skip navigation
Come September

Come September(1961)

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here

Remind Me

TCMDb Archive MaterialsView all archives (1)


powered by AFI

teaser Come September (1961)

After nearly a decade of playing stalwart heroes, Rock Hudson changed career direction when he demonstrated his flair for comedy in Pillow Talk (1959). Stanley Shapiro and Maurice Richlin, the same team that had written Pillow Talk, scripted Come September (1961), which was co-produced by Universal and Hudson's production company, Seven Pictures. Hudson plays a rich businessman who spends each September at his seaside villa in Italy with his Italian mistress, Gina Lollobrigida. When he shows up in July instead of September, he finds that his butler and caretaker, played by Walter Slezak, has been running the villa as a luxury hotel for 11 months of the year, and a group of teenage girls are currently in residence. Romantic complications ensue when college boys begin pursuing the girls, and the Hudson-Lollobrigida affair becomes strained.

Gina Lollobrigida began making films in her native Italy after World War II. Howard Hughes signed her to a contract in 1949, but didn't cast her in any films. Tired of waiting, she returned to Italy and became an international star, but because of her contract with Hughes, she could not appear in any American films for several years. She was, however, able to act in English-language films shot in Europe, starting with Trapeze in 1956. Come September was one of those films, and became her biggest box-office hit.

But it was the younger couple in the film, Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, that got most of the fan-magazine attention. Darin was a popular singer-songwriter, making his movie debut. Dee had become a top teen star in such films as Gidget (1959) and A Summer Place (1959). According to fanzine legend, their first meeting on location in Italy for Come September was a typical movie meet-cute. Darin reportedly said, "As I live and breathe, Tuesday Weld! I enjoy your pictures so much." And Dee riposted, "and I buy all your records, Fabian." The version told in Dodd Darin's biography of his parents is just as cute: "He was standing on the shore wearing a yellow suit, and she was in a boat just pulling in to dock. 'Will you marry me?' he called out to her. 'Not today,' she said."

The brash hipster Darin immediately began pursuing the sheltered Dee by befriending her watchdog mother. The unlikely couple married just weeks later. They had one son, and divorced in 1967, but remained close until Darin's death from heart disease in 1973. Their romance during the making of Come September is depicted in Kevin Spacey's Darin biopic, Beyond the Sea (2004), starring Spacey as Darin and Kate Bosworth as Dee.

The Darin-Dee romance, the star power and chemistry of Hudson and Lollobrigida, and such glamorous Italian locations as Rome and Portofino made Come September a box office hit - and the critics liked it, too. The Hollywood Reporter had high praise for the entire cast, especially Hudson, "who is an expert at this sort of thing, and has seldom been better." Bosley Crowther in the New York Times called Slezak "perfect," and Lollobrigida "a superb comedienne, making the mistress a model of dexterity and physical allure." Variety called Hudson's performance "his best to date," and added, "comedy appears to be his forte, which should make him an even more valuable leading man in Hollywood films." That prediction proved to be accurate. Hudson followed Come September with another hit comedy with Doris Day, Lover Come Back (1961), and stepped into Cary Grant's shoes in Howard Hawks' Man's Favorite Sport? (1964). However, a reunion with Lollobrigida in the 1965 comedy Strange Bedfellows proved less successful.

Come September also became a footnote in movie and aviation history. By 1961, airlines had begun showing films on flights, and Come September was the first movie to be shown on transcontinental and intercontinental flights. Co-star Walter Slezak delivered the film to TWA for its premiere in-flight screening. It was a perfect appetizer for travelers on their way to an Italian holiday.

Director: Robert Mulligan
Producer: Robert Arthur
Screenplay: Stanley Shapiro, Maurice Richlin
Cinematography: William Daniels
Editor: Russell F. Schoengarth
Costume Design: Morton Haack
Art Direction: Henry Bumstead
Music: Hans J. Salter; songs "Come September" theme, "Multiplication" by Bobby Darin
Cast: Rock Hudson (Robert Talbot), Gina Lollobrigida (Lisa Fellini), Sandra Dee (Sandy Stevens), Bobby Darin (Tony), Walter Slezak (Maurice Clavell), Brenda De Banzie (Margaret Allison), Rosanna Rory (Anna), Ronald Howard (Spencer).
C-114m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Margarita Landazuri

back to top