Awhile back on Turner Classic Movies, I saw the American romantic comedy Sunday in New York (1963) and I became cinematically hooked on viewing the classic. Aside from its indelible stellar cast which included Robert Culp, Rod Taylor, Cliff Robertson, Jane Fonda, Jim Backus and an uncredited appearance by actor Jim Hutton the film also has a memorable, jazzy uplifting soundtrack with music by the famed American pianist & pops conductor Peter Nero; there’s so much warmth behind it all! Under the guidance of the American film & television director Peter Tewksbury, Sunday in New York has become an awe-inspiring gem of a film…yet also deeply overlooked and immensely underrated as well. Written by Norman Krasna (adapted from his 1961 Broadway play of the same name, that ran for 188 performances) which had been produced by David Merrick and directed by Garson Kanin, the play had a very young actor named Robert Redford as well as Pat Stanley in the lead roles from the original Broadway cast that Rod Taylor and Jane Fonda later gave an incredible performance of in the film version respectively
I have yet to see the Broadway play which starred Redford, but then again I always felt that Taylor was perfect in the film adaptation in my opinion. As a matter of fact, all of the actors and actress were genuinely amazing in their craft during the filming of Sunday in New York, including Jane Fonda who stated that this film was the first time she enjoyed making a movie or thought she was any good at acting
I would have to agree 100% on that one; I was always a fan of her film work onscreen, and Sunday in New York is one of my favorite films of hers from the very beginning! Fonda stars as Eileen Tyler, a 22 year old Albany Times Union music critic, who is suffering from her breakup with Russ Wilson (Robert Culp); Wilson comes from a rich Albany family, but all Eileen wants to do is to escape certain expectations which, in my opinion, hinder her growth as a mature respectable woman in today’s world. She travels to New York City in order to visit her brother Adam (Cliff Robertson) who works as an airline pilot
Eileen confides in her brother intimate details about her sexual existence; but even though Adam assures her that sex is not what all men look for and insists he hasn’t slept around; deep down he knows he is concealing the real truth from her in the form of a tryst with his on/off again girlfriend Mona Harris (Jo Morrow). After many job related interruptions (including his boss Chief Pilot Drysdale, played by the veteran character actor Jim Backus) and his girlfriend’s insistence that something should be done about their so-called relationship, Adam gives in and tries to square things with her; meanwhile Eileen has no idea, until later on in the film that is, about Adam’s true nature regarding women, and decides once & for all that she needs to have fun for a change…this is where the REAL fun comes into play
That part belongs to a man that she quite unexpectedly, and embarrassingly, meet on a bus named Mike Mitchell (portrayed with impeccable charm and wit by the brilliantly talented Australian actor Rod Taylor, one of my favorites from Hollywood’s Golden Age) who at first becomes a little annoyed at the “jam” that he’s gotten himself involved in, but later on after getting to know more about Eileen falls deeply in love with her
Things get even conflicting and complicated when Russ not only pops in with a proposal but makes a critical assumption when he believes that Mitchell is Eileen’s brother Adam (and HIS best man for the wedding) with the real Adam showing up moments later. Drawn to the music of Peter Nero including the uplifting romantic tune Hello, one can only hope what will eventually happen to Eileen and the conflicting emotions that befell her as she tries to decide what is really best for herself; who will her true love be, Russ or Mike? Will Adam ever open up to his sister and reveal his real intentions about himself, and will Mona finally get through to Adam? Those burning questions will be answered as you view the film from beginning to end. The main theme song from the iconic soundtrack was sung by the inimitable singer and classic film actor Mel Torme, but the instrumental version was just as powerful and romantic
With a running time of about 105 minutes, Sunday in New York is bound to become a favorite of yours but don’t take my word for it…see for yourself! In conclusion, Sunday in New York has remained a timeless romantic film worth viewing a second or third time & a personal favorite classic of mine for generations to come; I’ve deeply enjoyed watching it from beginning to end.