Come Blow Your Horn


1h 52m 1963
Come Blow Your Horn

Brief Synopsis

A big city swinger teaches his sheltered brother how to become a chick magnet.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
New York opening: 5 Jun 1963
Production Company
Essex Productions; Tandem Enterprises
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Come Blow Your Horn by Neil Simon (New York, 22 Feb 1961).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Bored with living at home with his older, Jewish parents, young Buddy Baker packs his bags and arrives unannounced at the luxurious Manhattan apartment of his older brother, Alan, a fast-living, girl-chasing bachelor who never allows his duties at his father's artificial fruit factory to interfere with his pleasures. Pleased at his brother's show of independence, Alan buys Buddy a flashy new wardrobe and introduces him to New York night life. Their father becomes enraged at Alan's poor example and at his irresponsible loss of an important account. Buddy is such an apt pupil that he soon takes over his brother's private stock of liquor and begins dating his girl friends. After giving up Peggy, the woman upstairs, to Buddy, Alan is beaten up by the husband of another woman friend. He becomes frightened at the prospect of a serious relationship, alienating his favorite girl friend, Connie. Suddenly realizing the futility of his life, Alan urges Buddy to end his carousing and settle down, but Buddy is having too good a time. Their argument jolts Alan into maturity, and he decides to propose to Connie. Following their marriage, Alan discovers that his mother has left his father because of his bad temper, but Alan effects their reconciliation, successfully concludes a business deal, and bequeaths his bachelor apartment to the delighted Buddy.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
New York opening: 5 Jun 1963
Production Company
Essex Productions; Tandem Enterprises
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Come Blow Your Horn by Neil Simon (New York, 22 Feb 1961).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1963

Articles

Come Blow Your Horn


Come Blow Your Horn (1963) is notable for being the first of many films based on a play by Neil Simon (his first big stage hit). The screenplay was written not by Simon, however, who did not yet have the clout to call his own shots in Hollywood, but by Norman Lear in only the second time he had written for the big screen. Lear went on to a highly successful television career where he created such influential series as All in the Family, Sanford and Son (both inspired by British TV shows), Maude (a spin-off from All in the Family), and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

As with much of Simon's work, the story is closely based on his life, in this case his relationship with his older brother Danny, a successful producer-director-writer who worked on many hit TV series from the medium's earliest days (shows for Sid Caesar and Carol Burnett) through the 1970s (Facts of Life, Diff'rent Strokes). Fresh off the heavy demands of The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Frank Sinatra eased back into a role he could do in his sleep. The movie was tailored to his own image as a "ring-a-ding-ding" ladies man who plays mentor to his rebellious young brother Buddy (the Neil Simon stand-in). Sinatra teaches his younger sibling the ropes while juggling three romances. As Buddy starts to take on his dress, mannerisms, and speech patterns, the older brother begins to see the error of his ways, and drops the playboy torch, settling down with his one true love.

Sinatra added to his swingin' image by doing an interview with Playboy magazine during production of Come Blow Your Horn. The interview was conducted both on the set, during breaks in a recording session (where he performed the hit title song as one of many album tracks under the guidance of his frequent musical arranger Nelson Riddle), and in his sports car on the way to and from the studio. He also carried on an affair with glamorous co-star Jill St. John and had his "Rat Pack" buddy Dean Martin do a funny unbilled cameo in the movie. He also threw in a brief imitation of President John Kennedy, who had befriended Sinatra (an early supporter) then dropped him from his inner circle when the singer's lifestyle and reputed mob connections became politically risky.

This was Tony Bill's screen acting debut. Bill has continued to take on smaller roles in films throughout the years (Ice Station Zebra, 1968, Shampoo, 1975, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, 1985). But his real success came as a producer and director for film - a Best Picture Oscar® for The Sting (1973) - and TV (Felicity, Monk).

Mrs. Eckman, the glamorous buyer for Neiman-Marcus, is played by Phyllis McGuire, one of the McGuire Sisters, the famous singing trio of the 1950s. Her life - and her long-term relationship with mob boss Sam Giancana, reputedly a good friend of Sinatra's - was the basis for the TV movie Sugartime (1995), with John Turturro as Giancana and Mary-Louise Parker as McGuire.

Although he played Sinatra's father, Lee J. Cobb was actually only four years older than his co-star (who was 25 years older than Tony Bill as his kid brother). Cobb was also 13 years younger than his screen wife, Molly Picon. The gruff character actor generally played older in his career. In 1949, at only 38, he starred as the aged title character in the stage premier of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman opposite Mildred Dunnock, cast as his wife but 10 years older.

Director: Bud Yorkin
Producer: Howard W. Koch
Screenplay: Norman Lear, based on the play by Neil Simon
Cinematography: William H. Daniels
Editing: Frank P. Keller
Art Direction: Roland Anderson, Hal Pereira
Original Music: Nelson Riddle, songs by Jimmy Van Heusen
Cast: Frank Sinatra (Alan Baker), Lee J. Cobb (Harry Baker), Molly Picon (Sophie Baker), Barbara Rush (Connie), Jill St. John (Peggy John), Tony Bill (Buddy Baker).
C-112m. Letterboxed.

by Rob Nixon
Come Blow Your Horn

Come Blow Your Horn

Come Blow Your Horn (1963) is notable for being the first of many films based on a play by Neil Simon (his first big stage hit). The screenplay was written not by Simon, however, who did not yet have the clout to call his own shots in Hollywood, but by Norman Lear in only the second time he had written for the big screen. Lear went on to a highly successful television career where he created such influential series as All in the Family, Sanford and Son (both inspired by British TV shows), Maude (a spin-off from All in the Family), and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. As with much of Simon's work, the story is closely based on his life, in this case his relationship with his older brother Danny, a successful producer-director-writer who worked on many hit TV series from the medium's earliest days (shows for Sid Caesar and Carol Burnett) through the 1970s (Facts of Life, Diff'rent Strokes). Fresh off the heavy demands of The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Frank Sinatra eased back into a role he could do in his sleep. The movie was tailored to his own image as a "ring-a-ding-ding" ladies man who plays mentor to his rebellious young brother Buddy (the Neil Simon stand-in). Sinatra teaches his younger sibling the ropes while juggling three romances. As Buddy starts to take on his dress, mannerisms, and speech patterns, the older brother begins to see the error of his ways, and drops the playboy torch, settling down with his one true love. Sinatra added to his swingin' image by doing an interview with Playboy magazine during production of Come Blow Your Horn. The interview was conducted both on the set, during breaks in a recording session (where he performed the hit title song as one of many album tracks under the guidance of his frequent musical arranger Nelson Riddle), and in his sports car on the way to and from the studio. He also carried on an affair with glamorous co-star Jill St. John and had his "Rat Pack" buddy Dean Martin do a funny unbilled cameo in the movie. He also threw in a brief imitation of President John Kennedy, who had befriended Sinatra (an early supporter) then dropped him from his inner circle when the singer's lifestyle and reputed mob connections became politically risky. This was Tony Bill's screen acting debut. Bill has continued to take on smaller roles in films throughout the years (Ice Station Zebra, 1968, Shampoo, 1975, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, 1985). But his real success came as a producer and director for film - a Best Picture Oscar® for The Sting (1973) - and TV (Felicity, Monk). Mrs. Eckman, the glamorous buyer for Neiman-Marcus, is played by Phyllis McGuire, one of the McGuire Sisters, the famous singing trio of the 1950s. Her life - and her long-term relationship with mob boss Sam Giancana, reputedly a good friend of Sinatra's - was the basis for the TV movie Sugartime (1995), with John Turturro as Giancana and Mary-Louise Parker as McGuire. Although he played Sinatra's father, Lee J. Cobb was actually only four years older than his co-star (who was 25 years older than Tony Bill as his kid brother). Cobb was also 13 years younger than his screen wife, Molly Picon. The gruff character actor generally played older in his career. In 1949, at only 38, he starred as the aged title character in the stage premier of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman opposite Mildred Dunnock, cast as his wife but 10 years older. Director: Bud Yorkin Producer: Howard W. Koch Screenplay: Norman Lear, based on the play by Neil Simon Cinematography: William H. Daniels Editing: Frank P. Keller Art Direction: Roland Anderson, Hal Pereira Original Music: Nelson Riddle, songs by Jimmy Van Heusen Cast: Frank Sinatra (Alan Baker), Lee J. Cobb (Harry Baker), Molly Picon (Sophie Baker), Barbara Rush (Connie), Jill St. John (Peggy John), Tony Bill (Buddy Baker). C-112m. Letterboxed. by Rob Nixon

Come Blow Your Horn - COME BLOW YOUR HORN - Frank Sinatra in the 1963 Film Version of Neil Simon's Play


The 1960s was filled with films featuring swinging single men (or even, God forbid, cheating married men), most of them between 30 and 50 living in lavish bachelor pads with fully stocked bars and a revolving door of younger women passing through to their bedrooms: Boeing, Boeing, A Guide For the Married Man, What's New Pussycat, How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life, any James Bond movie and oh so many films with Dean Martin (the Matt Helm movies) and Frank Sinatra (Tony Rome and friends). These aren't films about the sexual revolution, mind you. These men are unapologetic players and the women are either playmates or long-suffering good girls waiting for the man-boys to grow up and commit.

Sure enough, Sinatra is the ring-a-ding bachelor of the 1963 comedy Come Blow Your Horn, a film based on a Neil Simon play where sex comedy collides with the coming of age comedy of 1950s family values. Sinatra anchors the film as Alan Baker, the runaway son and free-wheeling sales executive of his father's company (the biggest manufacturer of plastic fruit on the East Coast!) and now mentor to his 21-year-old kid brother Buddy, played by Tony Bill in his feature debut. Buddy has just fled his suburban family home on the tree-lined streets of Queens and landed at his brother's super-cool New York City bachelor apartment, a lavish fantasy of wood paneling, wall-to-wall carpets, a fully-stocked bar, and a living room the size of a small ballroom: a playground that is clearly beyond his means.

To call Come Blow Your Horn dated is an understatement. It's more like a cartoonish fantasy of the Mad Men sensibility of philandering men who treat the female sex as a buffet for their perusal. It was Neil Simon's first play, propped up by clichés and fantasies, and the screen adaptation by screenwriter Norman Lear and director Bud Yorkin simply ups the ante on the stereotypes. Lee J. Cobb bellows as the gruff father ("You're a bum!" he screams at his sons when discussion turns heated) and Molly Picon frets, complains, and fusses like the quintessential Jewish mother, the Yiddish theater legend essentially defining the stereotype. A parade of beautiful women pass through the doorway into their den, notably Jill St. John as a dim, shapely would-be actress that Alan passes on to Buddy, and Alan's cocktail sophistication gets a jolt of beatnik culture when Buddy brings a younger cliché into the mix. Meanwhile it's a coming of age for Alan as well: the lifelong playboy has to decide if he prefers his freedom to his feelings for Connie (Barbara Rush), who wants love and commitment. It plays out in the film with about as much depth as the description suggests, simultaneously offering life lessons and embracing the swinging bachelor fantasy.

At age 48, Sinatra is a bit too old to realistically play affectionate big brother to the emancipated 21-year-old Buddy, but otherwise it's a natural part for Sinatra, who is all easy confidence and wolfish charm as he constantly plays hooky to pursue one of the many women he juggles in his busy nightlife. This role is virtually indistinguishable from his public persona, at least the way Sinatra plays him, all easy grins and snappy remarks and wandering hands over his dates, and he doesn't invest too much in characterization. Which is not a problem here, even at his laziest, because that devil-may-care simply attitude defines Alan, the big brother eager to take his little brother out of the straightjacket of suburban life and introduce him to the wonders of city life, cocktail culture, and women ripe for the plucking.

Tony Bill, who looks like a preppy George Hamilton and sounds like the Ron Howard of the 1970s, follows in the good-looking, nice-boy footsteps of pre-Psycho Anthony Perkins. Part of the fun of the film is seeing this gee-whiz suburban kid, an adult working at the family business ("I just can't get excited about making plastic fruit," he complains) who has all the gravitas and maturity as a high-school senior, try his hand as an urban lothario.

Like many a stage adaptation of the era, it rarely breaks free of the bachelor pad set--our only real glimpse of the New York City outside the apartment comes in a musical montage where Sinatra sings the title song while outfitting his baby brother in a new urban wardrobe--and the play of entrances and exits and untimely meetings of key characters drives the momentum of the story. What it has going for it is Neil Simon's playful way with comic dialogue, the absurdly lavish apartment set, and the chemistry of the cast.

The DVD from Olive, released under its licensing partnership with Paramount, is 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with vivid color (and it is a colorful film, thanks to the interior design riot of the central apartment) and solid image. No supplements but the disc engineers did a nice job adapting the graphics of the opening credits to the disc's menu.

For more information about Come Blow Your Horn, visit Olive Films. To order Come Blow Your Horn, go to TCM Shopping.

by Sean Axmaker

Come Blow Your Horn - COME BLOW YOUR HORN - Frank Sinatra in the 1963 Film Version of Neil Simon's Play

The 1960s was filled with films featuring swinging single men (or even, God forbid, cheating married men), most of them between 30 and 50 living in lavish bachelor pads with fully stocked bars and a revolving door of younger women passing through to their bedrooms: Boeing, Boeing, A Guide For the Married Man, What's New Pussycat, How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life, any James Bond movie and oh so many films with Dean Martin (the Matt Helm movies) and Frank Sinatra (Tony Rome and friends). These aren't films about the sexual revolution, mind you. These men are unapologetic players and the women are either playmates or long-suffering good girls waiting for the man-boys to grow up and commit. Sure enough, Sinatra is the ring-a-ding bachelor of the 1963 comedy Come Blow Your Horn, a film based on a Neil Simon play where sex comedy collides with the coming of age comedy of 1950s family values. Sinatra anchors the film as Alan Baker, the runaway son and free-wheeling sales executive of his father's company (the biggest manufacturer of plastic fruit on the East Coast!) and now mentor to his 21-year-old kid brother Buddy, played by Tony Bill in his feature debut. Buddy has just fled his suburban family home on the tree-lined streets of Queens and landed at his brother's super-cool New York City bachelor apartment, a lavish fantasy of wood paneling, wall-to-wall carpets, a fully-stocked bar, and a living room the size of a small ballroom: a playground that is clearly beyond his means. To call Come Blow Your Horn dated is an understatement. It's more like a cartoonish fantasy of the Mad Men sensibility of philandering men who treat the female sex as a buffet for their perusal. It was Neil Simon's first play, propped up by clichés and fantasies, and the screen adaptation by screenwriter Norman Lear and director Bud Yorkin simply ups the ante on the stereotypes. Lee J. Cobb bellows as the gruff father ("You're a bum!" he screams at his sons when discussion turns heated) and Molly Picon frets, complains, and fusses like the quintessential Jewish mother, the Yiddish theater legend essentially defining the stereotype. A parade of beautiful women pass through the doorway into their den, notably Jill St. John as a dim, shapely would-be actress that Alan passes on to Buddy, and Alan's cocktail sophistication gets a jolt of beatnik culture when Buddy brings a younger cliché into the mix. Meanwhile it's a coming of age for Alan as well: the lifelong playboy has to decide if he prefers his freedom to his feelings for Connie (Barbara Rush), who wants love and commitment. It plays out in the film with about as much depth as the description suggests, simultaneously offering life lessons and embracing the swinging bachelor fantasy. At age 48, Sinatra is a bit too old to realistically play affectionate big brother to the emancipated 21-year-old Buddy, but otherwise it's a natural part for Sinatra, who is all easy confidence and wolfish charm as he constantly plays hooky to pursue one of the many women he juggles in his busy nightlife. This role is virtually indistinguishable from his public persona, at least the way Sinatra plays him, all easy grins and snappy remarks and wandering hands over his dates, and he doesn't invest too much in characterization. Which is not a problem here, even at his laziest, because that devil-may-care simply attitude defines Alan, the big brother eager to take his little brother out of the straightjacket of suburban life and introduce him to the wonders of city life, cocktail culture, and women ripe for the plucking. Tony Bill, who looks like a preppy George Hamilton and sounds like the Ron Howard of the 1970s, follows in the good-looking, nice-boy footsteps of pre-Psycho Anthony Perkins. Part of the fun of the film is seeing this gee-whiz suburban kid, an adult working at the family business ("I just can't get excited about making plastic fruit," he complains) who has all the gravitas and maturity as a high-school senior, try his hand as an urban lothario. Like many a stage adaptation of the era, it rarely breaks free of the bachelor pad set--our only real glimpse of the New York City outside the apartment comes in a musical montage where Sinatra sings the title song while outfitting his baby brother in a new urban wardrobe--and the play of entrances and exits and untimely meetings of key characters drives the momentum of the story. What it has going for it is Neil Simon's playful way with comic dialogue, the absurdly lavish apartment set, and the chemistry of the cast. The DVD from Olive, released under its licensing partnership with Paramount, is 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with vivid color (and it is a colorful film, thanks to the interior design riot of the central apartment) and solid image. No supplements but the disc engineers did a nice job adapting the graphics of the opening credits to the disc's menu. For more information about Come Blow Your Horn, visit Olive Films. To order Come Blow Your Horn, go to TCM Shopping. by Sean Axmaker

Quotes

Trivia

As with most of his films, Frank Sinatra's character was rewritten slightly to best accommodate his talents.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1963

Released in United States on Video August 8, 1991

Released in United States 1998

Dean Martin has a guest appearance in the film.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1963

Released in United States on Video August 8, 1991

Released in United States 1998 (Shown in New York City (Walter Reade) as part of program "A Salute to Sinatra" August 21 - September 8, 1998.)