Director Robert Mulligan’s 1964 romantic comedy drama pairs Natalie Wood with Steve McQueen in their glorious prime. Wood earned her third and final Oscar nomination, one of five nominations, including Best Original Story and Screenplay (Arnold Schulman), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (Milton R. Krasner), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Hal Pereira, Roland Anderson, Sam Comer, Grace Gregory), Black-and-White and Best Costume Design, Black-and-White (Edith Head). There were no wins and the stars’ Best Actor and Actress nominations at the Golden Globes came to nothing either.
Wood stars as Catholic Italian New York City shop-salesgirl Angie Rossini, who makes love with struggling jazzman Rocky Papasano (McQueen), and promptly discovers that she is pregnant, in director Mulligan’s sharp and appealing look at struggling youth and tacky Sixties Manhattan. When she seeks him out to tell him she needs a doctor for an abortion. Though he hardly remembers her, he agrees to help her finds the doctor and they join up to raise the needed funds.
The stars turn on the charm and there is quality acting from the likes of Edie Adams (as a stripper called Barbie), Herschel Bernardi, Tom Bosley, Anne Hegira and Harvey Lembeck to help them out.
Mulligan gets a great deal of interesting mileage out of shooting a lot of it on location in New York City and, deftly mixing realism with comedy, he successfully steers the tale round its inherent twin dangers of plunging into sentimentality or sleaziness. Arnold Schulman’s original story and screenplay, and the performances, put a fresh gloss on the old idea of a couple who need each other if they only can realise it.
Also in the cast are Mario Badolati, Penny Santon, Elena Karam, Virginia Vincent, Nina Varela, Nick Alexander, Marilyn Chris, Augusta Ciolli, Wolfe Barzell, Val Avery, Richard Bowler, Richard Mulligan, Arlene Golonka, Lou Herbert, Henry Howard, Frank Marth, Nobu McCarthy, Paul Price, Vic Tayback, Loraine Abate, Leonard Bremen, Vincent Deadrick, Richard A Dysart, Michael Enserro, Barney Martin, Tony Mordente, Jean Shulman, Dyanne Thorne and Keith Worthey.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4065
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