Cast & Crew
After Felix Sherman, an aspiring author and bookshop clerk in New York City, reports to landlord Rapzinsky that neighbor Doris is a prostitute, the woman is evicted, immediately moves into his apartment in the middle of the night, and denounces Felix as a homosexual informant. Astonished, Felix allows her to stay. When his guest develops hiccups he attempts to cure her by appearing in a skeleton costume. Her screams, however, attract so much attention that Felix himself is instantly evicted. The two go to the apartment of Felix's friend Barney, where, after a tumultuous argument between Felix and Doris which forces Barney and his girl friend out on the street, Doris seduces Felix. The next morning they argue violently and part angrily. Doris becomes a go-go dancer, but her audience prefers to watch a televised football game. In a sleazy theater Felix uneasily watches Cycle Sluts , a film featuring Doris. When Doris' friend Eleanor informs him of the prostitute's whereabouts, Felix takes Doris to the home of his fiancée, prim concert pianist Ann Weyderhaus. After smoking marijuana, Felix and Doris are bathing when the Weyderhaus family returns home unexpectedly, and Doris recognizes Mr. Weyderhaus as one of her most peculiar customers. As Felix and Doris walk in Central Park, they argue and then confess their love for each other.
Dominic T. Barto
Blood, Sweat And Tears
James S. Brown Jr.
John F. Burnett
William C. Gerrity
John Robert Lloyd
Thomas Priestley Jr.
The Owl and the Pussycat
The film version of The Owl and the Pussycat features Streisand as Doris, a prostitute and would-be model-actress who falls for her exact opposite, an uptight bookstore employee who fancies himself a great undiscovered novelist. The plot had the polar opposites thrown together, at first with much hostility, then gradually falling in love and learning to be realistic about their direction in life. Streisand told a reporter at the time she was looking forward to making a movie with "no songs, like a normal person," allowing audiences to see "the me that's natural and very today."
In spite of this desire to work on something more contemporary and "hip," she was nonetheless extremely nervous about the brief nude scene the script required. The story called for her to remove her top and jump into bed with co-star George Segal, but when it came time to film it, she was very reluctant. According to James Spada's biography Streisand: Her Life, she told director Herbert Ross she couldn't do the scene because she was insecure about her figure and worried about what her mother would say. Spada quoted screenwriter Buck Henry as recalling that she and Ross went into a closet where she showed him her body and he reassured her that she had nothing to worry about. Nevertheless, it took Ross nearly an hour to convince her, and he had to reassure her that if she wasn't happy with the scene, it would be cut. She finally agreed, nervously baring her breasts and climbing into bed next to Segal. Star, director, and crew all had a good laugh when the relentless perfectionist insisted she wanted a retake. As for mother Diana Kind, she only commented later, "I'm shocked by all those things actresses have to do today, but I guess it's part of the job." The scene was ultimately cut before release, but photos of the nude Streisand were leaked to High Society magazine. The actress won an injunction against the publication, and the shots disappeared from public view.
As one of the backers of the original play, producer Ray Stark easily acquired the movie rights to The Owl and the Pussycat for $100,000 and in 1965 announced plans to film it with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Burton immediately turned it down, and Stark sought Australian actor Rod Taylor for the male lead opposite Taylor. Eventually they both said no, and Streisand, who had a contract with Stark, signed for $1 million and seven percent of the net, a dramatic increase in her original terms. Initially Sidney Poitier was talked about as co-star, which would have been in keeping with the play's cross-racial casting. (Alan Alda had played opposite the African-American Sands on Broadway.) When Buck Henry was hired to adapt the screenplay, he suggested Segal, who got along very well with his leading lady and reportedly learned much about playing comedy from her. Both Segal and supporting player Robert Klein praised Streisand's professionalism and courtesy throughout the production, contrary to frequent reports of difficult behavior on her earlier films.
Henry changed the story's location from San Francisco to Manhattan in order to take advantage of his star's image and speech. "Lots of stuff in it was written for Barbra's rhythms and for that ingenious New York ear and accent which lends itself to certain patterns of speech that other actresses wouldn't sound good doing," he later said. One of the lines he added had her telling a carful of young hoods to "F*ck off!" Even as late as 1970, it was still unusual to hear that word in a mainstream film, much less out of the mouth of a major star, and some theaters refused to book the film with the line intact. As a result, some prints of the movie have the words "Up yours" dubbed over the offending phrase.
Streisand and Stark argued over his insistence that the story be rewritten to include a few songs for her. She flatly refused, determined as she was to prove she could carry a picture without singing. He also had a song written especially for her, a dramatic ballad that would appear under a montage of scenes depicting Doris and Felix's estrangement. In the end, she won the showdown and did no singing in the film.
The credits for The Owl and the Pussycat list two cinematographers. Veteran Harry Stradling, Sr. shot most of the film, much of it on location in freezing cold New York exteriors, but he quit to return to the warmth of Los Angeles. Young Hungarian-born Andrew Laszlo was hired to complete the final three weeks of principal photography.
Buck Henry makes a cameo appearance in the movie as a browser in the bookstore. Although credited as Evelyn Lang, that's really Marilyn Chambers making her film debut in a bit part as Barney's girlfriend. Chambers, who died in 2009, was originally seen in TV ads as the Ivory Soap girl, but her biggest fame came as the star of the adult films Behind the Green Door (1972) and Resurrection of Eve (1973). She later went legit for David Cronenberg's Rabid (1977).
Director: Herbert Ross
Producer: Ray Stark
Screenplay: Buck Henry, based on the play by Bill Manhoff
Cinematography: Andrew Laszlo, Harry Stradling, Sr.
Editing: John F. Burnett
Art Direction: Philip Rosenberg, Robert Wightman
Original Music: Richard Halligan
Cast: Barbra Streisand (Doris), George Segal (Felix), Robert Klein (Barney), Allen Garfield (Dress Shop Proprietor), Roz Kelly (Eleanor).
by Rob Nixon
The Owl and the Pussycat
Ray Stark (1915-2004)
Born on October 3, 1915 in New York City, Stark was educated at Rutgers University and New York University Law School. After graduation, he started his entertainment career selling radio scripts before he became a literary agent for such notable writers as Ben Hecht, Thomas P. Costain, and Raymond Chandler. After serving in the Navy during World War II, Stark - who had show-business connections through his mother-in-law, Broadway legend Fanny Brice - eventually became a top Hollywood agent at Famous Artists, where he represented such stars as Marilyn Monroe, William Holden, Kirk Douglas, and Lana Turner.
By 1957, Stark was hungry to develop more of a taste in the film business, so he formed a partnership with fellow producer Elliott Hyman to create the independent movie firm, Seven Arts Productions. Stark's first film production credit was the popular drama The World of Suzie Wong (1960) starring William Holden and Nancy Kwan; and he followed that up with an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' superb Night of the Iguana (1964) with Richard Burton, Deborah Kerr and Ava Gardner.
Around this time, Stark had the ambition to produce a musical based on the life of his late mother-in-law, and produced his first Broadway musical - Funny Girl. The musical opened on March 24, 1964 and made Barbra Streisand the toast of the Great White Way. Eventually, Stark would make the film adaptation four years later, and Streisand would win the Academy Award for Best Actress. Stark would also arrange a contract with Streisand to do three more movies for him within the next 10 years that still prove to be the most interesting of her career: the hilarious sex farce The Owl and the Pussycat (1970) with George Segal; the romantic drama The Way We Were (1973) with Robert Redford; and the sequel to her film debut Funny Lady (1975) co-starring Omar Sharif.
Stark also delivered another Broadway luminary to the movie going masses when he brought a string of well-acted, Neil Simon comedies to the silver screen, most notably: The Goodbye Girl (1977) with Marsha Mason and Richard Dreyfuss (Oscar winner, Best Actor); The Sunshine Boys (1975) with Walter Matthau and George Burns (Oscar winner, Best Supporting Actor); California Suite (1978) with Alan Alda, Michael Caine, and Dame Maggie Smith (Oscar winner, Best Supporting Actress); the nostalgic Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) with Blythe Danner; and Biloxi Blues (1988) with Matthew Broderick. He also produced Steel Magnolias (1989), with an ensemble cast that introduced audiences to a radiantly young Julia Roberts. In television, Stark won an Emmy award for the HBO's telefilm Barbarians at the Gate (1993). His last credit as a producer (at age 84) was the Harrison Ford picture Random Hearts (1999).
Although he never won an Academy Award, Stark earned the most prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Award in 1980 and the David O. Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award from the Producers Guild of America in 1999. He is survived by his daughter, Wendy, and granddaughter, Allison.
by Michael T. Toole
Ray Stark (1915-2004)
I'm extremely sorry but I don't know the story to "The Sound Of Music".- Felix
Oh no, that's terrible.- Doris
You thought "The Sound Of Music" was terrible?- Felix
Four times I saw that terrible movie.- Doris
You must have really hated it.- Felix
Say that you are just a little fruit all alone out in the hall.- Doris
Filmed on location in New York City. After his death, Stradling was replaced by Laszlo. Evelyn Lang is a pseudonym for Marilyn Chambers.
Released in United States Fall November 1, 1970
Released in United States September 2000
Andrew Laszlo took over after the death of Harry Stradling, the original director of photography.for this film.
Released in United States September 2000 (Shown in New York City (BAM Rose Cinema) as part of program "Buck Henry: The Buck Stops Here" September 7-22, 2000.)
Released in United States Fall November 1, 1970