The Private Lives of Adam & Eve
Cast & Crew
Mamie Van Doren
On the road to Reno, Nevada, Doc Bayles drives a bus transporting passengers Hal Sanders, a lecherous salesman, and runaway teenager Vangie Harper. When the bus stops in the small town of Paradise, Evie Simms, a lunchroom attendant, boards in order to obtain a Reno divorce from her mechanic husband Ad, whom she recently caught kissing neighbor Lil Lewis. Following Evie is Lil and her husband Nick, a casino owner and Evie's new paramour. Finally, beatnik Pinkie Parker, whose jalopy has just broken down, hops on the bus, where he is immediately smitten with Vangie. Before driving off, Doc counsels Ad to join the group in order to convince Evie to return to him. Ad is prevented from boarding, however, by a phone call warning him that flash floods are imminent and the roads have been closed. While Ad is on the phone, Nick persuades Doc to leave without him, and as a result Ad is forced to drive Pinkie's abandoned jalopy in pursuit of the bus. When Doc spots Ad behind them, he pulls over, unintentionally allowing Nick to take over at the wheel and speed off. Ad chases the bus over treacherous, winding streets until Nick knocks the jalopy over a cliff. Chastened, Nick stops, and Evie is relieved to see Ad emerge over the hill, unhurt. Upon learning about the flood, Doc insists they turn back to Paradise, but they are too late to avoid the deluge. After the bus is almost washed off the road, the frightened group seeks shelter in an empty church. Inside, Doc urges them to trust in God, although Nick declares they will soon die. As water floods in under the door, Ad holds Evie and convinces her to sleep. They share a dream about the beginning of life: While Adam awakens in the Garden of Eden and begins naming animals, the Devil sends one of his female companions, Lilith, to tempt Adam into betraying God. God, however, foils the Devil by reminding Adam not to eat an apple from the tree of life, and sending Eve to keep him company. Although Eve is as sweet and innocent as Adam, she quickly grows resentful of his work and jealous of Lilith. Eve, who wishes God would speak directly to her, is easily enticed by the Devil, disguised as a serpent. The snake urges Eve to eat an apple, and after she does, Adam follows suit, hoping to protect her from God's wrath. God spares their lives, but casts them out of Eden. While seeking shelter in a cave, Adam and Eve have their first fight, after which Eve forces Adam to move rocks around the cave, pursuing the perfect "furniture" arrangement. Although Eve is being unreasonable, Adam accepts blame for their fight in order to seduce her. In the morning, the Devil visits Eve and convinces her that Adam has failed to provide her with the right clothes and social activities. He entices her with a ridiculous hat made of fruit, which befuddles Adam, who nonetheless compliments it. Later, Lilith leads Adam to her hut, while the Devil urges Eve to cut her long hair. Lilith introduces Adam to the concept of a bed and gets him drunk on wine. At home, an annoyed Eve forces Adam to swear off liquor and women, but he returns to Lilith's the following day. As planned, Lilith kisses Adam just as the Devil leads Eve to the hut, and in a jealous rage, Eve pelts them with fruit. The Devil exults as Eve runs off, with Adam close behind. As a storm rages, Eve begs forgiveness from God, pleading with Him to speak to her. In response, God indicates to Eve that she is pregnant, and when Adam finds her, they embrace. Back in the church, as Ad and Evie awaken and realize they have shared the same dream, the group discovers that the rain has ceased. They leave the church in couples, Lil with Hal, Pinkie with Vangie and Ad with Evie, who expresses a sudden craving for dill pickles. As Nick looks back at the church, he finally understands that "the odds were with the house."
Mamie Van Doren
Russell A. Gausman
Richard H. Riedel
Russell F. Schoengarth
Waldon O. Watson
Preceding the opening credits, a lengthy written prologue explains that the ensuing story is a dream meant to glorify God. The opening credits include the statement, "filmed in glorious Spectacolor by Pathé." While the portions of the film that take place in the present were shot in black-and-white, the fantasy sequences were shot in color. According to an March 11, 1960 Daily Variety article, Fryman Enterprises, co-owned by star and co-director Mickey Rooney and producer Red Doff, owned twenty percent of the picture, while the remainder of the film was owned by Universal and co-director Albert Zugsmith's company, Famous Players Corp.
According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, several films based on the Adam and Eve story had previously been attempted, most notably by Alden Nash in 1950, Leo McCarey in 1954 and Herbert Kline in 1955, but all were rejected by the PCA because of the necessity of nudity to the story. An June 11, 1957 memo to Zugsmith from Geoffrey Shurlock warned that the subject would be almost impossible to tackle under Code restrictions, but later states that writer George Beck agreed that Adam and Eve could wear leaves even during the pre-fall sequence. Beck also agreed to allow Adam "infused knowledge" of God, to detract from his portrayal as "a naïve sort of boob." On January 26, 1959, after the PCA deemed Fay Spain's bikini costume unacceptable, makeup designer Bud Westmore created a cover-up for her navel.
The PCA awarded The Private Lives of Adam and Eve a seal of approval in August 1959, and Universal planned to hold the film's premiere on February 24, 1960 in New Orleans. On March 1, 1960, however, as reported in a Daily Variety article the following day, the National Catholic Legion of Decency gave the film a "C," or condemned, rating, the first of its kind in three years. The article stated that the Legion, headed by Monsignor Little, called the film "blasphemous and sacrilegious in its presentation of man's sex life as the invention of the devil, rather than the handiwork of God...the filmmaker resorts to indecencies and pornography." The Legion also objected to certain shots of Mamie Van Doren that gave a strong appearance of nudity. According to a March 9, 1960 Daily Variety article, co-director Zugsmith responded by recalling 150 prints of the film from distributors in order to cut the offending scenes.
On March 11, 1960, Daily Variety announced a feud between Zugsmith and Doff during which each man blamed the other for the sequences that the Legion found objectionable. As reported in the article, Doff stated that "Zugsmith failed to tell the truth," while Zugsmith responded that "Red Doff is a liar...He ought to see a psychiatrist." Variety then declared on April 26, 1960 that the film would return to production the following week in order to shoot new footage that would more clearly establish the story as a fantasy dream sequence. That footage consisted of the prologue. According to a April 22, 1960 memo in the PCA files, Little also requested that several shots of "Ad" and "Evie" dreaming be inserted into the "Garden of Eden" sequence, to ensure that the fantasy nature of the sequence remained clear. The Legion gave the film a "B" rating on 24 May 1960.
According to a June 9, 1959 "Rambling Reporter" item in Hollywood Reporter, Universal originally borrowed Brad Dillman from Twentieth Century-Fox to play "Adam." On June 26, 1959, Hollywood Reporter noted that Brigitte Bardot's younger sister Mijanou was to make her American film debut in The Private Lives of Adam & Eve, but a 27 July news item stated that Mijanou considered both the "role and costumes too small." Although a July 9, 1959 "Rambling Reporter" item asserted that the film would feature 11 songs, including one titled "Pink Lemonade," only the title song was included in the released film. Upon its release in 1961, the Variety reviewer called the revised film "less morally objectionable than artistically chaotic."
Released in United States Winter December 1960
Released in United States Winter December 1960