How Sweet It Is!


1h 39m 1968
How Sweet It Is!

Brief Synopsis

A married couple's working vacation in Paris turns into a battle to stay faithful.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
Miami Beach, Florida, opening: 9 Jul 1968
Production Company
Cherokee Productions; National General Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
National General Pictures Corporation
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Girl in the Turquoise Bikini by Muriel Resnik (New York, 1961).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Jenny Henderson discovers that Davey, her son, has arranged to accompany Bootsie, his girl friend, on a European tour, and arranges to have Grif, her photographer husband, assigned to cover the tour for a magazine. Deciding that she too wants to spend the summer in Europe, Jenny makes a down payment on a Riviera villa being rented by real estate man Gilbert Tilly. Once in Europe, Grif and David set off on the photography assignment while Jenny proceeds to her villa. Upon arrival, she learns that she has been swindled: the villa's owner, wealthy playboy Philippe Maspere, is in residence. Delighted with his unexpected guest, Philippe persuades Jenny to stay on and presents her with a turquoise bikini. When Jenny visits Grif in San Remo, she is disturbed by his attentiveness to an attractive guide, Nancy Leigh, and is further irritated by his indifference toward her sharing the villa with a man. Feeling unloved and middle-aged, Jenny returns to Philippe, but any possible romance is curtailed when Grif arrives in the tour bus, catches sight of Jenny cavorting in her bikini, and belts Philippe. Later, while driving back to San Remo, Jenny and Grif are arrested for stealing the bus and are thrown into jail. Miss Leigh quickly bails out Grif, but Jenny is left in a cell with some prostitutes. When the bordello owner, Mr. Agatzi, comes to retrieve his girls, Jenny is included in the lot and taken to his brothel. Eventually, Grif and David arrive, and a fight ensues; but Jennie and Grif are reconciled.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
Miami Beach, Florida, opening: 9 Jul 1968
Production Company
Cherokee Productions; National General Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
National General Pictures Corporation
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Girl in the Turquoise Bikini by Muriel Resnik (New York, 1961).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

How Sweet It Is


"How far some people will go, go, go to discover how sweet, sweet, sweet it is!" was the tagline for How Sweet It Is! (1968), a comedy about a middle-aged couple (James Garner and Debbie Reynolds) who accompany their teenaged hippie son (Donald Losby) to Europe, where his girlfriend is spending the summer. There they encounter a series of mishaps and misunderstandings that involve a sexy playboy, a turquoise bikini, a stint in jail surrounded by prostitutes, and a brawl. Also in the cast were Paul Lynde, Terry-Thomas, Maurice Ronet, Vito Scotti, Marcel Dalio, and bit parts by two women who would be at the top of 1970s television: Laverne and Shirley star Penny Marshall and Happy Days lead Erin Moran as a little girl.

Directed by actor/director Jerry Paris, How Sweet It Is! was written by Garry Marshall (brother of Penny) and Jerry Belson, based on Muriel Resnik's novel The Girl in the Turquoise Bikini. Another Marshall family member played an important part in getting the film made - daughter Lori had been conceived and her impending arrival gave Marshall the impetus to get back to work after a hiatus. He and Belson, who had worked together in television with Jerry Paris, decided to get into films. How Sweet It Is! was financed by a new production company called National General, who had hired Marshall and Belson to produce the film and to write the script for Debbie Reynolds. Even though they had no producing experience, Marshall's agent Joel Cohen encouraged them to take the job. As Marshall later wrote, "If we could produce a television series, we thought we could produce a movie, too. How different could they be?" There were a lot of differences. As a television writer, Marshall was making $3,500 for a script. He would receive $75,000 for How Sweet It Is!, but instead of being responsible to producers, he and Belson were the producers. Their lives changed as well. Television writing was mostly a day job, with evening hours only dedicated to nights when the TV shows were shot. Now, Marshall and Belson found themselves working at all hours. Despite that, Marshall wrote that "Jerry and I liked the experience on How Sweet It Is! even though the picture wasn't a hit."

Part of the film's failure, according to Marshall, was bad timing. It had been put together years before as a vehicle for Doris Day, but she had dropped out long ago. Marshall felt that the film would have been a big success in the 1950s, "but it came out in 1968. [...] Timing is crucial. Even good writing can't save a movie that's released at the wrong time." Another issue was the title itself. Jackie Gleason had made a catchphrase of "How sweet it is!" and Marshall theorized that audiences went home when they realized that Gleason wasn't in the film.

In his autobiography, James Garner only said of How Sweet It Is!, "Loved Debbie Reynolds. Loved Paul Lynde. Loved Terry-Thomas. Hated the movie." The critics didn't go that far, but they weren't very impressed. Roger Ebert, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that while Reynolds was a talented comedienne, the film was too much like a sitcom. Ebert was a young man when How Sweet It Is! was released and he was bothered by the portrayal of the son Davey, who is "supposed to be a hippie or something [...] Hollywood has yet to put a convincing hippie on the screen: They're always too clean or too dirty, depending on whether they're supposed to be good or bad characters, and in either case they're always too square. Not too square to be hippies -- too square to be human beings in their late teens. Pick me your average Chicago high school senior and I'll show you a teenager who wouldn't be caught dead acting and talking like the kid in How Sweet It Is!"

SOURCES:

Ebert, Roger "How Sweet it Is" The Chicago Sun-Times 20 Aug 68
The Internet Movie Database
Marshall, Garry My Happy Days in Hollywood: A Memoir
Marshall, Garry and Marshall, Lori Wake Me When It's Funny: How to Break Into Show Business and Stay There
How Sweet It Is

How Sweet It Is

"How far some people will go, go, go to discover how sweet, sweet, sweet it is!" was the tagline for How Sweet It Is! (1968), a comedy about a middle-aged couple (James Garner and Debbie Reynolds) who accompany their teenaged hippie son (Donald Losby) to Europe, where his girlfriend is spending the summer. There they encounter a series of mishaps and misunderstandings that involve a sexy playboy, a turquoise bikini, a stint in jail surrounded by prostitutes, and a brawl. Also in the cast were Paul Lynde, Terry-Thomas, Maurice Ronet, Vito Scotti, Marcel Dalio, and bit parts by two women who would be at the top of 1970s television: Laverne and Shirley star Penny Marshall and Happy Days lead Erin Moran as a little girl. Directed by actor/director Jerry Paris, How Sweet It Is! was written by Garry Marshall (brother of Penny) and Jerry Belson, based on Muriel Resnik's novel The Girl in the Turquoise Bikini. Another Marshall family member played an important part in getting the film made - daughter Lori had been conceived and her impending arrival gave Marshall the impetus to get back to work after a hiatus. He and Belson, who had worked together in television with Jerry Paris, decided to get into films. How Sweet It Is! was financed by a new production company called National General, who had hired Marshall and Belson to produce the film and to write the script for Debbie Reynolds. Even though they had no producing experience, Marshall's agent Joel Cohen encouraged them to take the job. As Marshall later wrote, "If we could produce a television series, we thought we could produce a movie, too. How different could they be?" There were a lot of differences. As a television writer, Marshall was making $3,500 for a script. He would receive $75,000 for How Sweet It Is!, but instead of being responsible to producers, he and Belson were the producers. Their lives changed as well. Television writing was mostly a day job, with evening hours only dedicated to nights when the TV shows were shot. Now, Marshall and Belson found themselves working at all hours. Despite that, Marshall wrote that "Jerry and I liked the experience on How Sweet It Is! even though the picture wasn't a hit." Part of the film's failure, according to Marshall, was bad timing. It had been put together years before as a vehicle for Doris Day, but she had dropped out long ago. Marshall felt that the film would have been a big success in the 1950s, "but it came out in 1968. [...] Timing is crucial. Even good writing can't save a movie that's released at the wrong time." Another issue was the title itself. Jackie Gleason had made a catchphrase of "How sweet it is!" and Marshall theorized that audiences went home when they realized that Gleason wasn't in the film. In his autobiography, James Garner only said of How Sweet It Is!, "Loved Debbie Reynolds. Loved Paul Lynde. Loved Terry-Thomas. Hated the movie." The critics didn't go that far, but they weren't very impressed. Roger Ebert, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that while Reynolds was a talented comedienne, the film was too much like a sitcom. Ebert was a young man when How Sweet It Is! was released and he was bothered by the portrayal of the son Davey, who is "supposed to be a hippie or something [...] Hollywood has yet to put a convincing hippie on the screen: They're always too clean or too dirty, depending on whether they're supposed to be good or bad characters, and in either case they're always too square. Not too square to be hippies -- too square to be human beings in their late teens. Pick me your average Chicago high school senior and I'll show you a teenager who wouldn't be caught dead acting and talking like the kid in How Sweet It Is!" SOURCES: Ebert, Roger "How Sweet it Is" The Chicago Sun-Times 20 Aug 68 The Internet Movie Database Marshall, Garry My Happy Days in Hollywood: A Memoir Marshall, Garry and Marshall, Lori Wake Me When It's Funny: How to Break Into Show Business and Stay There

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed in southern California and Acapulco.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video December 14, 1988

Released in United States Summer July 1968

Released in United States Summer July 1968

Released in United States on Video December 14, 1988