During the ‘60s, the nature of the sexually charged comedy changed with the loss of the Motion Picture code and the arrival of ratings from the MPAA. The decade started with all films being chaste to appease the censorship board; only bacon was allowed to sizzle at full heat.
Directors and writers had to be extremely sneaky to hint at what should be going on between the libido driven characters. Once the R-rating came into vogue there was no longer teasing the audience with innuendos and fades to black. Sunday In New York came out in 1963 so it’s a sex comedy that won’t shock grandma.
Eileen Tyler (Jane Fonda) arrives in New York in search of her brother Adam (Cliff Robertson). She’s fearful that her relationship with Russ (Robert Culp of I Spy) has gotten too hot and heavy. She’s a good girl and fears he’ll be turned off that she can’t turn on the heat in the bedroom. Adam isn’t too much of a help since their conversation can’t get too graphic thanks to censors. He’s also an airline pilot so he gets to come and go during the film.
Being a tame sex comedy, there’s a “meet cute” on the bus when Mike (Rod Taylor) squishes into her. Naturally he’s attracted to her but she plays extremely hard to get because she’s a good girl. Complications ensue when Robert Culp arrives in town looking for her. He mistakes Mike for her brother. Things get messier when the brother gets back from his round trip flight. Can Elieen sort out this complicated romance without taking her clothes off?
The film is safe and cute and it’s not surprising considering the man at its helm. Director Peter Tewksbury cut his teeth with My Three Sons and Father Knows Best, two wholesome shows. There’s no subtle subversive nature to the action, as what you see is what’s happening.
This is a sweet and simple comedy that’s not quite as sexual in nature as it should be. This is a hot cast. Jane Fonda is so young and innocent. Rod Taylor was just coming off Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. He must have wanted to do a light movie that didn’t feature him getting pecked by seagulls. Robert Culp is just his usual cool self. Six years later, this production would have been a bit more risque on the screen. Sunday In New York is as joyfully sweet and tame as Mel Torme’s theme song. This is a sex comedy that’s perfect when you want a wholesome night.
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks fine with the rich colors of Metrocolor. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. Nothing too fancy in the mix. Levels are fine although the score is cranked up compared to the dialogue track.
Trailer (2:48) pushes the concept of Jane Fonda as woman covered in Manhattan men.
Sunday In New York is an innocent sex comedy that dares not use proper terms. Jane Fonda’s a virgin who dares not say the word. This element makes it more comical. Rod Taylor turns on the charm. How can she resist this big cat in the urban jungle? The big plus is location shots of New York City before the Beatles invaded it the next year. This chaste film is the opposite Manhattan explored in Sex and the City. This is a DVD-R put out by Warner Archive.
Warner Archive presents Sunday In New York. Directed by: Peter Tewksbury. Starring Jane Fonda, Rod Taylor, Cliff Robertson and Robert Culp. Running time: 104 minutes. Released on DVD: February 8, 2011.
Tags: alfred hitchcock, Father Knows Best, Sex and the City