Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Overlooked Movies -- Where the Boys Are

This might not be a great movie, but I thought it was when I first saw it in the theater well over 50 years ago.  But then you know I'm a sucker for coming-of-age stories.   It follows the adventures of four midwestern college students, Merritt (Dolores Hart), Melanie (Yvette Mimeux), Tuggle (Paula Prentiss), and Angie (Connie Francis) in Ft. Lauderdale for Spring Break.  It's a funny movie, and it was sold as a comedy, but it's also a serious one.  If you want to know what was going on with sex and college students in the late 1950s and early 1960s (before the "real" '60s began, all you have to do is watch this movie.  

Men, it seems, want only one thing (if you know what I mean and I think you do), but that turns out to be true in only one case, a vicious and sad one.  What good men really want is someone they can respect and love, someone who's smart and sharp and not a pushover.  Women want only one thing, too, a good man.  Or at least they think so.  And you know what?  That's not far off the mark.  I was there.  I remember.

Just about everyone in the movie has beliefs challenged and modified or changed by the end (or they just come around to what they really believed in the first place).  It's a lot more serious underneath than it appears to be on the surface.

After I saw the movie, I immediately bought the book.  I don't remember much about it other than that I liked it a lot.  It was written by Glendon Swarthout, a versatile guy who also wrote the Homesman.  Hard to believe the same man wrote those two novels.

This is the movie the should've made Paula Prentiss a star.  She's great, purely wonderful.  I've been in love with her ever since.  And this might be a surprise, but Connie Francis can act.  She's much better than you might expect, very good at comedy.  I don't know why she didn't have a better career in movies.  

19 comments:

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Agree with you on Paula Prentiss. My problem with Connie Francis was she wasn't very attractive.

Deb said...

Connie wasn't the "conventional" bubbly blonde (neither was Paula Prentiss, come to think of it) popular in the late 1950s/early 1960s, so that might have accounted for the lack of traction in her acting career. Paula was probably too tall (I remember a TCM interview where she said she was paired with Jim Hutton in more than one movie because he was one of the few actors who was as tall as she was). I saw a wonderful clip of Paula giving a talk recently and Richard Benjamin was with her; they've been married over 40 years now.

Bill Crider said...

Wish I'd seen the clip. For that matter, I still wish they'd release HE & SHE on DVD. Or maybe they have, and I missed it.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Overlooked?

Not by Jackie. This is one of her favorites, and we've seen it many times over the years. I've loved Paula Prentiss since seeing this the first time. Deb, I saw that too. Jackie has always liked her because she is so tall. She is 5'9" and Hutton was 6'4". Last time we saw this I was struck anew at how much the young Timothy Hutton resembled his father (not so much in AMERICAN CRIME), though he is several inches shorter.

And Yvette Mimieux!

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

No, HE AND SHE is not available on DVD.

Bill Crider said...

I thought not. Yet a few dozen Adam Sandler movies are.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I've been in love with her ever since too. If there is one movie that takes me back to my early teens, this is it. And HE AND SHE was terrific.
I am wondering if you have the troll "Steve" on here. I don't think he would make a negative comment about looks.

Todd Mason said...

Swarthout had a pretty good touch with youthful tragedy...BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN was also adapted from one of his novels...

5'9" shouldn't've got in the way of Prentiss's career, given how many six-footers floated around H'wood, but she also Seemed Smart, which was probably two strikes entirely too often.

Watch the little networks for HE AND SHE...Antenna TV recently dusted off GOOD MORNING, WORLD, seemingly as a sort of trial balloon (they ran only a couple-few episodes) which I believe James Reasoner wrote up some years back, and you might've as well?

Bill Crider said...

Probably just commented on James' post. I remember it well.

Deb said...

I was thinking that too, Patti. Bill--if you get any comments that purport to be from me but seem atypical ("How would we know?"--Bill), feel free to delete them. Irritating trolls are the reason the rest of us can't have nice things!

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Here you go, Bill, and anyone else who missed it: Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss on love.

Bill Crider said...

I didn't even know there was a Troll Steve.

Thanks for the link, Jeff!

J. Juday said...

I had never heard of HE AND SHE, and it looks great. There are some low quality copies on YouTube. This is not as nice as a DVD would be, but interesting for those of us wanting to know more:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4vwZfkb56kgRdv8qPBJhfA?&ab_channel=He%26SheReruns

Bill Crider said...

Thanks for the link!

Rick Robinson said...

I'd love to see this again.

Rick said...

A few years ago I bought a set of "He And She" DVDs on the collectors market. The quality was about an eight as I recall.

I really like the film (WTBA). I can see my DVD of it right now from my computer chair.
I also really like the novel,
For those who haven't read it, the narrative voice is Merritt's, told in evocative early 1960s college student slang.

I lived in Palm Springs CA from 1955 through 1959, so the Spring Break (then called Easter Vacation, of course) small-town-resort-overrun-with-college-students atmosphere rang very true to me.
(Rick Libott)

Bill Crider said...

I've pulled the novel from my shelves, and one of these days I might even reread it.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Amazon has a Kindle edition at $4.99.

Rick said...

Btw, Swarthout also wrote the western novel "They Came To Cordura", which was made into a Robert Rosen film starring Gary Cooper and Rita Hayworth in 1959.

(Rick Libott)