Where the Boys Are
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|Where the Boys Are|
DVD cover by Reynold Brown
|Directed by||Henry Levin|
|Produced by||Joe Pasternak|
|Screenplay by||George Wells|
|Story by||George Wells|
|Based on||Where the Boys Are (1960 novel)|
by Glendon Swarthout
George E. Stoll
Neil Sedaka (music)
Howard Greenfield (lyrics)
|Cinematography||Robert J. Bronner|
|Edited by||Fredric Steinkamp|
|Budget||$2 million (equivalent to $14 million in 2019)|
|Box office||$3.5 million (US rentals) (equivalent to $23.6 million in 2019)|
Where the Boys Are is a 1960 American CinemaScope comedy film directed by Henry Levin and starring Connie Francis, Dolores Hart, Paula Prentiss, George Hamilton, Yvette Mimieux, Jim Hutton, and Frank Gorshin. It was written by George Wells based on the 1960 novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout. The screenplay concerns four college co-eds who spend spring break in Fort Lauderdale. The title song "Where the Boys Are" was sung by Connie Francis, who also co-starred in a supporting role.
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. Aimed at the teen market, it inspired many American college students to head to Fort Lauderdale for their annual spring break. 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. 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 Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Tuggle Carpenter (Paula Prentiss) seeks to be a "baby-making machine", lacking only a man to join her in marriage. Angie (Connie Francis) rounds out the group as an athletic girl who is clueless when it comes to romance.
The girls find their attitudes challenged. Merritt, a freshman, meets the suave rich-boy Ivy Leaguer Ryder Smith (George Hamilton), a senior at Brown University, and realizes she's not ready for sex. Melanie discovers that Franklin (Rory Harrity), a boy from Yale University 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 University, 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).
The post-adolescent relationship angst of Merritt, Tuggle, and Angie evaporates when they discover Melanie is in distress after going to meet Franklin at a motel and instead finding there another of the "Yalies", Dill, who had raped her. Franklin had moved on to another girl, but told Dill that Melanie was "easy" and set up the ambush. Melanie, with her dress torn, ends up walking into the busy road nearby looking distraught and wanting to die. Just as her friends arrive, she is sideswiped by a car and goes to the hospital.
Ultimately, it seems the girls have learned the potentially serious consequences of their actions, and they resolve to act in a more mature and responsible manner. The film ends on a melancholy note, with Melanie's 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.
- Dolores Hart as Merritt Andrews
- Paula Prentiss as Tuggle Carpenter
- Yvette Mimieux as Melanie Tolman
- Connie Francis as Angie
- George Hamilton as Ryder Smith
- Jim Hutton as TV Thompson
- Rory Harrity as Franklin
- Frank Gorshin as Basil
- Chill Wills as Police Captain
- Barbara Nichols as Lola Fandango
- Carol Byron as Sybil
Joe Pasternak bought the film rights to the novel, which originally was known as Unholy Spring, even before it was published. He assigned George Wells to write the script.
"There isn't a gat, knife, or marijuana cigarette in the whole thing", said Pasternak. "These are good students. We'll use our young contract players, such as George Hamilton, Joe Cronin, Denny Miller, Alfredo Sadel, Bill Smith, Russ Tamblyn, Luana Patten, Maggie Pierce, Carmen Phillips, and Nancy Walters; then get one star to head the cast." Natalie Wood, who had just made All the Fine Young Cannibals for MGM, was mentioned as a possible star at one stage.
Henry Levin was signed to direct. The first two stars confirmed for the movie were George Hamilton and Yvette Mimieux. Paula Prentiss was cast despite never having made a movie before. Connie Francis also made her movie debut.
The novel contained a section where the students help raise money to ship arms to Fidel Castro for his revolution in Cuba. Pasternak decided to remove this. "The author was very sympathetic to Castro", said Pasternak. "Politics does not belong in entertainment. As actors or writers or movie makers of any sort, we have a right to our political preferences. But that is why we have secret ballots... We felt that the only revolution these youngsters should be involved in was their personal revolution."
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 screen debut, in an unaccredited role, by former Miss Ohio and Elvis Presley consort Kathy Gabriel.
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.
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 1950s style movie theme. Francis recorded the song on October 18, 1960 in a New York City recording session with Stan Applebaum arranging and conducting.
Although it only peaked at #4 in the U.S., 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 "Turn on the Sunshine", another Sedaka-Greenfield composition, in the film.
The film was a success at the box office.
MGM signed Henry Levin, Dolores Hart, Prentiss and Hutton to long-term contracts.
American humanities professor Camille Paglia 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.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
In 1960, it was announced Pasternak would make a follow up titled Where the Girls Are, starring George Hamilton. It was meant to be an entirely different story rather than a sequel. But this was never produced.
Pasternak also announced plans to reunite Hamilton, Prentiss, Hutton and Mimieux in a romantic comedy titled Only a Paper Moon from a story by George Bradshaw, "Image of a Starlet". This became A Ticklish Affair, and was made, but without any of those actors.
Nonetheless there were a number of unofficial follow-ups. MGM liked Paula Prentiss and Jim Hutton as a team so much they put them together in three more movies: Bachelor in Paradise, The Honeymoon Machine and The Horizontal Lieutenant. MGM also made a number of other romantic comedies in the style of Where the Boys Are, including Come Fly with Me and Follow the Boys.
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."
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- TCM Music
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- Chicago Sun-Times Review:Where the Boys Are '84 by Roger Ebert, January 1, 1984
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