What's New Pussycat?
|What's New Pussycat?|
Theatrical release poster by Frank Frazetta
|Directed by||Clive Donner
Richard Talmadge (go-kart sequence)
|Produced by||Charles K. Feldman|
|Written by||Woody Allen|
|Music by||Burt Bacharach
Hal David (lyrics)
|Edited by||Fergus McDonell|
Famartists Productions S.A.
Famous Artists Productions
|Distributed by||United Artists (1965,original) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (2005 and 2007, DVD) Kino Lorber (under license from MGM) (2014, Blu-Ray DVD)|
What's New Pussycat? is a 1965 American comedy film directed by Clive Donner, and stars Peter Sellers, Peter O'Toole, Romy Schneider, Capucine, Paula Prentiss and Ursula Andress. It is Woody Allen's film debut in his first produced script. The Academy Award-nominated title song by Burt Bacharach (music) and Hal David (lyrics) was sung by Tom Jones. The movie poster was painted by Frank Frazetta, and the animated title sequence was directed by Richard Williams.
Notorious womanizer Michael James (Peter O'Toole) wants to be faithful to his fiancée Carole Werner (Romy Schneider), but every woman he meets seems to fall in love with him, including neurotic exotic dancer Liz Bien (Paula Prentiss) and parachutist Rita (Ursula Andress) who accidentally lands in his car (1936-37 Singer 9 Le Mans). His psychoanalyst, Dr. Fritz Fassbender (Peter Sellers), cannot help, since he's stalking patient Renée Lefebvre (Capucine) who in turn longs for Michael. Carole, meanwhile, decides to make Michael jealous by flirting with his nervous wreck of a friend, Victor Shakapopulis (Woody Allen).
A catastrophe appears on the horizon when all the characters check into a quaint hideaway hotel in the French countryside for the weekend, unaware of each other's presence. Michael tries to fend off Renee's advances by steering Fassbender her way, but Fassbender's wife Anna is determined to keep him to herself. By the time Michael finally is able to meet Carole's parents and agree to settle down, he and Fassbender both catch the eye of yet another young woman, creating the distinct possibility of the whole thing happening all over again.
- Peter Sellers as Dr. Fritz Fassbender
- Peter O'Toole as Michael James
- Romy Schneider as Carole Werner
- Capucine as Renée Lefebvre
- Paula Prentiss as Liz Bien
- Woody Allen as Victor Shakapopulis
- Ursula Andress as Rita, the parachutist
- Michel Subor as Philippe
- Edra Gale as Anna Fassbender, Dr. Fassbender's wife
- Katrin Schaake as Jacqueline
- Eléonore Hirt as Mrs. Sylvia Werner, Carole's mother
- Jean Parédès as Marcel, Renée's husband
- Jacques Balutin as Etienne
- Jess Hahn as Mr. Werner, Carole's father
- Howard Vernon as Doctor
- Françoise Hardy as Mayor's assistant
- Sabine Sun as Nurse
- Nicole Karen as Tempest
- Jacqueline Fogt as Charlotte
- Daniel Emilfork as Gas Station Man
- Tanya Lopert as Miss Lewis
- Barbara Somers as Miss Marks
- Robert Rollis as Car Renter
- Annette Poivre as Emma
- Richard Burton has a cameo appearance as a man at the bar in a strip club.
The full story of the making of the film is told in Paul Sutton's book, Six English Filmmakers (978-0957246256). Clive Donner talks at length about the film. Originally, Warren Beatty was to star. The title was derived from Beatty's way of answering the telephone, but, as director Donner explains, Beatty refused to be in a film that featured the actress Capucine. As a former girlfriend of the producer, Charles Feldman, Capucine was guaranteed a part. Warren Beatty persuaded Woody Allen to write the screenplay in exchange for a small part in the film. However, Beatty was annoyed when Allen's succeeding screenplay drafts had his role expand continually at the expense of the putative lead, Beatty. Eventually, Beatty threatened to quit the production to stop this erosion of his participation, but the actor's status in Hollywood at that time had declined so severely that the film's producer decided to let him leave to recast the part. For Allen's part, his own role in the screenplay declined in succeeding drafts until he was a minor character in the film again Groucho Marx was to have played Dr. Fassbender in the Beatty version.
The film was shot in and around Paris between October 1964 and January 1965 and released in New York on 22 June 1965. It opened in Paris in January 1966 as Quoi de neuf, Pussycat?. The total box office take was $18,820,000.
What's New Pussycat? was released to DVD by MGM Home Video on June 7, 2005 as a Region 1 widescreen DVD, on May 22, 2007 as part of 'The Peter Sellers Collection' (film number two in a 4-disc set) and to Blu-ray DVD by Kino Lorber on August 26, 2014 as a Region 1 widescreen Blu-ray DVD.
- "What's New Pussycat?, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- on YouTube
- "The Nine Le Mans and Special Speed"
- Harris, Mark (2008). Pictures at a Revolution: Five Films and the Birth of the New Hollywood. The Penguin Press. p. 41.
- Harris. pp. 86–7. Missing or empty
- "What's New Pussycat?, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
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