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Star Spangled Girl

Star Spangled Girl(1971)

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Before the opening credits, "Emilia `Amy' Cooper" is shown riding in a Greyhound bus to Los Angeles, sitting next to a man who closely resembles Jon Voight's "Joe Buck" character from Midnight Cowboy (1969, ), who tells her "If things don't work out better for me here than in New York I might just move on." The character of "Mrs. Kay MacKaninee" remains silent throughout the film.
       Star Spangled Girl was based on the Neil Simon stage play, The Star-Spangled Girl, which had its Broadway debut on December 21, 1966, starring Connie Stevens, Anthony Perkins and Richard Benjamin. On December 7, 1966, Daily Variety announced that Paramount had bought the film rights to the play and made a "substantial" investment in the stage production "in keeping with [the] studio's intentions of expanding into all areas of the entertainment field." At that time, The Star-Spangled Girl marked the fourth Simon play acquired by the studio as part of a seven-year deal the writer made with Paramount in 1963, allowing them the first option on all of his properties.
       In April 1967, Hollywood Reporter reported that Paramount was considering Marlo Thomas for the lead role in the film. A July 1968 Daily Variety article stated that producer Howard W. Koch planned to begin production on the film version in October 1968, with exteriors to be shot in San Francisco, the locale of the play. Arnold Schulman was announced in that article as the screenwriter. Barry Shear was then named as the film's director in a December 1968 Daily Variety article. In October 1970, Hollywood Reporter stated that Joey Heatherton had been "virtually signed" to star in Star Spangled Girl.
       The film began production in April 1971, directed by Jerry Paris, who had earlier directed the pilot for star Sandy Duncan's television series Funny Face. As noted in press materials, some scenes were photographed at the Paramount Studios and others were shot in various locations around Los Angeles, the setting of the film. Star Spangled Girl marked Todd Susman's feature film debut.
       The film received almost universally poor notices. In his autobiography, Simon discussed the Broadway version of his play, stating that he based it on a spirited political conversation he overheard between author Paddy Chayevsky and the wife of an astronaut. Simon expressed his disappointment in the play, declaring "I blocked out my integrity and settled for a night of fun."