Cast & Crew
In Pasadena, California, stockbroker William Alren, discontent and inept at his job, bides the time by ogling a woman in a very short skirt and telephones his wife Lisa, who is indifferent to his lack of attention to her. After assuring William that his brokering techniques will improve with time, a gregarious and successful older colleague, Mr. Franklin, drops dead on the job. Driving home and yearning for escape, Bill sees billboards advertising exotic vacations and when an X-rated movie theater catches his attention, he impulsively goes inside. Although he fears someone might have seen him enter, William finds the movie pleasurable, as he enjoys watching other people voyeuristically. At home with the listless Lisa, William suggests they need a vacation and the couple engages in routine love-making. Later, they rent a beach cottage in a small coastal town a few hours away from home, but find no reprieve from the boredom of their marriage. One evening, while Lisa reads, Bill sneaks out the bathroom window with his binoculars and spies on bikini-clad young women partying around a campfire on the beach. The next day, Lisa announces that she is leaving him and admits that she is aware of his previous evening's activity. She orders a taxi to take her to her sister Nan's house in Pasadena, but Bill, hoping to talk her out of leaving him, tricks her into going to San Juan Capistrano. Once there, however, she says she does not respect him and feels too numb to talk about the dissatisfaction she has felt for over a year, and Bill sadly arranges for another cab. Later that day, Nan visits Bill at the beach house and says that Lisa knows about other times he has spied on people. Admitting to his "lascivious urges," Bill says he looks when opportunities present themselves. Although Nan tries subtly to seduce him, she returns home disappointed. While staying with Nan and her henpecked husband Chester, Lisa misses Bill, but Nan, who is dissatisfied with her own marriage, discourages her from admitting it. When Lisa decides to return to the beach house for her clothes, Nan insists on accompanying her. There, she changes into a bikini and flaunts herself before Bill, hoping for a reaction. While Nan is swimming, Bill tries to talk to Lisa as she packs. He tells her about a manual he bought that explains sexual positions used in different countries and that he has learned that one should not be ashamed of one's urges. Lisa complains she feels powerless and mentions a psychiatrist Nan knows who specializes in marital problems. By calling out that there is a tear in her swimsuit, Nan tricks Bill into looking at her momentarily and uses his lapse to convince Lisa to leave with her. After Bill is alone, a rainstorm deepens his depression and he goes out for a walk. Just as the rain starts to let up, Bill spots a scantily clad blonde running barefoot and realizes she is signaling him to enter her apartment. Inside, she says nothing, but offers him sex. Afterward, she gets up abruptly and drinks milk. When she barely responds to his embarrassed small talk, he feels uncomfortable and leaves. Outside, he is aghast at what he has done and returns to Pasadena to see Lisa, but Nan refuses to allow him inside, making him wait until Chester returns from work. After Chester lets him in, Bill goes to Lisa's room and offers to see the psychiatrist with her. He proclaims his love and says he wants to diminish the gulf between them. Interrupting, Nan enters and says that she has called Dr. Sadler, the psychiatrist, who will soon be arriving. Again Bill tries to talk to Lisa, saying that each of them has a fantasy about a better life and that his is a secret wish to homestead in Alaska and live with native women, but he knows it is not real. Lisa confides that four modeling schools have accepted her into their programs, but when Bill suggests that he could get a job in New York to accommodate her dreams, Nan again interrupts to say that Sadler has arrived. Surprised to learn that their counseling session will include his in-laws, Bill asks Sadler what he can expect from her expensive house call. After hearing that he might gain insight into his problems, Bill agrees to proceed. Sadler, who shows obvious bias against men, asks Chester about his day, and Bill, threatened by the thought of what he did earlier, becomes uncooperative. When Sadler persists, Bill accuses them of plotting against him and begs Lisa not to be a part of it. Then Bill apologizes and Sadler condescendingly mentions that Chester behaved the same way at first. Realizing that Sadler treated the meek Chester, Bill accuses the doctor of hypocrisy, pays her and sends her away, after which Nan convinces Lisa to retreat from him. Taking refuge in a martini, Chester sympathetically tells Bill that things could always be worse. After driving away alone, Bill sees a billboard for Mexico, beckoning an escape. Later, he returns to Chester and Nan's to find only the housekeeper and his observant young nephew Mark present. Mark informs him that Lisa and his parents are at the country club playing tennis. Bill follows them to the country club, where he finds Chester, who is friendly, but uncomfortable at having to introduce him to Charlie McGuire, a tennis player with whom Nan is trying to arrange a date for Lisa. When Bill mentions he has quit his job, Chester pulls him aside and asks him not to make a scene, as the committee has yet to vote them to full membership. Feeling sorry for Chester, who has completely submitted to Nan's domination, Bill tacitly agrees. Bill sneaks into the women's locker room where Lisa is showering and overhears Nan belittling him. As she babbles on about how good men never stay once you have them trained, Bill opens Lisa's shower door and motions for her to follow him into the towel closet, where they can talk. Inside, Lisa tells Bill that for over a year she has wavered between wanting to be a model and wanting a baby. When she questions what kind of marriage they have, if she wants to be on the cover of Vogue magazine and he wants to have a sex orgy with Eskimos, he suggests it is probably a normal one. Bill confesses that he slept with someone and, when she asks him to leave, he shows her a certificate documenting the divorce he obtained in Mexico. Giving her credit for forcing him to right the wrongs in their relationship, Bill admits they probably did not have a true marriage, but they are now free to try anything they wish. Although they cannot articulate what will make them happy, Lisa suggests that knowing what one does not want is where power begins. They make exuberant love as Nan, who is still showering and unaware that Bill is in the locker room, suggests a divorce lawyer. Wrapped in a towel, Lisa slips out with Bill to the parking lot, where Nan confronts them, demanding an explanation. Lisa announces that she is going with Bill, although they have not decided where. Wanting to stop them, Nan snaps at Chester to take the initiative. Responding to her demand, Chester pushes Nan to the ground and wishes Lisa and Bill luck. As they drive away, Bill gazes at a woman's barely clad bottom and Lisa laughs.
Johnny Scott Lee
Audrey A. Blasdel
Walter M. Scott
Lorenzo Semple Jr.
The song "Can It Be True" is heard intermittently throughout the film. Voice-over narration by Richard Benjamin as "William Alren" is heard as interior monologues during the movie house sequence and the after-sex sequence with the "Girl in the rain." Fredric Steinkamp's onscreen credit reads: "film editor and associate producer." The Los Angeles Times review reported erroneously that the R-rated film had received a GP rating. According to the Hollywood Reporter review, the studio synopsis of the film sent out prior to its preview included some scenes that were deleted from the final print.
As noted in Filmfacts, portions of the film were shot at various location in California. An undated Hollywood Reporter news item found in the file for the film at AMPAS Library specified the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles as a location site. Production studio notes reported that the brokerage firm sequences were filmed in a recently vacated Francis I. duPont & Co. branch office in Beverly Hills, and that the interiors scenes within the beach house were shot in an actual beach house at Shaw's Cove in Laguna Beach, California, using much of the house's real furniture. Modern sources add Barbara Morrison to the cast.
The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker marked producer Lawrence Turman's directorial debut. Among the films he had produced in his ten-year career was the highly successful 1967 film, The Graduate, to which many reviews of The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker referred. The Los Angeles Times review suggested that William Alren was "the graduate six years later."
Released in United States Summer August 1971
Released in United States Summer August 1971