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The Impossible Years

The Impossible Years(1968)

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teaser The Impossible Years (1968)

The Impossible Years (1968) stars David Niven as Jonathan Kingsley, a psychiatrist who works at a university and is forced to cope with the liberated attitudes of the swinging sixties as personified by his beautiful teenage daughter (Cristina Ferrare). Despite the counsel of his levelheaded wife (Lola Albright), Kingsley is aghast as his once-protected child develops into a campus radical at the same time she discovers her sexuality.

The movie came at a happy time in the personal life of Scottish-born Niven, who was approaching 60 and had begun living in Switzerland and France after working in Hollywood since the mid-1930s. Happily married with two adopted daughters, he was balancing a busy movie schedule with a lucrative career in American television aspirin commercials, becoming one of the first major film stars to make such appearances respectable. The Impossible Years marked the film debut of Ferrare, later to become better known as the wife of controversial auto magnate John DeLorean (whom she divorced in 1985) and as the hostess of television talk shows.

Ozzie Nelson, famous for his long costarring stint with wife Harriet in a series of wholesome radio programs, television shows and movies, costars in the film as a neighbor who is prone to hypochondria and offering advice. Nelson had a long history with The Impossible Years. The play of the same title was written by his good friends Bob Fisher and Arthur Marx (son of Groucho), who included this line about the revolutionary sixties: "All revolutions have to be violent; there's no such thing as an 'Ozzie and Harriet' revolution." Nelson recalled in his autobiography that, when he and his wife attended a performance of the play on Broadway in 1965, "it seemed as if everyone in the audience turned to see what our reaction would be - as if worried that we might be offended." Far from being offended, the Nelsons liked the play enough to take on the leading roles of the beleaguered mother and father in stage productions of The Impossible Years on the West Coast and at Chicago's Drury Lane Theatre. Nelson recalled that the conservative "Ozzie and Harriet" image helped the pair get laughs in such scenes as one in which the psychiatrist suffers from a hangover, after getting drunk in reaction to his daughter running off to get married, and his wife reacts to his condition by throwing back a glass of straight whiskey. When the screen version of The Impossible Years was made, Nelson took the unusual step of accepting a supporting role. It was his final motion picture appearance.

Producer: Lawrence Weingarten
Director: Michael Gordon
Screenplay: George Wells, from the play by Bob Fisher and Arthur Marx
Cinematography: William H. Daniels
Editing: James E. Newcom
Original Music: Don Costa
Cast: David Niven (Jonathan Kingsley), Lola Albright (Alice Kingsley), Chad Everett (Richard Merrick), Ozzie Nelson (Herbert Fleischer), Cristina Ferrare (Linda Kingsley), Jeff Cooper (Bartholomew Smuts).
C-98m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

By Roger Fristoe

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