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Sunday in New York

Before she became "Hanoi Jane", two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda went through what I call her "sex kitten" period where she made a nice handful of naughty adult comedies that took the Doris/Rock will-they-or-won't-they comedies to the next level. One of the best of these was a tasty little offering from 1963 called Sunday in New York.

Based on a stage play by Norman Krasna, this is the story of Adam Tyler (Cliff Robertson), a womanizing airline pilot who gets surprised with a visit from his little sister, Eileen (Fonda), who is smarting after breaking up with Russ (Robert Culp) who lives in Albany and Eileen claims broke up with her because she refused to have pre-marital sex with him. Adam assures Eileen she did the right thing and he claims to be equally pure as the driven snow. Things heat up for Eileen when she "meets cute" with a handsome writer named Mike(Rod Taylor) and during their initial meeting, it begins to rain and Eileen brings Mike back to Adam's apartment to dry off and that's where the fun really begins.

This breezy adult comedy (for 1963) probably raised a few eyebrows in 1963 with some pretty in your face dialogue regarding pre-marital sex, a subject that was pretty much non-existent on movie screens in the 1960's and to find it front and center in a saucy mainstream comedy released by a major studio probably made this quite the water cooler movie during its release.

Krasna adapted his own play into a workable screenplay and did a pretty decent job, with the aid of director Peter Tewskbury, of keeping it from looking like a photographed stage play, even though the majority of the action takes place in Adam's apartment, there is some effective use of New York locations utilized that keep the story from feeling too claustrophobic.

Tewksbury has also gotten some surprisingly sharp performances from his cast, a cast which consists of actors who really weren't really known for making comedies and I think that has a lot to do with why the performances work. Fonda and Robinson had some comedy experience but this was definitely new territory for Taylor and Culp and I think that's why their performances worked as well, because they weren't mining laughs, they were just playing the characters as written and let the laughs develop from the characters...Taylor has rarely been this appealing onscreen. And it goes without saying that Fonda is way more intelligent than the character she is portraying here, giving it an added richness that makes her work here hard to resist. A clever story and a terrific cast at the top of their game...they don't make 'em like this anymore. And a bouquet to that jazzy title tune crooned by Mel Torme.