That Kind of Woman
Cast & Crew
In June 1944, Katherine, the young mistress of A. L., a powerful older man, is accompanied to the Miami train station by her friend Jane. They are met by Harry Corwin, the right-hand man of Kay's lover, who is usually called "The Man" by the trio. The Man has summoned Kay to New York City and, despite wartime restrictions on travel, Harry has obtained a train berth for them. Kay and Harry wrangle continuously, as Harry despises her for her position in life, while Kay is disgusted by Harry's cynicism. Kay often urges the soft-hearted Jane to "look out" for herself by finding a wealthy man rather than falling in love with young, poor men, but Jane laments that she will never find anyone as perfect as The Man. Irritated by Harry, Kay and Jane go to the diner car, where the numerous military men on leave are excited by the beautiful women. Especially taken with them are the naïve Red and his older, gregarious buddy, George Kelly, both of whom are paratroopers on leave. Red is on his way to visit his family in Vermont via New York, while Kelly, who has no family, intends to gamble in Atlantic City. Despite her remarks about Red's youth, Kay reciprocates his attraction and enjoys talking with him, while Jane dances with Kelly. Although Kay confesses to Red that she is a kept woman, he is nonjudgmental and, unable to fight her feelings, Kay spends the night with him. In the morning, however, Kay blithely wishes Red well and brushes off his attempts to prolong their relationship. Harry, Kay and Jane then go to The Man's luxurious townhouse, and Kay makes plans to dine with him that evening. Soon after, as Jane and Kay are dressing, Kay is stunned by the arrival of Red and Kelly. The young soldier reveals that Jane gave her address to Kelly, then verbally spars with Kay about her way of life. Kay insists that relying on feelings is immature and that as a child of poverty, she has learned to be practical, even if it has made her appear hard-hearted. Red insists that he is in love with her, but their quarrel is interrupted by the appearance of Harry. Believing that Kay reciprocates his feelings, Red leaves without a fight, after which Jane and Kay join The Man and his guest, an important general with whom The Man is doing business, at an expensive restaurant. Jane, who has once again divulged their destination to the soldiers, is only mildly surprised when they arrive, but Kay is nonplussed. Kay attempts to downplay Red's attraction to her, but the worldly Man deduces that their relationship is much deeper than Kay admits. Red confronts Kay and ends up punching the interfering Harry before storming off. Kay then insists on leaving the restaurant alone, although The Man cautions her not to act impulsively. When Kay reaches the townhouse, Red is waiting for her and she responds to his declaration of love with a fervent embrace. The next morning, as Kay prepares to spend the day with Red, Jane upbraids her, but Kay declares that she should be able to have one day just for herself, especially as Red is leaving that evening. Jane and Kelly join Red and Kay on their sightseeing trip, and the couples have a wonderful day. As Red and Kay relax in Central Park, Red reveals that he has bought her a train ticket to accompany him to Vermont, but Kay announces that she will not join him. Soon after, Kay takes Red to an Italian restaurant where she reveals that after she immigrated to the United States from Italy, she learned that she was good for only one thing, pleasing men, and has been capitalizing on her feminine powers ever since. Kay insists that she is not strong enough to live on love and faith alone, without wealth, but Red demurs, stating that she is stronger than she realizes. Red also proclaims that he will return from the war and that even though all he has to give her is himself, she will have all of him, unlike The Man, who travels constantly and is emotionally distant. Kay leaves anyway, returning to the townhouse where she confesses to The Man that Red wants her to meet his family. The Man replies by asking her to marry him in Washington, D.C. the following day, and the stunned Kay does not know how to answer. She comes across Kelly and Jane kissing in the hallway, and Jane reveals that she is leaving soon for D.C. also, as the general, who is married, has offered to keep her in an apartment there. Kay is dismayed by Kelly's blasé reaction to Jane's news and berates him for not wanting Jane to spend the rest of his leave with him. Kelly is reluctant to ask Jane to give up a "good deal" in exchange for only a few days of companionship, although he finally breaks down and asks her. Jane refuses and after Kelly leaves, lashes out at Kay for interfering, telling her that she is "mean" to make Jane consider her emotions now when Kay had previously told her to forge a better life any way she could. Kay attempts to apologize, stating that she wanted Jane to have happiness rather than just comfort. At the train station, Red despairs that Kay is not going to come, while Kelly is philosophical. Jane finishes packing and tells Kay that because men think of her only as a good time, she has to take what she can get. After Jane leaves, Harry turns on the radio and Kay is upset to learn that a troop of Allied paratroopers was killed at Normandy, to where Red and Kelly will undoubtedly be sent soon. Kay then calls Grand Central Station to determine if Red's train will stop at the station near her, and the eavesdropping Harry tells her that she is "making a sucker play" by leaving The Man for an uncertain future with a penniless youth. When The Man joins them, Kay protests that at least she will have three days with Red at his family's home before he ships out. Kay then returns the jewelry she is wearing to The Man and, before catching a cab to the station, apologizes for hurting him. Terrified that she will miss the train, Kay sobs but arrives at the station just in time. Still crying, Kay joins Red in his compartment, and the thrilled soldier comforts her with an embrace.
Robert P. Lieb
Andrew S. Sabilia
Jay Roy Lucker
Lewis E. Ciannelli
James Di Gangi
C. O. Erickson
That Kind of Woman
After a string of Italian successes, Loren had signed an agreement with Paramount to produce U.S. films, but by they time they started working on That Kind of Woman, her Hollywood career had stubbornly refused to take off. After adventure films, a western and a misguided adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms (1958), she and husband Ponti turned to an award-winning short story by Robert Lowry. "Layover in El Paso" dealt with the doomed romance of a flighty divorcee and a GI on leave during World War II. Hoping to improve Loren's standing as a dramatic actress, Ponti asked Sidney Lumet, who had broken into films from Broadway and television work with the acclaimed Twelve Angry Men (1957), to take on the project. He agreed on condition that the story be re-set in New York City and that he be allowed to use Boris Kaufman (Oscar® for 1954's On the Waterfront) as cinematographer. The Pontis had already tired of Hollywood filmmaking and, with their background in Italian Neorealism, were intrigued by the prospect of shooting almost entirely on location.
Lumet suggested Walter Bernstein to adapt the story but warned Ponti that the writer had been blacklisted. Ponti's only response was "who has to be fixed and how much will it cost." When Lumet explained that all it took was courage, the producer readily agreed. Bernstein's screenplay not only moved the story to New York, but turned the divorcee into a kept woman working to help a powerful munitions manufacturer identified only as "The Man" to attract clients. Some critics have even suggested the film was an unofficial remake of The Shopworn Angel (1928 and 1938), about a kept woman's flirtation with a soldier during World War I. Bernstein also had the GI Loren meets on a train from Miami spend his entire leave tracking her down in a variety of New York locations. Thrilled with the chance to present his wife as a glamorous object of desire, Ponti hired Bernstein to write two more films for Loren, Heller in Pink Tights and A Breath of Scandal (both 1960), ending his days on the blacklist.
Early on, Earl Holliman and Don Murray were announced as potential leading men. Instead, Paramount suggested borrowing teen heartthrob Tab Hunter from Warner Bros. in hopes of bringing Loren a younger audience than she had enjoyed previously. Lumet, who had seen Hunter's more dramatic work on television, was fine with the choice. In his memoirs, Hunter even says that Lumet asked for him. Concerned that Loren's powerful presence would blow him off the screen, as she had done to his lover Anthony Perkins in Desire Under the Elms, the actor went out of his way to befriend her. During breaks in location shooting, they sat in her air-conditioned limousine singing along with the latest pop hits on the radio.
For the part of Loren's traveling companion and co-worker in attracting clients, Paramount had wanted Shirley MacLaine, but Ponti was concerned that the powerful young actress would steal the film from his wife. Instead, Lumet suggested aspiring blonde bombshell Barbara Nichols, who had given memorable dramatic performances in Sweet Smell of Success (1957) and The Naked and the Dead (1958). Rounding out the cast were George Sanders as Loren's boss, Hollywood character actor Keenan Wynn (whose appearance on I've Got a Secret during filming netted panelist Henry Morgan a cameo in the film) and, in her film debut, Bea Arthur.
Lumet insisted on rehearsing his cast before shooting, working out of Billy Rose's abandoned nightclub in the Paramount Hotel. Hunter loved the rehearsals, which he hoped would give him deeper insights into his character, but Loren preferred to work spontaneously. Lumet would later say he fell in love with her, despite her resistance to his psychological approach and the fact that she was married to his boss.
Nor could Lumet do much about the fate of That Kind of Woman. After creating what he thought was a small but intimate story in which New York was as much a character as any of the leads, he had to turn the film over to Ponti and Paramount for the final cut. In his opinion, they ruined the picture in the editing room, cutting all of the things that had made it distinctive and emphasizing weaker scenes that he had wanted to cut. Moreover, they sold the film as a sex-charged love story. Some of the ads were so racy, two Los Angeles radio stations refused to air them. Then they opened it in wide release, where it not only received disastrous reviews, but also failed at the box office.
Later biographies of Loren would put most of the blame on Hunter's casting, suggesting that his homosexuality made him an unsuitable leading man. Even Loren, in her memoirs, would call him her weakest co-star, describing their team work as "negative chemistry, if such a thing is possible." And Lumet, who supposedly had asked for Hunter, would later claim that the actor couldn't play the love scenes convincingly. Though stung by those after-the-fact assessments of his work, Hunter still felt good about his performance in the film, blaming its failure on studio mismanagement that tried to make the picture seem more like Houseboat (1958), Loren's first commercial hit in the U.S. He would write in his autobiography that That Kind of Woman was his favorite of all his films, both for the experience of working with Loren and for what he learned from Lumet.
Producer: Carlo Ponti, Marcello Girosi
Director: Sidney Lumet
Screenplay: Walter Bernstein
Based on the story "Layover in El Paso" by Robert Lowry Cinematography: Boris Kaufman
Score: Daniele Amfitheatrof
Art Direction: Hal Pereira, Roland Anderson
Principal Cast: Sophia Loren (Kay), Tab Hunter (Red), George Sanders (The Man), Jack Warden (Kelly), Barbara Nichols (Jane), Keenan Wynn (Harry Corwin), Bea Arthur (WAC), John Fiedler (Eager Soldier), Henry Morgan (Cameo).
by Frank Miller
Warren G. Harris, Sophia Loren
Donald Zec, Sophia
Tab Hunter, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star
That Kind of Woman
During filming on location in New York, Keenan Wynn was the guest star on "I've Got A Secret", his secret being that he was going to offer one of the panelists a walk-on part in the movie "That Kind of Woman". Henry Morgan won the part, and a picture taken of himself and 'Sofia Loren' was presented on the following week's program.
The working titles of this film were The Feminine Touch, Female and The Female. A April 21, 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item indicated that 3-Day Pass was also considered as a title. In a May 1958 New York Times article, director Sidney Lumet noted that the final working script for That Kind of Woman bore little resemblance to the short story by Robert Lowry on which it was based. Entitled "Layover in El Paso," Lowry's story takes place in Texas and "Red's" brief affair with the fickle "Kay," who lives off the alimony from her ex-husband, ends unhappily.
According to a April 23, 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item, Earl Holliman and Don Murray were being sought for the roles of "George Kelly" and Red. An June 11, 1958 Variety article listed Shirley MacLaine in the cast, but she was not in the film. According to a modern source, MacLaine was considered for the role of "Jane" but producer Carlo Ponti insisted that a lesser known actress play the part in order not to overshadow star Sophia Loren, who was his wife. Tab Hunter was borrowed from Warner Bros. for the production. Modern sources include Peter R. J. Deyell, Stephen Bolster and Johnny Seven in the cast.
As reported by contemporary sources, the picture was shot entirely on location in New York City and featured locations such as Grand Central Station, Central Park, Mulberry Street and the Staten Island Ferry. According to July 1958 New York Times and August 1958 Motion Picture Herald articles, interiors were filmed at the Gold Medal Studios in the Bronx and Fox Movietone Studios in Manhattan. The New York Times article adds that the scenes set in the Miami train station were actually shot at the Long Beach terminal in Long Island.
A July 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Paramount was no longer shooting its black-and-white feature films in VistaVision, its widescreen process. According to the news item, due to "new finer grain negative [film] by Eastman which allows for greater enlargement for print projection," black-and-white Paramount pictures were going to be shot only in regular 35mm, with "top and bottom of frames cropped in the camera finder for projection in either wide or flat screen by theatres." That Kind of Woman was one of the first black-and-white Paramount features to be shot under the new policy.
September 1959 Hollywood Reporter news items reported that two Los Angeles radio stations refused to air prepared advertisements for the film on the grounds that they were "too sexy." Revised copy, deleting the phrases "kept woman" and "mistress," were accepted by the stations. Although the film received fairly positive reviews, it failed at the box office. In a May 1960 New York Times interview, Lumet, who had received praise for his work on That Kind of Woman, blamed the film's failure on the interference of Ponti. Lumet asserted: "The best scenes were cut out, and the weak ones were left in and overemphasized by the editing and score."
That Kind of Woman marked the feature-film debut of actress Bea Arthur. Best known for her work on Broadway and on the television shows Maude and Golden Girls, Arthur did not appear in another movie until the 1970 ABC Pictures production Lovers and Other Strangers (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70).
Released in United States Winter January 1, 1959
Remake of "Shopworn Angel" (1938) directed by H C Potter.
Released in United States Winter January 1, 1959