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Michael James, a notorious womanizer, desperately wants to be faithful to his fiancée Carole, but runs into serious problems since every woman he meets seems to fall in love with him. His psychoanalyst Dr. Fassbender can't help him either since he's busy courting one of his patients who in turn longs for Michael. A catastrophe appears on the horizon as all the characters check into the Chateau Chantelle hotel for the weekend not knowing of each other's presence.Written by
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I guess this was the weekend on TCM for '60s international films. In the '60s, most of what was done was big - big historical dramas, big western dramas, big international comedies, and done on a smaller scale, the sex comedies like Sex and the Single Girl.
What's New Pussycat was an international sex comedy with the usual huge, well known cast: Peter Sellers, Romy Schneider, Peter O'Toole, Ursula Andress, Paula Prentiss, Capucine, with a cameo by Richard Burton. This was Woody Allen's first produced film script and his first film role. It wasn't a happy experience.
Peter O'Toole plays Michael James, the British editor of a Paris magazine He is in love with Carole (Schneider). She wants to get married, but he can't commit to her. Women are constantly after him, and he is constantly giving in.
He sees one Dr. Fritz Fassbender (Sellers) who wants Michael's life, particularly one of his patient, Renee (Capucine). Carole, meanwhile, is friendly with Michael's friend Victor (Allen) who is crazy about her and also wants Michael's life. The whole thing converges at the Château Chantel one weekend.
This film is purportedly based on the love life of Warren Beatty and the title taken from the way he answered the phone. He obviously did not wind up making the film. Peter Sellers adlibbed through a great deal of the movie and took all of Woody Allen's funny lines, diminishing Allen's part. The two of them loathed one another.
What's New Pussycat started out hilariously, with funny dialogue and situations. As it went on, it became more and more of an annoying mess and went out of control, culminating in a Keystone Kops type scene that was very funny. However, what preceded it was disorganized insanity.
There definitely are funny scenes and good performances. Paula Prentiss is especially good, as is Allen. Sellers is great until he seems to veer off of the script. I'm not sure if Peter O'Toole did his own stunts, but some of what he did was fantastic - the role called for him to be very physical. He was quite funny. Romy Schneider as usual was the straight man to this chicanery.
Watch in the bar scene where Peter O'Toole and a man talk and O'Toole says, give my best to what's-her-name - it's Richard Burton, and the what's-her-name is guess who. Very cute.
I like slapstick, I like madcap, but I like it structured, so I'm not the best judge of this. I prefer the MGM Marx Brothers to the Paramount ones, for instance.
This was hard to take after a while.
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