The Main Attraction (film)

The Main Attraction is a 1962 British drama film directed by Daniel Petrie, written by John Patrick, and starring Pat Boone, Nancy Kwan and Mai Zetterling. The music soundtrack was written by Pat Boone/Jeff Corey and performed by Pat Boone himself.[2] The screenplay concerns an unscrupulous drifter who causes problems for a small European circus.[3]

The Main Attraction
1961 Theatrical Poster
Directed byDaniel Petrie
Produced byJohn Patrick
Written byJohn Patrick
StarringPat Boone
Nancy Kwan
Music byAndrew Adorian
CinematographyGeoffrey Unsworth
Edited byGeoffrey Foot
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.
Release date
January 1963
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budgetover $1 million[1]

Plot summary

The Main Attraction is a cute and romantic story, featuring the neat and wholesome Eddie (Pat Boone) who tries to transform himself into a cooler guy. Eddie works in an Italian café but is fired when he is caught hanging with some troublemakers. At the same time he meets Gina (Mai Zetterling) who is a ventriloquist in a visiting circus. Soon enough Eddie helps Gina out with her act and they become lovers. All is well until Eddie moves on to falling in love with another circus performer, Tessa (Nancy Kwan), which makes his life a lot more complicated.

Eddie fears he kills Gina's ex husband, Bozo the Clown in a fight.



The film was the first in a multi-picture deal between MGM and Seven Arts.[4]

Pat Boone says he was talked into doing the film by Ray Stark who encouraged Boone to try a straight dramatic role. Boone agreed because Hollywood was making fewer musicals at the time.[5] He also felt that "the film's moral is good."[6] "I want to develop as an entertainer and also an actor," he said. "I realise I can't always be an ex teenager... I want to take on anything that a guy my age would be called up on to do in the movies with one exception: it must be family entertainment. I wouldn't want to make a picture that I wouldn't permit my children to see."[7]

The film was originally called Maria.[7]

Stark and writer-producer John Patrick wanted Boone's character to sleep with Nancy Kwan's. Boone was reluctant and refused to shoot a scene with them in bed together. However, as he did not have script approval he filmed scenes which indicated his character slept with Kwan's.[5]


Filming started February 5, 1962.[1] There were seven weeks of studio filming in London, followed by three weeks location work in Tuscanny, Italy.[8] In order to play his role, Boone learned how to play the guitar and do basic trapeze tricks.[6]

After filming was completed, Boone said he would oppose release of the film unless it was given approval by the US censor, the Shurlock office. Boone was worried some scenes had been re-shot to be more lurid and sexy - something Ray Stark denied. "There have been no changes at all in the film," said Stark. "It is exactly the same film that Pat Boone saw when he attended its world premiere in London some weeks ago."[9]

"I am terribly concerned about the board's reaction to certain scenes," said Boone. "Because as long as I have anything to do with it, no Pat Boone picture will ever be released without a seal of approval."[9]

Boone offered to reshoot any objectionable scenes, even do the whole movie over again without pay.[9]

Seven Arts compromised and agreed to cut some scenes in exchange for Boone going on a publicity tour for the movie.[10]


According to Diabolique magazine "it’s a weird film, not quite successful, but interesting which benefits from being shot in Europe. And there is a catchy theme tune. The public didn’t particularly like it. Pat Boone said it was because it was too sexy for something starring him, and he’s probably right. It was a role that needed an Elvis."[11]


  1. PAT BOONE PLANS TO DO NEW FILM: Actor to Star With Nancy Kwan in Circus Movie By EUGENE ARCHER. New York Times 13 Dec 1961: 55.
  3. MAIN ATTRACTION, The Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 29, Iss. 336, (Jan 1, 1962): 172.
  4. Boone, Kwan Start Film in Britain Los Angeles Times 13 Mar 1962: C11.
  6. 'I Wouldn't Make a Picture My Children Couldn't See' Alpert, Don. Los Angeles Times 17 Dec 1961: M9.
  7. Boone, Kwan Start Film in Britain Los Angeles Times 13 Mar 1962: C11.
  8. Boone Fights Use of Movie That Lacks OK Ryon, Art. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 15 Dec 1962: B5.
  9. Pat Boone Hits Road to Boost New Movie Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Tribune 20 June 1963: c6.
  10. Vagg, Stephen (10 September 2019). "The Surprisingly Interesting Cinema of Pat Boone". Diabolique Magazine.
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