to spend time together seeing the sites through counterculture eyes.

Also in Amsterdam, Irma Blakely disappears on a Japanese tour bus that she mistakenly boards when separated from her group. Multiple attempts must be made before the two tours overlap to restore her to her husband Harve. Although Harve pines for Irma during the whole trip and has to be coaxed into joining the group at a nightclub, when Irma finally reappears in Rome, she finds him onstage dancing with burlesque dancers and mistakenly believes he has been partying it up without her. Irma declares they will go to Japan next year, since she has made many friends on her improvised tour.

In Belgium, Jack Harmon revisits the WWII site where he fought in Bastogne. As he tells tall tales to fellow tourist Freda Gooding of a German retreat, he literally crosses path with a German veteran who is acting out a contradictory tale of Allied retreat to his wife. In Rome, eager to see Gina again, a girl he met during the war, he is disappointed in his fantasies when he finds Gina is still attractive, but a grandmother with a family. In consolation, he turns to Freda Gooding, a widow, and begins to get to know her.

In Italy, John Marino takes time from the tour to meet his relatives, who receive him warmly but alarm him when they want to fix him up with Francesca, a plump, plain cousin, whom he jumps through a bathroom window to avoid. The next day he is handed a pile of messages from “a cousin” and spends the rest of his time avoiding her, only to find as he is leaving that he has been dodging a different beautiful relative that he laments not getting to know.

Often getting slapped, Bert Greenfield spends his trip sneaking pictures of breasts, thighs, and other intimate angles of voluptuous women, pretending that he is “scoring” with them, and sending made-up stories to his buddies. Out of desperation, he pays a pretty girl to pose with him in an embrace; she returns his money out of pity and kisses his cheek before departing.

Throughout the tour, Fred complains to Edna that the tour is an ordeal and he is eager to get home. His one objective is to have a custom pair of Italian shoes made, for which he goes through an arduous process to make the non-English-speaking shoemaker understand his specifications. After Fred leaves, the shoemaker selects a pair of ready-made shoes from a catalogue, completely mistaking the specifications, that he will mail to the US to fulfill the "special order". Despite having complained throughout the whole tour, Fred declares they will go on a tour of Scandinavia next year.

Throughout the tour, kleptomaniac Harry Dix steals “souvenirs” such as towels, ashtrays, Bibles, bells, lifesavers, telephones, and paintings from each location, which he stows into a commodious suitcase. At the airport on departure, his suitcase is so heavy that it collapses, spilling all his pilfered objects, which he leaves behind.

Starting tour #226, Charlie gives an introductory speech, expressing that unexpected adventure can happen as they rotate seats and get to know each other, reflecting his new romantic outlook.



Cameo appearances[edit]


The title, also used by a 1965 documentary on CBS television that filmed one such tour, was taken from a New Yorker cartoon by Leonard Dove. Published in the June 22, 1957, issue of the magazine, the cartoon depicts a young woman near a tour bus and a campanile, frustratedly exclaiming "But if it's Tuesday, it has to be Siena," humorously illustrating the whirlwind nature of European tour schedules.[n 1] This concept formed the premise of the film's plot. Donovan sings "Lord of the Reedy River," which he had also written. He also wrote the film's title song, performed by J.P. Rags, a pseudonym for Douglas Cox.


Locations where the film was shot include first: London, Great Britain; second: the Netherlands; third: Brussels and Bastogne, Belgium; fourth: Rhineland-Palatinate with the boat on the Rhine from Koblenz to Wiesbaden, Germany; fifth: Switzerland; and last: Venice and Rome, Italy. The film poster shows the cast on the normally pedestrianized Grote Markt square of Antwerp, Belgium, posing for a typical souvenir photo in front of the city hall, with their tour bus obstructing the view of the Brabo fountain which is normally a favorite photo-op with other tourists.


Box office[edit]

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium earned estimated rentals of $3 million in the United States during its initial run.[4]

Critical response[edit]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote in his review: "IF IT'S TUESDAY, This Must Be Belgium may be the first cartoon caption ever made into a feature-length movie. If I remember correctly, that was the legend that appeared some years ago under a New Yorker Magazine cartoon showing two harried American travelers, in the middle of a relentlessly picturesque village, consulting their tour schedule. It was a nice cartoon, made timely by the great wave of tourism that swept Europe in the 1950s. Subsequently, I'm told, there was a television documentary that explored more or less this same phenomenon—the boom in pre-paid (two in a room), packaged culture junkets. Now, some years after the subject seemed really fresh, a movie has been made about one such 18-day, 9-country excursion. Even if you don't accept the fact that just about everything that could be said about American tourism was said earlier by Mark Twain, Henry James or even Woody Allen, If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium is a pretty dim movie experience, like a stopover in an airport where the only reading matter is yesterday's newspapers."[5]

Roger Ebert wrote in his review: "Someone -- Mark Twain? -- once said that the American tourist believes English can be understood anywhere in the world if it's spoken loudly and slowly enough. To this basic item of folklore, other characteristics of the typical American tourist have been added from year to year: He wears sunglasses, Bermuda shorts and funny shirts. He has six cameras hanging around his neck. He orders hamburgers in secluded little Parisian restaurants. He talks loudly, and the female of his species is shrill and critical. He is, in short, a plague. This sort of American tourist does still exist, but in much smaller numbers. My observation during several visits to Europe is that the American tourist has become poorer and younger than he used to be, and awfully self-conscious about being an American. On the average, he's likely to be quieter and more tactful than the average German or French tourist (who doesn't have to prove anything). The interesting thing about If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium is that it depicts this new American tourist. That's amazing because movies of this sort usually tend to be 10 years behind the times, and I went expecting another dose of the Bermuda shorts syndrome. "If It's Tuesday" isn't a great movie by any means, but it manages to be awfully pleasant. I enjoyed it more or less on the level I was intended to, as a low-key comedy presenting a busload of interesting actors who travel through England, Belgium, Germany, and Italy on one of those whirlwind tours. There is a lot of scenery, but not too much, and some good use of locations in Venice and Rome. There are also some scenes that are better than they should be because they're well-acted. Murray Hamilton is in a lot of these scenes, and they're reminders that he has been in a disproportionate number of the best recent comedies: The President's Analyst, Two for the Road, and The Graduate (he was Mr. Robinson)."[6]


If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium was remade in 1987 as a made-for-TV movie titled If It's Tuesday, It Still Must Be Belgium directed by Bob Sweeney. The film starred Claude Akins, Lou Liberatore, Courteney Cox, Bruce Weitz, Stephen Furst, Anna Maria Horsford, Kene Holliday, Kiel Martin, David Leisure, Doris Roberts, Tracy Nelson, Richard Moll, David Oliver, Lou Jacobi, and Peter Graves.[7]


If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium was released in theatres on April 24, 1969.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD on May 20, 2008. Olive Films released a Blu-Ray edition in 2016.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The idea had appeared earlier, in The Café de la Paix, a 1925 revue sketch by Noël Coward in On with the Dance, which includes an exchange between American tourists: Mrs Hammaker—"Are we in Paris or Brussels, Harry"? Harry—"What day of the week is it"? Irma—"Thursday". Harry—"We are in Paris".[3]


  1. ^ If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, Box Office Information. The Numbers. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  3. ^ Coward, p. 141
  4. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1969", Variety, 7 January 1970 p 15
  5. ^ Canby, Vincent (April 25, 1969). "' If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium' Opens". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 30, 1969). "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium". RogerEbert.com. Chicago: Ebert Digit LLC. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  7. ^ "If It's Tuesday, It Still Must Be Belgium". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  8. ^ "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium". United Artists. Beverly Hills, California: MGM Holdings. May 20, 2008. ASIN B0014BJ1AO. Retrieved November 19, 2016.


  • Coward, Noël (1931). Collected Sketches and Lyrics. London: Hutchinson. OCLC 22370483.

External links[edit]