Sunday In The Park is a silly screw ball comedy, I have always enjoyed it. The actors in it were on the brink of amazing and long careers, I loved the music and sweetness of the film. I have watched it when I was a bit down to just get a smile.
But there comes a time when you start noticing things in a movie you have seen a lot. And a couple of days ago I noticed that it was very early in the 60’s and here they were talking about sexual mores. I also started to place the movie in the time period and had some very serious thoughts emerge from such a silly film.
The funny romp Sex and The Single Girl, came a year later. (For my young friends this movie was based on a self-help book by Helen Gurley Brown that talked very openly about how good girls could have sex. It was of course a run away best seller. The movie has really nothing in common with the book they just took the name of the book and the author. This is also has nothing to do with Sex in The City. Though sometimes I wondered if a young Carrie Bradshaw borrowed her Mom’s copy.)
Sunday in New York is about a young girl played by Jane Fonda, who was just dumped by her fiancée because she wouldn’t go to bed with him. The chat with her brother played by Cliff Robertson was pretty open for a movie during the Kennedy Administration and pre-sexual revolution. She talks openly about how confusing it is to know what to do, when your parents and religion say one thing and the boys you go out with say something completely different. ( I think it is interesting that mid twenty and early thirty year old men and women refer to each other as girls and boys.)
I think it is interesting I realized all this on the eve of the anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. I mean all the change was supposed to take place after JFK was murdered but here was a movie touching gently on it while he was still alive and well. (The President was killed on November 22nd that year and this movie was released on November 13th. I was two years old so it is not from my memory but this was a critical time in our country and when we lost our President, my parents told me the world changed, it became a darker place. Really, the modern age began that day from what I understand.)
What the movie really points to was how hypocritical it all was, men were not judged for going to bed with the women they dated but woman were. In fact they were put into categories, those that would and those who wouldn’t. And men placed them in that category. Later in the film, she meets a young man played Rod Taylor, she finds out that her brother lied to her and was hypocrite so she tries to seduce Rod Taylor. She almost succeeds but he finds out that she is what he calls a beginner and he does not bed beginners. She has a great line, “I want to join the other group!”
It is so funny,in all the talks with her brother, he explains how men only marry good girls and he ends up marrying the girl he loves who had been sleeping with all along. So there goes that theory!