SUNDAY IN NEW YORK (director: Peter Tewksbury; screenwriter: Norman Krasna/based on Krasna’s play; cinematographer: Leo Tover; editors: Franz Steininger/Frederic Steinkamp; music: Peter Nero; cast: Cliff Robertson (Adam Tyler), Jane Fonda (Eileen Tyler), Rod Taylor (Mike Mitchell), Robert Culp (Russ Wilson), Jo Morrow (Mona Harris), Jim Backus (Flight Dispatcher); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Everett Freeman; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; 1963)
“Charming sex farce.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This charming sex farce is based on the Broadway play by Norman Krasna; he also provides the screenplay. It’s directed by Peter Tewksbury with an eye for milking the most comedy he can from set pieces involving mistaken identity and hypocritical sexual double-standards between men and women. Everyone in this superb cast gives a true and lively performance, and it’s fun to watch Jane Fonda to act so girlish and innocent.
Adam Tyler (Cliff Robertson) is an airline pilot living in an upscale Upper East Side Manhattan apartment, who is off on Sunday though he’s on flight call and must report in if there’s an emergency. The handsome bachelor plans to spend the day with his girlfriend Mona Harris (Jo Morrow) in his apartment, but unexpectedly his virgin 22-year-old younger sister Eileen (Jane Fonda) shows up to visit from their hometown of Albany and complains that her Dream Guy, the handsome and wealthy Russ (Robert Culp), is planning to dump her unless she puts out. Adam answers her request for advice by saying she should remain pure and when pressed about his behavior, swears he’s also a virgin. When Mona comes to Adam’s pad for a day of sex, she finds his sister as a guest and the two tell Eileen they are going ice skating in Rockefeller Center. When dispatcher Drysdale (Jim Backus) calls that Adam is needed for a flight, sis hops the Fifth Avenue bus to go to the rink and tell her brother. On the bus she meets on the cute the handsome well-dressed Mike Mitchell (Rod Taylor). They have no luck spotting her brother and when they go for coffee they fail to connect while making small talk, but will meet again on another Fifth Avenue bus and go rowing in Central Park. They discover they have much in common, including both are music critics for newspapers. When it starts to pour they return to Adam’s apartment to dry off and Eileen discovers in her brother’s closet a racy negligee and is mad at him for lying about his virtuous behavior. Not wanting to lose Mike she awkwardly tries to seduce him, but he resists. They are in their bathrobes when they are surprised that Russ appears at the door, having driven down from Albany to ask Eileen to marry him. Russ mistakenly takes Mike to be Adam, and Eileen doesn’t know how to tell him the truth. It now becomes a matter of whom Eileen loves more, as she has to look into her heart and make the right choice.
In the meantime Eileen’s big brother is trying to secure an empty apartment from friends, as Mona’s place is occupied by her roommates. But when called back by the dispatcher to fly to Pittsburgh, Mona surprises him by getting on that flight only to learn when landing Adam’s flight plans were canceled. When a steaming Mona returns to New York, Adam is scheduled to go to Denver. She gets sweet talked into taking the Denver flight, but Adam slips running after an errant child and the doctor won’t let him fly. The livid Mona arrives in Denver and learns once again Adam is back in New York, and he sees that the only way to save their relationship is to propose. It was that kind of delirious love story, where sex before marriage is carefully examined without saying anything about it that matters but leaving it open to comedy.
REVIEWED ON 12/22/2005 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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