Sunday in New York

Sunday in New York is a 1963 American Metrocolor romantic comedy film directed by Peter Tewksbury and starring Jane Fonda, Rod Taylor and Cliff Robertson. The soundtrack score was composed and performed by Peter Nero although Mel Tormé contributed the vocals for the title song. It was written by Norman Krasna based on Krasna's play of the same name.

Sunday in New York
Directed byPeter Tewksbury
Produced byEverett Freeman
Written byNorman Krasna
Based onplay by Norman Krasna
StarringJane Fonda
Rod Taylor
Cliff Robertson
Music byPeter Nero
CinematographyLeo Tover
Edited byFredric Steinkamp
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • November 13, 1963 (1963-11-13)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$2 million[1]
Box officeest. $2,000,000 (US/ Canada)[1][2]


Eileen Tyler (Fonda), a 22-year-old music critic for the Albany Times Union, is suffering from her breakup with Russ (Robert Culp) from a rich Albany family. She comes to New York City to visit her brother Adam (Robertson), who is an airline pilot. Eileen confides to her brother that she thinks she may be the only 22-year-old virgin left in the world. Adam assures her that sex is not what all men look for and insists he hasn't slept around. Of course, Adam is lying and is in hot pursuit of a tryst with his occasional girlfriend Mona. However, Adam's date with Mona has a series of job-related interruptions. Meanwhile, Eileen decides to see if she can have some fun in New York, and seems to find the perfect candidate in Mike (Taylor), a man she meets on the bus. But things get complicated when Russ pops in with a proposal and a mistaken assumption. Mike later confesses to Eileen his feelings whereby she has a change of heart.


Original play

Sunday in New York
Written byNorman Krasna
Date premiered29 November 1961
Place premieredCort Theatre, New York
Original languageEnglish
SettingNew York City. The Present

The screenplay by Norman Krasna was adapted from his play, which had been produced on Broadway by David Merrick starring Robert Redford and directed by Garson Kanin. It ran for 188 performances.[3]

Original cast


Hedda Hopper reported in November 1960 that Krasna was writing the play in Switzerland, where he had a home.[4] The play was optioned by David Merrick who in April 1961 arranged Garson Kanin to direct . (Kanin had directed Krasna's movie script for Bachelor Mother in 1939). Kanin called it Krasna's "best play, with a lot of feeling and very funny.[5]

Peter Graves and Jane Fonda were discussed as leads in the play.[6] Then in May 1961 Carroll Baker was mooted as star.[7] Baker ended up going into Come on Strong a play written by Kanin.[8] Jane Fonda was also offered the lead but she turned it down to make The Chapman Report which she felt was more challenging.[9]

The lead roles went to Pat Stanley, Robert Redford and Conrad Janis.

Redford had deliberately sought out to do a comedy on Broadway because he had been doing so much heavy drama on stage and TV. He lobbied for the role; producer David Merrick was reluctant but eventually agreed to audition him. Kanin later said he did not intend to cast Redford in the lead as "we already had a major New York actor signed and sealed and in the wings."[10] Kanin auditioned Redford for a lesser part then the actor asked if he could read for the lead. The director agreed and said Redford gave "a subtle, funny, original performance" as Mike Mitchell. "He was canny. He'd been holding back on the first reading, which wasn't terrific, because he believed he was the lead."[11]

In order to do the play Redford pulled out of a three-picture deal he had signed with the Sanders brothers to make War Hunt which resulted in a law suit that kept him off screen until 1964.[12]

Rehearsals took place in October 1961. In Washington during try-outs, a teacher attended a production during previews with school children and walked out claiming the play was indecent.[13]


The New York Times called it "inventive and chic. Only the substance is familiar and thin."[14] Walter Kerr called it a "sentimentalised farce... precisely the kind of echo chamber exercise that drives intelligent young theatregoers to complete despair."[15]

Redford later said he liked the jokes but felt the play was "not up to the standard of a Kanin-Gordon script".[16] However the New York Times review was positive enough to ensure a semi-decent run and give Redford his first significant stage success.[17]

The show closed in May 1962 after 189 performances.[18]

The play ran for two years in Paris, and had a successful run in Los Angeles in a production starring Marlo Thomas.[19]

Redford's appearance in the play would later help him be cast in Barefoot in the Park. It also contributed to George Roy Hill casting him in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid because it gave Hill confidence Redford could handle comedy.[20]


The play was seen on Broadway by Eliot Hyman and Ray Stark of Seven Arts Productions who "thought it would make a good movie," according to Stark.[21] Other companies were interested in film rights but Stark called Krasna direct in Switzerland and did the deal. The rights cost $150,000 plus a percentage of the gross.[22]

The film was a part of a multi-picture deal between Seven Arts and MGM. Lead roles originally were offered to Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, who turned them down. Peter Tewksbury, best known for his work in TV, signed to direct.[1] Redford auditioned to repeat his stage role but says his reading "did not go well for me" and he was not cast.[23]

Jane Fonda agreed to be in the film for a fee of $100,000.[24] She later said "the girl I play is an absolute bore. She talks so much about her virginity; and you know the more she talks about it the more it's on her mind. I mean, for God's sake let her make her mind up one way or the other and stop all that talking."[25]

Filming took place on location in New York and on the MGM backlot in Los Angeles.[1] Rod Taylor later said he and Fonda "got on like a couple of lovely kids"[26] adding the film "seemed like a labor of love to her... [it] was a wonderful, frothy time."[27]



In a review of the playwright's "frank screen version" of the play, Bosley Crowther characterized the film as another in a series of films that dwelled on a subject first brought to the screen ten years earlier in The Moon Is Blue: "There once was a time when the candor of Mr. Krasna's mildly popular Broadway play about an Albany girl who struggles bravely with the problem of her virtue during a rainy afternoon in New York might have caused the Production Code people a moment or two of anxious pause. They might then have thought it a bit too racy for youthful and innocent ears";[28] on the film itself, Crowther said "the extent of the film's disconcertion and delight for a viewer will depend upon how prone one may be to a juvenile quandary and to the nimble performing of a pleasant cast. The twists of the plot are downright hackneyed—the confusions of opening the wrong doors, mistaking people and getting caught in dishabille. But the actors are all attractive, and so long as one can go along with them in their valiant attempts at pretending this is hot stuff, one may have a good time."

According to Time magazine, "Sunday in New York is another brightly salacious Hollywood comedy about the way of a man with a maid who just may. 'This motion picture,' leers an announcement flashed on the screen as a teaser, 'is dedicated to the proposition that every girl gets...sooner or later.' As usual, winking wickedness turns out to be mostly eyewash, but the plotmore to be pitied than censoredgets a buoyant lift from stars Jane Fonda, Cliff Robertson and Rod Taylor. All three abandon themselves to the film version of Norman Krasna's trite Broadway farce with disarming faith, as though one more glossy, glittering package of pseudo sex might save the world."[29]

Box Office

The film was a minor hit, earned $2 million in rentals in North America.[1]

See also


  1. Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood, Bear Manor Media, 2010 p98
  2. "Big Rental Pictures of 1964", Variety, 6 January 1965 p 39. Please note this figure is rentals accruing to distributors not total gross.
  3. Sunday in New York original production Playbill at Playbill
  4. Film, 'The Holiday,' Gets a Stellar Cast HEDDA HOPPER'S STAFF. Chicago Daily Tribune (16 Nov 1960: b
  5. ROMANTIC COMEDY PLANNED FOR FALL: 'Sunday in New York' Will Be Staged by Kanin By SAM ZOLOTOW. New York Times ]17 Apr 1961: 36.
  6. TV Ace With 20th; Vallee Goes Legit: Movies for Children Listed; Debbie May Play Ruth Roland Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 12 May 1961: A11.
  7. Looking at Hollywood: Carroll Baker Set for Broadway Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 22 May 1961: b11.
  8. COMEDY LEAD EYED BY CARROLL BAKER: Play by Kanin May Return Movie Star to Broadway By SAM ZOLOTOW. New York Times 28 Aug 1961: 20.
  9. Kiernan p 113
  10. Callan p 88
  11. Callan p 89
  12. Template:First=James
  13. Looking at Hollywood: Lucille Ball to Be Wed Sunday to Gary Morton Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 14 Nov 1961: b7.
  14. Theatre: Play by Krasna: Sunday in New York' Opens at the Cort By HOWARD TAUBMAN. New York Times 30 Nov 1961: 40.
  15. Echoes and Unspoken Ideas By Walter Kerr. The Washington Post, Times Herald 17 Dec 1961: G3.
  16. Callan p 88
  17. Callan p 89
  18. 2 SHOWS PLANNED BY BLOOM GARDEN: ' 1,000,000 Bank Note' and 'How Much?' Due in '63 ANTA Has New Project Three Attractions to Close Eva Gabor Starts a Firm Bouwerie Lane to Open in Fall Merrick Negotiates By SAM ZOLOTOW. New York Times 9 May 1962: 45.
  19. 'Sunday' Popular Los Angeles Times 4 June 1963: C6.
  20. Spada p 112
  21. MOVIE PRODUCER DESCRIBES CREDO: Stark of 7 Arts Cites Quick Decisions and Investing Hold the Most Stock Disagree Occasionally By MURRAY SCHUMACH The New York Times.. 5 July 1962: 20.
  22. Of Local Origin New York Times 25 Jan 1962: 23.
  23. Callan p 90
  24. Kiernan p 123
  25. Andersen, Christopher P (1990). Citizen Jane : the turbulent life of Jane Fonda. H. Holt. p. 111.
  26. Freedland p 69
  27. Freeland p 70
  28. Bosley Crowther (February 12, 1964). "Krasna Comedy: Sunday in New York Stars Jane Fonda". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  29. "Jane in Plain Wrapper". Time. February 14, 1964. Retrieved 2010-12-21.


  • Callan, Michael Feeney (2011). Robert Redford : the biography. Alfred A. Knopf.
  • {{title=Jane Fonda : a biography|last=Freedland|first=Michael|year=1988 |publisher=St. Martin's Press }}
  • Kiernan, Thomas (1982). Jane Fonda : heroine for our time. Delilah Books.
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