The Pleasure Seekers


1h 47m 1964
The Pleasure Seekers

Brief Synopsis

Three young women share a room in Madrid between romantic escapades.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Musical
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1964
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Dec 1964
Production Company
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Rome, Italy; Venice, Italy
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Coins in a Fountain by John H. Secondari (Philadelphia, 1952).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 47m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Three young American women come to Madrid in search of romance and adventure. Maggie Williams finds a job as a secretary with an American news agency and falls in love with bureau chief Paul Barton, who is married. When Barton eventually realizes that he loves his wife and family more than Maggie, Maggie turns to Pete Stenello, a handsome young reporter who has admired her since her arrival in Spain. Fran, an ambitious, passionate singer and dancer, has a weekend affair with Andrés Briones, a shy provincial doctor who tries not to become involved with Fran but falls in love in spite of himself. Meanwhile, Susie Higgins has an affair with wealthy playboy Emilio Lacaye, who proposes marriage merely to fulfill his romantic desires but later realizes that he loves Susie and makes good his promise. The affairs culminate at a party given by Paul Barton before he and his family return to the United States.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Musical
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1964
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Dec 1964
Production Company
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Rome, Italy; Venice, Italy
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Coins in a Fountain by John H. Secondari (Philadelphia, 1952).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 47m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Score

1964

Articles

The Pleasure Seekers


"They're out to make the most of Madrid... and those hot-blooded Spaniards are willing!"
Tagline for The Pleasure Seekers

Twentieth Century-Fox had scored a major hit in 1954 with Three Coins in the Fountain, showcasing their recent acquisition of CinemaScope with glorious vistas of Italy as background for a trio of interlocking love stories. They returned to the well in 1964, trading in Italy for Spain and adding four musical numbers for leading lady Ann-Margret. Even with the same director and cinematographer, Jean Negulesco and Daniel L. Fapp, the results weren't quite as spectacular. Within a decade CinemaScope had been upstaged by even more impressive wide-screen processes, nor did it help that the film was shot largely on interior sets. Nonetheless, as in the earlier picture, the picture provided an ample showcase for three charming leading ladies, with Ann-Margret, Carol Lynley and Pamela Tiffin taking over for Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters and Maggie McNamara. Throw in a stunning cameo by Gene Tierney in her final film and you have a must-see for true movie buffs.

Stories of three young women pursuing their fortunes, which usually meant finding suitable husbands, were a cinema staple dating back to the silent era with films like Sally, Irene and Mary (1925) and Our Dancing Daughters (1928). Twentieth Century-Fox had made its own contributions to the genre with Ladies in Love (1936) and How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) among others. The films served a variety of purposes. They teased audiences with the promise of titillation, though only delivering as much as the censors of the day would allow. They also combined several romantic dreams into a single film, playing on such tropes as the tough girl with a bruised heart, the young innocent adrift in the big city and the career woman finding love in spite of her other ambitions. In addition, the films provided showcases for rising talent, from Joan Crawford in the silent era to Loretta Young in the '30s to Marilyn Monroe in the '50s to Ann-Margret, Lynley and Tiffin in The Pleasure Seekers. John H. Secondari's novel Coins in the Fountain is credited as the film's source, however, all that screenwriter Edith Sommer retained was the idea of three American women sharing an apartment overseas while mixed up in romantic affairs. The love stories are decidedly different. Ann-Margret is an aspiring singer who becomes fascinated with a local doctor (Andre Lawrence) too proud to let her help with his clinic for the poor. Lynley is a secretary too involved with her boss (Brian Keith) at an international news agency to realize a handsome and single reporter (Gardner McKay) is in love with her. Young innocent Tiffin sets out to reform a womanizing playboy (Anthony Franciosa) who had previously broken Lynley's heart.

All this is an excuse for a tour of Spain, with locations shot in the Prado, where cameras dwell on masterpieces by El Greco and Velasquez, a hilltop restaurant in Toledo and the beach at Estepona. Making Ann-Margret a singer opens the doors to musical numbers, including a dance with flamenco legend Antonio Gades that leads into the title song by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen. In another highlight, Ann-Margret dances on the beach in a provocative bikini while singing "Everything Makes Music When You're in Love." The music brought the film its sole Oscar® nomination, for Best Adapted Score.

The shoot was far from a happy experience. Tiffin would later tell James Liparski that she found most of the cast standoffish. Her attempts to connect with Ann-Margret and Lynley were rebuffed, and though gossip at the time linked McKay with Ann-Margret, he didn't speak to anybody. Franciosa went further, displaying open hostility to Negulesco. When the director suggested he wear a different tie for one scene, the actor grabbed him by the neck. When he didn't like the way Negulesco was directing a scene in which he and Tiffin were in a car, he drove off, with Tiffin still seated beside him. "He drove for over two hours at breakneck speed out of Toledo, Spain," she said. "I thought he was going to kill us both!" (Tiffin, quoted in Liparski, Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema.)

For Ann-Margret, the film was part of her transition from the young innocents she had played in her film debut in Pocketful of Miracles (1961) and Bye Bye Birdie (1963) and the sex kitten image she would develop later. Even though she had performed some sizzling numbers in State Fair (1962) and Viva Las Vegas (1964), she felt part of the film's failure could be attributed to the departure from her earlier casting. "Nobody wanted to see me as a woman of the world," she would write in her memoirs. "They only wanted to see me as Kim from Bye Bye Birdie." (Ann-Margret, Ann Margret: My Story). Lynley was departing from type as well with her role here as a cynical loser in love. She, too, had made her mark playing young innocents, making her big-screen debut as a frontier girl in Walt Disney's The Light in the Forest (1958). Only Pamela Tiffin, who had debuted as a small-town innocent in Summer and Smoke (1961), was able to stay true to form. She had scored strongly as the innocent abroad in her second film, Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three (1961) and had a role very similar to her part in The Pleasure Seekers in another "young-girls-looking for love" film, Come Fly with Me (1963).

The big news in the cast, however, was Gene Tierney, returning to her original studio, 20th Century-Fox, for her final big-screen role, as Keith's bitter, neglected wife. Twenty years earlier, Tierney would have played the heartbroken secretary, but her time as a star had ended. After one final leading lady role opposite Humphrey Bogart in The Left Hand of God (1955), she had taken seven years off to deal with mental problems, particularly the chronic depression that afflicted her after her daughter was born deaf and mentally challenged because of exposure to German measles. Tierney made a comeback with a supporting role in Advise and Consent (1962), directed by Otto Preminger, the man behind one of her biggest hits, Laura (1944). Character turns in that film and Toys in the Attic (1963) brought her strong reviews, but after making The Pleasure Seekers she announced her retirement from the screen. She moved to Texas with her second husband, oil tycoon William Howard Lee, only returning for a few television appearances before her death in 1991.

Fox snuck The Pleasure Seekers into theatres when they had to pull their film John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! (1965) after a threatened lawsuit from Notre Dame claimed they had used the university's name without permission. Since the film had already been booked into theatres, they sent out The Pleasure Seekers in its place so close to the opening there was little time for publicity or proper advertising. In some areas, the ads for John Goldfarb were still running in newspapers when the other film opened. As a result, The Pleasure Seekers did not do a lot of business.

Director: Jean Negulesco
Producer: David Weisbart
Screenplay: Edith Sommer
Based on the novel Coins in the Fountain by John H. Secondari
Cinematography: Daniel L. Fapp
Score: Lionel Newman
Cast: Ann-Margret (Fran Hobson), Anthony Franciosa (Emilio Lacayo), Carol Lynley (Maggie Williams), Gardner McKay (Pete McCoy), Pamela Tiffin (Susie Higgins), Andre Lawrence (Dr. Andres Briones), Gene Tierney (Jane Barton), Vito Scotti (Neighborhood Man), Isobel Elsom (Dona Teresa Lacayo), Brian Keith (Paul Barton)

By Frank Miller
The Pleasure Seekers

The Pleasure Seekers

"They're out to make the most of Madrid... and those hot-blooded Spaniards are willing!" Tagline for The Pleasure Seekers Twentieth Century-Fox had scored a major hit in 1954 with Three Coins in the Fountain, showcasing their recent acquisition of CinemaScope with glorious vistas of Italy as background for a trio of interlocking love stories. They returned to the well in 1964, trading in Italy for Spain and adding four musical numbers for leading lady Ann-Margret. Even with the same director and cinematographer, Jean Negulesco and Daniel L. Fapp, the results weren't quite as spectacular. Within a decade CinemaScope had been upstaged by even more impressive wide-screen processes, nor did it help that the film was shot largely on interior sets. Nonetheless, as in the earlier picture, the picture provided an ample showcase for three charming leading ladies, with Ann-Margret, Carol Lynley and Pamela Tiffin taking over for Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters and Maggie McNamara. Throw in a stunning cameo by Gene Tierney in her final film and you have a must-see for true movie buffs. Stories of three young women pursuing their fortunes, which usually meant finding suitable husbands, were a cinema staple dating back to the silent era with films like Sally, Irene and Mary (1925) and Our Dancing Daughters (1928). Twentieth Century-Fox had made its own contributions to the genre with Ladies in Love (1936) and How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) among others. The films served a variety of purposes. They teased audiences with the promise of titillation, though only delivering as much as the censors of the day would allow. They also combined several romantic dreams into a single film, playing on such tropes as the tough girl with a bruised heart, the young innocent adrift in the big city and the career woman finding love in spite of her other ambitions. In addition, the films provided showcases for rising talent, from Joan Crawford in the silent era to Loretta Young in the '30s to Marilyn Monroe in the '50s to Ann-Margret, Lynley and Tiffin in The Pleasure Seekers. John H. Secondari's novel Coins in the Fountain is credited as the film's source, however, all that screenwriter Edith Sommer retained was the idea of three American women sharing an apartment overseas while mixed up in romantic affairs. The love stories are decidedly different. Ann-Margret is an aspiring singer who becomes fascinated with a local doctor (Andre Lawrence) too proud to let her help with his clinic for the poor. Lynley is a secretary too involved with her boss (Brian Keith) at an international news agency to realize a handsome and single reporter (Gardner McKay) is in love with her. Young innocent Tiffin sets out to reform a womanizing playboy (Anthony Franciosa) who had previously broken Lynley's heart. All this is an excuse for a tour of Spain, with locations shot in the Prado, where cameras dwell on masterpieces by El Greco and Velasquez, a hilltop restaurant in Toledo and the beach at Estepona. Making Ann-Margret a singer opens the doors to musical numbers, including a dance with flamenco legend Antonio Gades that leads into the title song by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen. In another highlight, Ann-Margret dances on the beach in a provocative bikini while singing "Everything Makes Music When You're in Love." The music brought the film its sole Oscar® nomination, for Best Adapted Score. The shoot was far from a happy experience. Tiffin would later tell James Liparski that she found most of the cast standoffish. Her attempts to connect with Ann-Margret and Lynley were rebuffed, and though gossip at the time linked McKay with Ann-Margret, he didn't speak to anybody. Franciosa went further, displaying open hostility to Negulesco. When the director suggested he wear a different tie for one scene, the actor grabbed him by the neck. When he didn't like the way Negulesco was directing a scene in which he and Tiffin were in a car, he drove off, with Tiffin still seated beside him. "He drove for over two hours at breakneck speed out of Toledo, Spain," she said. "I thought he was going to kill us both!" (Tiffin, quoted in Liparski, Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema.) For Ann-Margret, the film was part of her transition from the young innocents she had played in her film debut in Pocketful of Miracles (1961) and Bye Bye Birdie (1963) and the sex kitten image she would develop later. Even though she had performed some sizzling numbers in State Fair (1962) and Viva Las Vegas (1964), she felt part of the film's failure could be attributed to the departure from her earlier casting. "Nobody wanted to see me as a woman of the world," she would write in her memoirs. "They only wanted to see me as Kim from Bye Bye Birdie." (Ann-Margret, Ann Margret: My Story). Lynley was departing from type as well with her role here as a cynical loser in love. She, too, had made her mark playing young innocents, making her big-screen debut as a frontier girl in Walt Disney's The Light in the Forest (1958). Only Pamela Tiffin, who had debuted as a small-town innocent in Summer and Smoke (1961), was able to stay true to form. She had scored strongly as the innocent abroad in her second film, Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three (1961) and had a role very similar to her part in The Pleasure Seekers in another "young-girls-looking for love" film, Come Fly with Me (1963). The big news in the cast, however, was Gene Tierney, returning to her original studio, 20th Century-Fox, for her final big-screen role, as Keith's bitter, neglected wife. Twenty years earlier, Tierney would have played the heartbroken secretary, but her time as a star had ended. After one final leading lady role opposite Humphrey Bogart in The Left Hand of God (1955), she had taken seven years off to deal with mental problems, particularly the chronic depression that afflicted her after her daughter was born deaf and mentally challenged because of exposure to German measles. Tierney made a comeback with a supporting role in Advise and Consent (1962), directed by Otto Preminger, the man behind one of her biggest hits, Laura (1944). Character turns in that film and Toys in the Attic (1963) brought her strong reviews, but after making The Pleasure Seekers she announced her retirement from the screen. She moved to Texas with her second husband, oil tycoon William Howard Lee, only returning for a few television appearances before her death in 1991. Fox snuck The Pleasure Seekers into theatres when they had to pull their film John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! (1965) after a threatened lawsuit from Notre Dame claimed they had used the university's name without permission. Since the film had already been booked into theatres, they sent out The Pleasure Seekers in its place so close to the opening there was little time for publicity or proper advertising. In some areas, the ads for John Goldfarb were still running in newspapers when the other film opened. As a result, The Pleasure Seekers did not do a lot of business. Director: Jean Negulesco Producer: David Weisbart Screenplay: Edith Sommer Based on the novel Coins in the Fountain by John H. Secondari Cinematography: Daniel L. Fapp Score: Lionel Newman Cast: Ann-Margret (Fran Hobson), Anthony Franciosa (Emilio Lacayo), Carol Lynley (Maggie Williams), Gardner McKay (Pete McCoy), Pamela Tiffin (Susie Higgins), Andre Lawrence (Dr. Andres Briones), Gene Tierney (Jane Barton), Vito Scotti (Neighborhood Man), Isobel Elsom (Dona Teresa Lacayo), Brian Keith (Paul Barton) By Frank Miller

Quotes

Susie, you're so dumb!
- Maggie Williams
I know I'm dumb! But it's all I have to work with.
- Susie Higgins

Trivia

Notes

Filmed in Madrid and Toledo, Spain, with scenes shot inside the Prado museum in Madrid. Previously filmed in 1954 as Three Coins in the Fountain.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1964

Remake of "Three Coins in the Fountain" (1954) directed by Jean Negulesco.

First Cinemascope production to be shot on location.

CinemaScope

Released in United States 1964